One of the new features that I have introduced into the management structure of this Organization is the Project Board.
The Project Board meets regularly to share information on actual developments within the project, Member states or Domestic Agencies. It is the forum for the Director-General (DG) and the Senior Staff to present and discuss outstanding issues, in particular those with regard to safety, the overall management of the ITER Organization and the development of the ITER project, with a view to:
The Project Board is chaired by me and I decide on its members. Currently six Deputy Director Generals are the core members. When a member is absent, alternates may be invited, after consultation, to attend the meeting if deemed appropriate by the agenda items. I may also decide to invite specific staff on an ad hoc basis to attend the Project Board meeting if so required by the agenda items. When a restricted session of the Project Board is deemed necessary, the participants will be limited to the Members and the presenter of the agenda item. The Chair of the Staff Committee may be invited to present the Staff Committee's views on specific issues on the agenda of the Project Board when such issues may affect the conditions of staff.
- Assisting the DG in his decision-making in the execution of his/her duties as defined in the ITER Agreement;
- Facilitating the implementation of policies and measures decided by the DG;
- Contributing to the disclosure of information on the design and construction of ITER.
Unless otherwise decided by the Chair, Project Board meetings shall take place preferably on every Tuesday beginning at 10:00 am, and lasting between one and two hours, depending on the agenda items.
The first meeting of the Project Board was held on 29 July, only one day after my appointment as Director-General at the Extraordinary Meeting of the ITER Council. Since then, the Board has convened five times. Developing action plans for "simplification" and proposals for "cost containment and cost savings" are among the Board's main concerns and have since been a regular item on its agenda.
The Office of Director General (ODG) provides secretarial support to the Project Board. Both the agenda and the Record of Decisions of the Board are published on IDM.
The magnet feeder Final Design Review was held in Cadarache this week 20-22 September. This important milestone marks the conclusion of an intense team effort of the ITER Organization and the Institute of Plasma Physics at the Chinese Academy of Science (ASIPP) to complete the design of the feeders, and opens the door to signing the Procurement Arrangement (PA) with the Chinese Domestic Agency.
The feeders are the lift-lines to the ITER magnet systems. They convey and regulate the cryogenic liquids to cool and control their temperature. They also connect the magnets to their power supply. The feeders thus represent a critical component interfacing the magnets with other vital parts of the machine.
"The feeders are not as glamorous as the magnets," Chairman Philippe Lebrun said, Project Manager of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, "but they are vital elements that have many interfaces. They therefore tend to reveal interface issues and that is what is happening right here."
The review was preceded by two pre-reviews, one on the High Temperature Superconducting (HTS) current leads and one on the assembly of the feeders into the cryostat and the building galleries. The feeders are the final magnet component to go through a Final Design Review and will be the last magnet PA to be signed. Their completion has been delayed due to the need to focus the very limited magnet division resources onto the magnets themselves, which have longer manufacturing lead times.
On day three, the reviewers presented their overall summary, noting that although a lot of work remains to be done before the PA can be signed in three months, the foundations have been established and there are no "show stoppers" seen to the successful completion of the PA documentation on this timescale.
Following a video-conference earlier this year, the Contact Persons within the Domestic Agencies in charge of Intellectual Property (IP) Management and Dissemination of Information met in person at Cadarache this week to report on the progress on IP management. The ITER Organization presented the development of the IP database, document management procedures, publication procedures as well as the training program that has been developed. Training on IP Management will start in October for all staff of the ITER Organization.
The Contact Persons discussed harmonization of the different procedures and training programs, and have set out the work that is planned to be undertaken in the next year. The ITER Organization will present a report on the IP Management activities to the Management Advisory Committee at the end of October.
Staff members at the U.S. ITER Project Office (USIPO) won top honors in the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) United Way campaign's newest award category, Most Creative Localized Kickoff Event. The group collected a total of $6,009 during several activities, including an electronic "eBay-style" auction that featured some 90 items.
Proceeds from a barbecue lunch and live auction also contributed to the total. A special poster was prepared to raise employee awareness of the campaign, and a recent USIPO all-hands meeting included a visit by Bob Sexton of the Knox County Cerebral Palsy Center, with special speaker and center client Rosie Colchin (daughter of the late Dick Colchin, former ORNL Fusion Energy Division employee).
The new award — which cites USIPO's "creative efforts in raising awareness of United Way and reaching out to employees" — was presented to U.S. ITER Project Manager Ned Sauthoff and U.S. ITER UW Coordinator Kelli Kizer.
United Way is a national network of some 1,300 local organizations that work to advance the common good by helping children and youth achieve their potential, promoting financial stability and independence, and improving people's health.
Like a vital artery, the 250-kilometre long Canal de Provence
supplies the region's inhabitants with some of the basic necessities of life: energy (20% of the region's needs) and irrigation, as well as drinking water.
It will also supply ITER with some 1.7 million cubic metres of cooling water per year — an impressive figure, but one which accounts for only 0.25% of the canal's annual flow.
Preventing clogging in the canal is as important as preventing it in arteries...
Once every ten years, more or less, the Canal Authority launches a large cleaning operation aimed at ridding the canal of all the junk that has accumulated over the years.
The operation, which requires almost two years of preparation and planning, is also an opportunity to check the concrete walls for leaks, to fix them, and to perform maintenance on the hydroelectric equipment.
