Subscribe options

Select your newsletters:


Please enter your email address:

@

News & Media

Links

Of Interest

See archived articles

Conferences


"Once upon a time," it will read in the history books, there was a flagpole marking the centre of the ITER Tokamak Pit.
The contract giving the go-ahead for the first steps in constructing the building which will host the ITER Tokamak, the heart of the project, was signed by the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy (F4E) and GTM Consortium on 20 May. Titled "Construction of the Tokamak Complex Seismic Isolation Pit," this contract is worth approximately EUR 36 million.

As a first step in the construction, a 20-metre-deep excavation will be carried out. The foundation of the building will include a system to isolate the building from the rock on which it is built in order to protect against the effects of possible seismic activity. Approximately 200,000 m³ of rock will be excavated—equivalent in volume to 43 of London's Big Ben towers. The construction of the reinforced concrete basemat and walls forming the seismic isolation pit structure will involve the casting of approximately 35,000 m³ of reinforced concrete.

The contract also includes options on the construction of the tokamak upper basemat with 19,200 m³ of reinforced concrete, the Assembly Hall basemat with around 18,000 m³ of reinforced concrete, and 13,500 m³ of excavation. It is foreseen that when finished, the entire Tokamak Building will measure 63 metres in height and 600,000 m³ in volume.

The construction of the foundation for the Tokamak Building will start in mid-June this year and will be completed by November 2011. The contract signature markes the beginning of the process, and is a significant sign of the ITER Project moving forward.

For more information, visit the F4E website.


The participants to the Remote Handling IPT kick-off meeting.
This week saw the official launch of the Remote Handling Integrated Product Team (RH-IPT). The two-day kick-off meeting took place at the Château de Cadarache and was attended by around 30 participants from the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies, plus a further 10 participants calling in from around the world.

The main aims of the RH-IPT are to improve communications among various stakeholders involved in maintenance of ITER, to foster shared ownership of RH equipment designs and to promote shared responsibility for the RH compatibility of ITER machine components. As such, members of the RH-IPT have been drawn equally from the areas of RH equipment supply and tokamak design, across the ITER Organization and the ITER Members.

The meeting was comprised of plenary sessions to bring members up to speed on the general aims and structure of the IPT, followed by specialized break-out sessions dealing with three main work topics, namely:

  • RH equipment lifecycle management
  • RH control system architecture
  • RH compatibility of in-vessel components
During these sessions significant progress was made in the mutual understanding of the challenges and issues to be faced in developing an integrated RH system for ITER, plus a better understanding of the constraints imposed by the nuclear nature of the ITER machine. There was also fruitful discussion on the practical problems of ownership and responsibility to be faced during the delivery, physical integration and commissioning of RH systems to be supplied from two different Domestic Agencies. 

Most importantly, the meeting provided an opportunity to build up the multi-party teams working within the specialist topic areas identified for the IPT and establish a timetable for its future activities. Last, but not least, it also gave rise to the first round of the "remote handling pétanque championships," which will no doubt become a regular event on the ITER sporting calendar.


A task force is now being established to find a solution for the financial sitiation "in due time".
Tuesday and Wednesday this week, the Competitiveness Council of the European Union discussed the status and the way forward of the ITER Project "with a view to the establishment of a sound and sustainable financial framework for the construction of the thermonuclear reactor, following the estimated cost increases of the project," it says in a provisional press release. "The Council reiterated its commitment to the success of the ITER Project [...] and all member states recognized its importance and the need to find a solution for the financial situation in due time." With that purpose, the Presidency proposed the establishment of a task force to "analyze possible options in order to find a sustainable solution."

Read the press release here...



Looking at the promising future of fusion as an energy source: the Chinese Ambassador to France, Mr. Kong Quan.
To prepare for the future visit of high representatives from China to France, his Excellency Kong Quan, Chinese Ambassador to France, visited ITER on 25 May. His Excellency said he was "impressed by the development of the ITER Project" and very interested in the promising future of fusion as an energy source. His wishes for ITER's success are now "engraved" in ITER's Golden Book.

AIF Director Jérôme Paméla (left) hands over the JWS3 keys to ITER Director-General Kaname Ikeda (right). In the background is Laurent Schmieder, Head of the Site, Buildings and Power Supplies Division for F4E.
This week the keys for the Joint Worksite III (JWS 3) were officially handed over to the ITER Organization. Agence Iter France (AIF)—responsible for the construction of the new temporary office building—handed over the keys "on time and on budget," as AIF Director Jérôme Paméla pointed out.

