The ITER Organization celebrated today the unveiling of the foundation stone for the Headquarters Office building currently under construction in Cadarache, France.
Located below the platform on which the ITER research facility will be built, the architectural edifice - over 24,000 m² - was designed to fit harmoniously into its natural environment.
The Headquarters will be composed of three buildings.
The first will be used to receive the public and will include a conference room for 50 people. The facade will be made from architectural concrete that offers advantages for both style and structure. Extremely smooth and aesthetically-pleasing, this highly-resistant concrete can be shaped to produce some very striking asymmetrical designs. The building will have a green roof to help regulate the temperature inside the building.
The second main building with a surface area of 20,500 m² will house offices for 460 people, a canteen catering to 1,000 people, a boardroom for 200, and an amphitheatre for 500. Its design aims to replicate the interculturality of the ITER project that brings together more than thirty different nationalities. Robust yet ethereal, this building will be 160 metres long, 21 metres wide and about 20 metres high. Its north-west facade will be shaped like a bird's wing and will be adorned with a shading system composed of seven centimetre-thick, fibre-reinforced concrete slats positioned vertically. These slats will form a protective veil against the wind and will vary in shape according to the angle of the viewer, ambient light, or the seasons.
The third building will be reserved for medical facilities and access control, and will provide a connection to the ITER research facilities.
Schedule: It will take two years to construct these buildings. Work on the foundations began in September 2010, and the first walls were erected in late October. Construction of the super-structure (floors, pillars, walls, etc.) will come next, before the facades and exterior fittings are installed in April 2011. The specialty trades will then move in to take care of floor coverings, ceilings, walls, locks, etc. Installation of electricity, heating and elevators is planned for November 2011.
Technical details: Contracting authority: Agence ITER France Contracting authority support: Altran Prime contractor: A group of architects from the Var Department including Rudy Ricciotti and Laurent Bonhomme, working in partnership with the technical design offices CAP-Ingelec & SNC-Lavalin.
Grouping of public works companies: Léon Grosse and Axima. Léon Grosse built the Pavillon Noir dance auditorium and the TGV train station in Aix-en-Provence, and both the Museum of Natural History and the Orangerie Museum in Paris. Founded in 1881 by Leon Grosse in Aix-les-Bains, it is now one of the most reputed public works companies in France.
Workforce: The work force will climb from approximately fifty people during the early stages of the work in autumn 2010, to 200 people during the season of peak activity (spring 2011). Cost of works: EUR 40 million financed cojointly by Europe and France.
On 17-18 November, the ITER Council (IC), the governing body of the ITER Organization, convened for its seventh meeting. The meeting in Cadarache, France brought together representatives from the seven ITER Members - China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States - under the chairmanship of Evgeny Velikhov (Russia), and included an observer from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
In recognition of his life-long contribution to ITER, a moment of silence was dedicated to Dr. Toshihide Tsunematsu, Vice-Chair of the ITER Council and Member of the Management Advisory Committee (MAC), who passed away in September.
ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima presented a status report of the ITER project. The project entered the Construction Phase immediately after the Baseline was approved at the extraordinary IC on July 28, 2010. This report included a new strategy for cost savings and cost containment.
The Council welcomed the actions taken by the Director-General since his appointment and commended the strong collaboration between the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies towards cost containment and cost savings. The ITER Council noted with approval the recent progress and pace of development within the ITER Organization. This includes extensive work at the ITER site and the placement of high-tech manufacturing contracts in all ITER Members, including the Vacuum Vessel which is a "critical path" component. In total, 46 Procurement Arrangements representing 60% of the total value of the project have been signed.
The ITER Council encouraged further efforts by the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies to improve coordination and to reduce costs. The Council approved the Annual Work Plan and the Budget for 2011. The Chairs of the ITER Council and the subsidiary bodies were re-elected.
First Foundation Stone Ceremony for the Headquarters Building
After the meeting, the Council members and experts, Domestic Agency Heads, and representatives of the local communities were invited to celebrate the official start of construction on the ITER Headquarters Building. During this historic occasion, the Chair of the ITER Council, Academician Evgeny Velikhov, stated: "This is a very important moment in the history of ITER; it is the day our dream begins to take shape."
The Director-General emphasized: "We are now ready to bring a Sun to Cadarache. Work is progressing on the platform and in the factories where ITER components are being manufactured. It is my duty to keep construction on schedule so that the First Plasma can be achieved before the end of the year 2019."
Finally, the Director-General thanked the Host Party, the European Union represented by Mr. Robert-Jan Smits, for its strong support.
