Since February 2012, and the signature of a major framework contract with the ITER Organization, the group DAHER is the Logistics Service Provider for the project’s global transport, logistics and insurance needs.
By Raphael Rosen
Scientists from General Atomics and the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have discovered a phenomenon that helps them to improve fusion plasmas, a finding that may quicken the development of fusion energy.
Together with a team of researchers from across the United States, the scientists found that when they injected tiny grains of lithium into a plasma undergoing a particular kind of turbulence then, under the right conditions, the temperature and pressure rose dramatically. High heat and pressure are crucial to fusion, a process in which atomic nuclei — or ions — smash together and release energy — making even a brief rise in pressure of great importance for the development of fusion energy.
"These findings might be a step towards creating our ultimate goal of steady-state fusion, which would last not just for milliseconds, but indefinitely," said Tom Osborne, a physicist at General Atomics and lead author of the paper. This work was supported by the DOE Office of Science.
Left: DIII-D tokamak. Right: Cross-section of plasma in which lithium has turned the emitted light green. (Credits: Left, General Atomics / Right, Steve Allen, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)
Read the whole article on the PPPL website.
The ITER Commission locale d’information (the citizen watchdog group that monitors ITER activities in accordance with the French 2006 Transparency and Nuclear Safety Act) held its plenary session in the ITER Council chamber on 18 May.
Applications for the 3rd edition of the doctoral program in plasma science and engineering APPLAuSE (Portugal) are now open for the course starting in February 2016.
The aim of the four-year program is to provide each student with broad knowledge in the field of plasma science and engineering by promoting close interaction with renowned specialists. It consists in a student-centred and highly modular PhD program designed to enhance each student’s capabilities and maximize his/her potential in a chosen area of specialization.
Applications close on Sunday 7 June.
Three high voltage transformers for ITER’s steady state electrical system have been loaded onto transport trailers in the Mediterranean port of Fos-sur-Mer and are ready for delivery to ITER.
The inner workings of the ITER Tokamak are highly complex, not only because of the sheer number of components but also due to the elaborate interconnectivity between them. Over 600 components among the blanket, the divertor and the port plugs act as plasma-facing elements, covering a surface area of 875 m2. Hundreds of other components are placed between these elements and the vacuum vessel.
The technical complexity, the variations in schedule, and the number of supplier interfaces at each Domestic Agency add an extra dose of challenge.
A team of seven, led by Tokamak Integration Responsible Officer Alex Martin, has worked intensively to come up with a design approach that allows the components and their interfaces to mature at the same pace.
This integrated approach involves considering all the components inside the machine as a single system. A cross-functional team has been put in place involving a high degree of collaboration between the design teams of the vacuum vessel, in-vessel diagnostics, in-vessel coils, blanket manifolds, blankets, first-wall diagnostics, the divertor, divertor diagnostics and port plugs. In this approach, the designs of all the components are updated periodically. An assessment of how well this configuration works is then performed, informed by feedback from both the teams working in component development and manufacturing and those in system management (i.e., tolerance analysis, nuclear analysis). The necessary design trade-offs are then performed and the designs adjusted.
This iterative process will conclude with the successful delivery and installation of the components forming the in-vessel system.
For their teamwork, collaboration and effort in the construction of a coherent in-vessel configuration integration design, the team composed by Alex Martin, Anne Arnould, Jorge González, Patrick Martin, Gonzalo Martinez, Charles Millot and Flavien Sabourin received a commendation during the ITER Recognition Ceremony held in December 2014.
There’s a strange beauty to the transport of ITER components. It comes from the revolving lights piercing the night, from the slow progress of the trailer and its escort of a dozen vehicles, from the deserted roads and sleeping villages…
For three nights, from 4 to 7 May, the second Highly Exceptional Load (HEL) to be delivered to ITER made its way along the ITER Itinerary. A few minutes past 3:00 a.m., on Thursday 7 May, two large trailers—each loaded with a 79-ton cylindrical tank—passed the gate of the ITER site.
Five weeks after the US-procured components had embarked for their transatlantic voyage and 11 days after they were unloaded at Marseille’s industrial harbour in Fos-sur-Mer, the tanks had reached their home at last.
The final leg of the voyage, from the village Meyrargues to the ITER site, was uneventful—which is the best possible result for such a delicate logistics operation. The schedule was respected and even improved by half an hour. By mid-afternoon both tanks had been unloaded and carefully stored into the large hangar at the entrance to ITER Headquarters.
Out in the open they resembled giant beer kegs. In the hangar, they looked like the segments of a star-bound rocket.
In ITER, energy-delivery devices called gyrotrons will contribute to heating the plasma to 150 million °C by generating high-frequency radio waves that transfer their energy to the plasma electrons. Four ITER Members—Europe, Japan, Russia and India—are responsible for delivering 24 ITER gyrotrons that will deliver a combined heating power of 24 MW.
The European Domestic Agency, with responsibility for six gyrotrons, is working with industry to develop the final design of the European gyrotron. Two industrial prototypes are currently in fabrication: a short-pulse gyrotron, capable of producing radio frequency of 1 MW for a few milliseconds; and a longer-pulse continuous-wave prototype, capable of producing a radiofrequency wave for several minutes.
In this development work, the European Domestic Agency is collaborating with the European Gyrotron Consortium—made up of the European fusion laboratories KIT (Germany), CRPP (Switzerland), HELLAS (Greece), and CNR (Italy), as well as the German USTUTT and Latvian ISSP as third parties—and Thales Electron Devices (France).
In parallel, a mockup of the cavity (the gyrotron subassembly where the radio frequency waves at 170 GHz will be generated) is currently under development in collaboration with Thales Electron Devices, with testing carried out at the FE200 high heat flux test facility of AREVA (France).
The work on the gyrotron prototypes and cavity mockup achieved a first milestone during a recent pre-validation meeting held for the most critical components and the scientific design of the gyrotron. The meeting, which was held in April, gathered representatives from the European Domestic Agency, the European Gyrotron Consortium, Thales Electron Devices and the ITER Organization. All R&D activities were considered to be fully successful, with the short-pulse gyrotron noted as producing an exceptionally good output beam of more than 1 MW at the required 170 GHz frequency (up to 1.4 MW has been achieved) in a broad operational domain.
A second milestone—the full validation of the gyrotron technical design—is expected to be achieved during the first half of 2016.
Read the full story on the European Domestic Agency website.
The Conseil général, the executive body of the French départements recently had their name changes to Conseil départemental. In Bouches-du-Rhône, the département that is home to ITER, this change in name was accompanied by a change in president.
View this spectacular video of the ITER site seen from a drone’s point of view. (Produced in April by the European Domestic Agency.)