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Two 415-metre production lengths of niobium-tin (Nb3Sn) conductor for the toroidal field coils were loaded on 25 June for delivery to the European winding facility in La Spezia, Italy.
The superconductors for the ITER magnet system are among the longest-lead production items for the project; the first five Procurement Arrangements concluded by the ITER Organization between late 2007 and mid-2008 concerned the conductors for the toroidal field magnet system.

The Russian Domestic Agency is responsible for 20 percent of toroidal field conductor procurement and 14 percent of poloidal field conductor procurement. Production is ongoing according to the schedule of the Procurement Arrangements.

On 25 June, the second batch of toroidal field conductor unit lengths started on their way from the premises of the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow to the city of La Spezia, Italy, where the winding of ten toroidal field coils will take place.

Demonstrating the attachment of Russian industry to fulfill its contractual obligations on time, two 415-metre production lengths of niobium-tin (Nb3Sn) conductor for toroidal field side double-pancakes were loaded onto trucks at the Institute. This latest shipment follows the delivery of four conductor unit lengths to Europe in October 2012, including a copper dummy and a 100-metre qualification length.

Seven similar units lengths have passed all of the tests stipulated in the Procurement Arrangement and meet ITER Organization requirements; they will, in turn, be shipped as well.

ITER and NIF are moving the fusion community into a new era that is increasingly focused on the final steps to harnessing fusion energy. The 25th SOFE helped to advance the international discussion concerning next-step programs and facilities on the roadmap to realizing fusion. © Earth Citizen
Fusion researchers from around the world met in San Francisco from 10-14 June for the 25th IEEE Symposium on Fusion Engineering (SOFE). This year's SOFE showed a marked increase in participation from recent years, with over 300 papers presented. Anchoring the technical program were numerous plenary and invited papers on topics at the forefront of fusion research and development. In addition, the recent completion of the National Ignition Facility and the start of ITER construction have put fusion engineering in the spotlight. Not least, the San Francisco setting and superb local arrangements by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) added to the event that drew many of the world's leading fusion scientists and engineers together to discuss the progress and challenges in fusion engineering.

The ITER Project was well-represented at SOFE. Presenting the project's status were three of the 10 plenary papers; nine of the 45 invited papers; and dozens of contributed talks and posters from the ITER Organization and Domestic Agencies. The many ITER papers, on topics such as blankets, heating and current drive, magnets, first wall, divertors, and assembly, covered progress in nearly all of SOFE's technical areas.

Rem Haange, head of the ITER Project Department, opened the meeting with a talk on "ITER Engineering Integration Challenges" that highlighted both advances in fusion technology driven by ITER requirements as well as the technical and organizational challenges of the ITER enterprise. In explaining ITER's challenges, Haange, recipient of the 2011 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Fusion Technology Award, described ITER as "a highly integrated machine with very strong interfaces between the different components."

Carlos Alejaldre, head of Safety, Quality & Security, discussed lessons learned in the ITER licensing process. He stressed ITER's significance as the first fusion nuclear facility and called the French government decree authorizing creation of the ITER facility a "historical achievement for fusion development." 

On the inertial fusion side, the symposium featured a tour of the magnificently engineered National Ignition Facility (NIF) at LLNL. Michael Dunne, director of laser fusion energy systems at LLNL, described the technical successes achieved by NIF since it went into operation several years ago. Dunne also gave a candid presentation of the gaps between the predicted and achieved target physics performance of NIF, and discussed science-based strategies aimed at closing the gaps.

ITER and NIF are moving the fusion community into a new era that is increasingly focused on the final steps to harnessing fusion energy. The 25th SOFE helped to advance the international discussion concerning next-step programs and facilities on the roadmap to realizing fusion.

Attendees received presentations on accomplishments in support of fusion next-steps from many of the world's currently operating tokamaks and stellarators. Also discussed were the construction status of the Wendelstein 7X project in Germany and JT60 SA in Japan—devices that will come into operation later this decade. Several speakers described plans for new facilities such as WEST in France and IFMIF to attack critical fusion development problems in plasma exhaust handling and materials. Fusion program leaders from Europe, South Korea, and China described strategies, including next-step facilities and critical R&D missions, aimed at moving toward fusion-generated electricity by about mid-century.

Among fusion conferences, the biennial SOFE event is unique in its strong focus on engineering issues. The first symposium, held in 1965 in Livermore, California, was called the Symposium on Engineering Problems of Controlled Thermonuclear Research. Today the scope of the series has expanded to include such topics as project management, system integration, and fusion roadmap planning, while maintaining a primary focus on fusion's challenging engineering problems and their solutions.

As fusion research has broadened internationally over the years, so has SOFE, with over two-thirds of the papers coming from outside the host country. The SOFE-2013 meeting occurred at a moment in fusion's history marked by both enormous opportunity and tremendous challenges. Participants at the Symposium agreed that fusion researchers must not let fusion's challenges cause them to lose sight of the opportunities.

"Humans do not live by bread alone." With these words begins Fusion Physics, published in 2012 by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In the first chapter the book makes the case for the development of fusion as an energy source. "How is humankind going to produce the vast amount of energy it needs?" asks authors Predhiman Kaw and Indranil Bandyopadhyay from the Indian Institute of Plasma Research in Gandhinagar—two names that are also closely associated with the ITER Project. Kaw and Bandyopadhyay lead a long list of prominent authors that, together, have compiled the latest on the fusion art. At over 1,100 pages, this publication provides an unparalleled resource for fusion physicists and engineers.