The works, which are visible to all those who commute between Aix and ITER or drive over the Mirabeau Bridge, are presently ongoing on a nine-kilometre section of the Canal, between Cadarache and Jouques' hydroelectric plant.
The operation, which began on Monday 13 September and will last for a whole month, is a delicate one: the delivery of water cannot be interrupted and a complex system of pumping and by-passes has to be implemented.
The canal's "cholesterol" is a very special one: it is mainly made of junked vehicles that, for various reasons (predominantly insurance scams) have been dumped into it.
A near decade of car dumping makes for a lot of junk; last time the canal was cleaned, in 2002, some 300 vehicles were lifted from its bed. One week into the job on the Cadarache-Jouques section, some 70 cars - including luxury SUVs and small vans - had already been retrieved.
Standing on the embankment last week, the view was particularly striking: while workers rappelled up and down the canal's steep walls in order to fill the cracks with waterproof coating, cranes kept hauling out sand-coloured vehicles that looked like something out of the battle of El Alamein.
Indeed, the bottom of the canal looked like a deserted WWII North-African battlefield or, to some, like a daring installation in a Contemporary Art gallery.
Special thanks to Benjamin Mille for kindly providing the illustrations.
The ITER Organization has announced the appointment of five new Principality of Monaco/ ITER Postdoctoral Research Fellows who will conduct research in fusion science and technology during the next two years under funding provided by the Partnership Agreement between ITER and the Principality of Monaco. The five successful candidates, selected from a wide range of talented applicants representing all of the ITER partners are:
- Shimpei Futatani (Japan), who received his PhD from Kyoto University for studies of turbulent transport of impurities in fusion plasmas and has recently held a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Provence.
- Sun Hee Kim (Korea), who received his PhD from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne for computational analysis of burning plasma operational scenarios and has recently been furthering his research at IRFM-CEA, Cadarache.
- Jing Na (China), who recently received his PhD from the Beijing Institute of Technology for research into the control of systems with delays and nonlinearities.
- Ian Pong (Europe), who received his PhD in applied superconductivity from the University of Cambridge and who has most recently been a CERN Postdoctoral Research Fellow.
- Debasmita Samaddar (India), who has recently been awarded a PhD by the University of Alaska for studies on time parallelization of computations of plasma turbulence.
The Fellows will take up their positions over the next few months.
This week, construction activities on the ITER site included work in five major areas:
- Tokamak Complex Excavation and Support Structure:
There is ongoing rock blasting and excavation is continuing in the area of the future Tokamak Complex.
- Poloidal Field Coil Fabrication Building:
The first major concrete slab pour has taken place at the east end of the building. In tandem, continuing activities are progressing westwards along the building, including work on the column footing installation, concrete column reinforcement and cast-in-place concrete placement is continuing for the above-ground structure of the PF Coil Fabrication Building.
- Permanent Iter Headquarters ('Annex Buildings'):
Preparations for the beginning of foundation work are continuing for the future permanent ITER Headquarters Buildings. Ground preparation concrete is being poured.
- Site Infrastructure:
Permanent buried cable for communications installation continues between the Technical Building B07 and the Contractor's Area No. 1.
Please welcome KTM, the most recent addition to the worldwide tokamak family. KTM, the Kazakhstan Tokamak for Material testing, first saw the light of day - that is, experienced its trial start-up - in the city of Kurchatov, in Eastern Kazakhstan, on 5 September 2010.
KTM is a rather small, spherical machine with a vacuum vessel volume of 12.3 cubic metres — compared to ITER's 840. Magnetic fields are provided by a Central Solenoid (CS) and an array of 20 Toroidal Field (TF) Coils and 18 Poloidal Field (PF) Coils. PF and TF coils are copper; CS is winded with copper and silver alloy conductors.
The Divertor consists of mounted plates on a rotary table. Plates can be replaced without venting the vacuum vessel by way of the rotating and vertical movements of the table.
This capability, along with other assembly-disassembly systems, is essential for a machine which is intended to test plasma-facing materials under powerful particle and heat flux. It enables operators to install components and take them out in a relatively short time.
Valery Chuyanov, ITER Deputy Director-General for Fusion Science and Technology describes the Russian-developed concept of KTM as "conservative". He explains: "In order to study materials, you need a test-bed with constant characteristics — hence the rather conservative concept".
In a September 2000 journal article
, Evgeny Velikhov and other Russian and Kazakh scientists presented the KTM project as being "designed for modelling plasma-material interaction [...] under conditions expected for ITER."
Last May, an article
in the European Commission/Research website stressed the importance of the "concrete and growing cooperation [in fusion research] between EU and Kazakhstan."
The Central Asian nation, which was involved in the earlier phases of the ITER activities (EDA) and at one point had considered becoming an ITER Member, "is among the only three non-ITER Parties with which Euratom has concluded a specific fusion research cooperation agreement."
With a discharge duration of 40 ms and maximum current of 25 kA, KTM's First Plasma on 5 September was consistent with calculation scenarios.
The First Conference of Physics of the Portuguese-speaking countries was held in Maputo, Mozambique, in September. Plasma physicists from Angola, Mozambique, Brazil and Europe discussed different ways to involve African nations in a research network focussing on plasma physics. The Chairmen of the the conference were Prof. Alexandre M. Maphossa from UEM/Mozambique and Prof. Mario J. Pinheiro from IST/Portugal.