The meetings of the ITER Council usually follow a strict agenda. After the opening words and before the Delegates come to discuss the heart of the matter, the Chairman goes around the table and asks the Heads of the seven delegations for an opening statement. Statements that this time confirmed the committment of the seven Member states despite fallout from the economic crisis.
"I would like to conclude by saying that in this period of economic stress, the U.S. government remains fully committed to ITER, and that I and my colleagues in the Administration are working aggressively to secure full funding to meet US commitments," William Brinkman, the Head of the US delegation and Director of the Office of Science at the US Department of Energy, said. "We may go through some difficult times in the near future, but I would encourage my colleagues in the ITER Council to openly discuss any difficulties they are facing and how other ITER Members may provide assistance. We are all in this together."
KIM Young Shik, the Head of the Korean delegation and Deputy Minister for Education, Science and Technology, called ITER "a vital mission for all humanity. I believe we must always bear in mind that the success of fusion energy does not only concern the future of the seven Members, it is the outcome of our collective effort and more importantly, a dream and hope for all of humanity."
The correction coils are part of the ITER magnet system and they will play a key role in ITER's performance. The correction coils are a set of 18 coils inserted between the toroidal field and poloidal field coils and distributed around the Tokamak. Their function is to correct the error field modes resulting from geometrical deviations caused by manufacturing and assembly tolerances. Although much lighter and slimmer than the toroidal and poloidal field coils—and running a smaller current (10 kA)—the correction coils are larger in size (measuring up to 8 metres in width). Consequently, the manufacture of these coils is not as straightforward as it would seem at first sight.
The difficulty lies first in the high precision required in their final dimensions, because the correction coils must fit into a narrow, predetermined space. Secondly, their unusual shape which is non-planar for side correction coils and planar (but banana-shaped) for the top and bottom correction coils presents another challenge. For this reason, the manufacture process must be carefully developed to ensure the manufacturability of these coils within specified tolerances, before advancing to the actual manufacturing stage.
Two Procurement Arrangements have been signed by the ITER Organization for the acquisition of the correction coils, both with the Chinese Domestic Agency. One Procurement Arrangement is for manufacture of the conductor; the other for manufacture of the coil. The entire set of these coils will thus be built in China, from the conductor strand to the casing enclosing each coil. It is, therefore, not surprising that the ITER Organization has placed an R&D contract with the ASIPP laboratory in Hefei, Anhui (China), to carry out a series of development tasks in preparation for correction coil manufacture.
The ASIPP laboratory is well-qualified to perform this work, based on experience gained from the construction of the EAST Tokamak. Furthermore, the conductors used in EAST are quite similar to the ITER correction coils; both are made of superconducting niobium-titanium (NbTi) strands cabled in a stainless steel conduit and both are cooled by internal circulation of supercritical helium at 4.5 K.
A visit to China in early November allowed ITER representatives to review and discuss the results obtained by ASIPP in the framework of their R&D contract. Worked performed included winding trials using dummy conductor lengths; resin impregnation of insulation mock-ups; terminal joint manufacture; and coil case manufacturing route investigation. The results from these trials and mock-ups will help significantly in the preparation of the manufacturing development plan, which is the next step in the execution of the Procurement Arrangement.
For the moment, however, an important milestone for the Chinese Domestic Agency is the selection of the main manufacturing company for the correction coils. The selection process should be completed by the end of this year. Although the name of the winning company will not be known for a few weeks, there is no doubt that ASIPP is included in the nominee list by virtue of the strong involvement of Professor Wu Weiyue's team in the present R&D contract.
The European Commission this month presented its proposals for a new energy strategy for the next decade. In "Brussels jargon" this is known as the Energy Action Plan. Its key message is easy to remember: 20-20-20. The Energy Action Plan states that by 2020, renewable sources must contribute 20% to our energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 20%, and energy efficiency gains must deliver a 20 % reduction in energy consumption.
For the first time ever, fusion energy is mentioned in the European energy roadmap: "Given the renewed interest in this form of (nuclear energy) generation in Europe and worldwide, research must be pursued on radioactive waste management technologies and their safe implementation, as well as preparing the longer term future through development of next generation fission systems, for increased sustainability and cogeneration of heat and electricity, and nuclear fusion (ITER)," it says in the report. "The Commission will ensure effective governance (including cost containment) and industrial value creation from ITER and the European fusion program. The Commission will develop an EU research program for energy materials, allowing the EU energy sector to stay competitive despite dwindling rare-earth resources."