The idea for the book was born during preparations for the 2008 IAEA Fusion Energy Conference in Geneva. "I was considering how to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 2nd Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy," writes Minh Quang Tran who, alongside Karl Lackner and Mitsuru Kikuchi, edits this fusion encyclopedia. "The intention was to be tutorial at Master's degree level to cover fusion physics and technology."

Dedicated chapters focus on the physics of confinement, the equilibrium and stability of tokamaks, diagnostics, heating and current drive by neutral beam and radiofrequency waves, and plasma-wall interactions. While the tokamak is the leading concept for the realization of fusion, helical confinement fusion and in a broader sense other magnetic and inertial configurations are also addressed in the book. Available in printed form is the first volume on fusion physics; a second volume focusing on the technological challenges is in progress.

Further reading: Newsline issues 131 and 230 
To order or download (34.15 MB) the book, please click here.

"I come with plenty of ideas," says the recently appointed head of the Project Information System Section (IT), "and I have found everyone very receptive."
Jörg Klora's first encounter with a computer was way back in the mid-1970s when cupboard-sized mainframes called "mini-computers" delivered the power of present-day pocket calculators. The machine belonged to his father's construction company and in 1975—the very year that Microsoft was founded—15-year-old Jörg designed his first software to do calculations for pricing and bookkeeping.

A couple of years later, while studying physics in Munich, he created his own company, producing software that addressed one of the headaches of that era: compatibility issues between computers of different brands. Thanks to 17-year-old Klora, an Amiga computer could all of a sudden "see" an IBM PC and vice versa, and the life of thousands of users was changed for the better ...

Computers and software have always been part of Jörg Klora's life. However, he never viewed these tools and techniques as an end in themselves, but rather as a convenient and efficient manner to "help people" make big things happen.

At age 52, the career of ITER's new head of the Project Information System Section (IT) is a mix of high-level physics, big science project support and large team management ... all closely connected by the need for strong computing power and reliable software support.

Because he "liked to understand things," the young geek embraced physics and in 1988 joined the Institut Laue Langevin in Grenoble, France, to do his doctorate.

Four years later, having explored the secrets of the element Gadolinium 156, he moved on to the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble to head the Beam Line Instrument Software Support (BLISS)—an acronym, he says, that perfectly defined the atmosphere in the group.

One of the most meaningful experiences in his career as a physicist and IT specialist was his participation in the creation of ALBA, the Spanish synchrotron radiation facility. "We started from scratch in 2004—discussing notes we had jotted on a yellow post-it in a university cafeteria. We ended up with a state-of-the-art, EUR 200 million facility staffed by hundreds of international scientists."

Jörg was to spend eight years at ALBA, managing the Computing and Control Division.

"I'm just an IT guy," he likes to quip. But when you add the doctorate in nuclear physics, an executive MBA from the prestigious HEC School of Management in France, a master's degree in law from Pompeu Fabra university in Barcelona, and a brush of training in human resources you get a rather peculiar profile for an "IT guy."

What led him to explore these different and seemingly unrelated domains? "It's like opening a cupboard out of simple curiosity," he says. "You pull open the door and you find a cathedral ..."

After ALBA entered operation, ("It was a bit my baby," he admits) Jörg was ready for a new adventure, this time with what he calls "the biggest thing in the world"—the ITER Project and its many-faceted challenges.

In IT as in other domains, ITER is now entering a second "age" with construction and component manufacturing well underway. "I come with plenty of ideas," says Jörg, "and I have found everyone very receptive. A tremendous amount of high quality work has been done over the past five or six years. What we need now is to create personal accountability for every project, rationalize our support and develop continuous service improvement. Basically: tell me what problem you're having—we'll solve it."

A dummy load made of 360 concrete blocks will be loaded onto a special self-propelled platform (88 axles) to travel the whole length of the Itinerary. Its weight and dimensions—800 tonnes, 40 metres long, 9 metres wide, 11 metres high— mimic the most exceptional ITER loads.
Many of the ITER components that will come off of the fabrication lines in the factories of the ITER Members are particularly large and heavy. In order to permit their transport to ITER, France has adapted a special 104 kilometre-long Itinerary—widening roads, adapting roundabouts and reinforcing bridges between Port-de-la-Pointe, on the shores of the Étang de Berre, and the ITER site in Saint Paul-lez-Durance.

Work on the ITER Itinerary began in January 2008 and was completed three years later. In March 2012 the ITER Organization awarded a framework contract for the transport of the machine's components to the DAHER Group. In advance of the test convoys planned for September (technical) and October (logistics and organization) 2013, final adjustments to the ITER Itinerary were carried out between April and June this year.

On 16-20 September, travelling at night, a test convoy will be organized jointly by Agence Iter France (the CEA agency that acts as an interface between ITER and France) and the DAHER Group. After having crossed the inland sea of Étang de Berre, a dummy load made of 360 concrete blocks will be loaded onto a special self-propelled platform (88 axles) to travel the whole length of the Itinerary. Its weight and dimensions—800 tonnes, 40 metres long, 9 metres wide, 11 metres high—will mimic the most exceptional ITER loads.

This first test, officially a "measurement campaign," aims at verifying that the reality of bypassing 16 villages, negotiating 16 roundabouts and crossing more than 30 bridges corresponds to the engineers' calculations.

According to Agence Iter France, an "enormous technical, administrative and regulatory machine" has had to be fine-tuned in order to bring about this first campaign.

Two viewing areas—one close to Berre-l'Étang and the other in the rest area close to the village of Peyrolles-en-Provence—will allow the public to share in the event ... for many, a spectacular introduction to the exceptional dimensions of the ITER machine.

Click here to read the latest issue of Agence Iter France's publication Itinéraire News (in French).