JWS3 is a three-floor building, with space for up to 100 on each floor. The ITER Organization will occupy the ground floor, and the staff and site construction team from the European Domestic Agency F4E will move into the upper levels. Currently the network connections are being completed and people will start moving in at the end of next week.


John How is a globe-trotting plasma physicist. In the course of his career, he's worked in diagnostics, operations, technical coordination and data management in six operational fusion devices, plus ITER.
"Meetings," says John How, Senior Scientific Officer for External Coordination, "should only exist as part of a dynamic process, where the work is advanced and issues get resolved. A meeting should never be an end in itself."

Accordingly, effective meetings take careful planning ahead of time, and accurate and accessible documentation afterwards. "In general, at ITER committee meetings we have too much material and a very tight timetable," explains John. "A lot of work is needed to get it into a form that is useable and efficient—to create the tools that help to move the work forward."

A physicist with a PhD in diagnostics, John has been involved with coordinating committee meetings for ITER since joining the project in June 2003. At the time, ITER was in the transitional phase between Engineering Design Activities and the siting of the project, and the ratification of the ITER Agreement that formally created the ITER Organization was still four years away.

John ran the monthly Technical Coordination Meeting and the early Home Team-Participant Team meetings (later to become the ITER Organization-Domestic Agency meetings). "We sorely needed a tool to track meeting schedules, make agendas and minutes available, organize documents, and keep abreast of the status of design changes," says John. "I created a website for all ITER collaborators worldwide—the first ITER technical web—and I used to update the pages every night after work." That original HTML tool was later migrated to the ITER Sharepoint platform, and John remains a major contributor today.

A second major task accomplished during those early years was the coordination of ITER's top-level PID, or Project Integration Document, which was a detailed description of the future facility's technical scope and requirements. He followed this through three annual editions, and more recently, took over the responsibility for the 1,000-page ITER Plant Description, part of the ITER Baseline that will be presented to Council in June.

Documents have evolved ... committees have evolved ... but John is still playing a central role. "At ITER, we can now say that the seven Members are working well together at a technical level. To me, it's very satisfying to see," says John.

A dual citizen of the UK and Australia, John began his career in plasma diagnostics, working as part of the diagnostics teams at the French TFR and Petula Tokamaks, the Wendelstein 7-A Stellarator in Germany, and the LT-4 Tokamak in Australia and participating in dozens of published papers in his field.

He moved toward the operational side of tokamak devices after joining the Joint European Torus in 1984. "In hindsight, I guess I can say that the technical side of plasma physics attracted me more than the theoretical side," remarks John. He was part of the Engineer-in-Charge team at the JET facility for 12 years, and Deputy Director ("Adjoint") of Operations at Tore Supra for three years before joining ITER.

John and his wife have been in Provence now for 13 years. "At ITER, I am now looking forward to slowing down, and returning to the operations team to pass on some of my knowledge and experience before retirement," says John. "I'm very optimistic for ITER ... we've gone to a very high level of design detail considering that the first building is not yet erected. The challenge now is to get it right the first time during a short and intense construction phase."

Giving the final touch to the new pedestrian walkway connecting the guard house and the sub-contractors area.
This week, furnishings were moved into the new temporary office building that has been erected adjacent to ITER Headquarters. The handover of this new building—JWS3—will take place this coming Monday, 31 May. A pedestrian pathway now exists on the worksite between the guard station and the sub-contractors area allowing staff members who choose to walk this distance in all security instead of taking their car.

Close to the water-treatment installations, work continues to create a waste management area where garbage recycling containers will be stored. The installation of electrical networks and resurfacing began this week and should be completed by the end of the month.

Work on ITER's cooling water pipes is coming to an end on the platform. Investigations are ongoing into the rock and soil formation at the location of the future Poloidal Field Winding Facility, in preparation of construction to come.


The Large Helical Device (LHD) at the National Institute for Fusion Science in Toki, Japan, is the world's largest stellarator.
Build the future is the title of a new masterpiece in science photography featuring the fusion and accelerator landscape in Japan. Joe Nishizawa is an up-and-coming photographer who used to work in the design department of a carmaker and who now focuses on science and technology. "Drawing the future though R&D is very important for Japan," Nishizawa writes in the foreword. "I produced this book to introduce this idea to a wider audience."

The book, which at the moment is only available in Japanese,  portrays big national projects and gives interviews with leading scientists. Even if your Japanese skills are yet to be discovered, you will certainly enjoy this artistic approach to the high-tech world.

Build the Future by Joe Nishizawa, ISBN 978-4-7783-1212-1