On 6 and 7 March ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima visited Moscow, a mission intended to inform the representatives of the Russian party first-hand about the status of the ITER Project and to hear in exchange about progress in procurement and manufacturing in Russia. During this visit, the Procurement Arrangement for ITER's neutral particle analyzer (see textbox below) and the Arrangement on the operation of the SULTAN test facility and sample manufacture were signed.
At the Domestic Agency (RF-DA) located on the premises of the Kurchatov Institute, the Director-General first met the Russian delegates to the ITER Council, delegation leader Igor Borovkov, former Council Chair Evgeny Velikhov; Contact Person Vladimir Vlasenkov, recently appointed ROSATOM Deputy Director-General Vyacheslav Persukov and the head of the Russian Domestic Agency, Anatoli Krasilnikov. Director Motojima briefly explained the status of the project including the current project schedule performance and the Members' budget situation.
In a second session with Anatoli Krasilnikov and ROSATOM representative Viacheslav Pershukov, technical issues concerning the ITER divertor were discussed as well as the recent visit of seven young Russian researchers to ITER Headquarters, a well-received initiative supported by ROSATOM.
Watch the ions if you want to know how the plasma performs inside your tokamak. Due to reactions with other ions or neutrals, some of the ions inside the ultra-hot plasma soup strip off their charge. These neutral particles do not respond to the magnetic cage of the tokamak and escape. Installed in one of the equatorial ports of the ITER machine, a Neutral Particle Analyzer (NPA) will catch these escaping particles and measure their energy and mass. A few calculations later and scientists will glean knowledge on the confinement of ions inside of the plasma and the efficiency of heating and fuelling. Essential knowledge on the way to Q≥10.
Approximately 20 journalists and high-ranking representatives from the Russian industry then gathered around the conference table at the RF-DA. This was the first time for them to be assembled all together. Academician Velikhov, one of the spiritual fathers of the ITER project, gave a short recap of the history of nuclear fusion research and ITER, highlighting the significant role of the Russian Federation. Director-General Motojima presented the project status in detail and fielded many questions from the journalists present.
Click here to listen to the interview with the Moscow radio station "Echo of Moscow" (in Russian).
Click here to watch to the interview with Director-General Motojima on the Russian TV-channel "Russia-24" (in Russian).
Click here to watch a 14-minute report on ITER on "Russia-24" (in Russian).
A meeting with Domestic Agency staff was also held with a view to enhancing the mutual understanding between the ITER Organization and the RF-DA.
The following day a visit was organized to JSC Cryogenmash, a cryogenic engineering company located in Balashikha near Moscow. The company's origins date back to the engineering plant created by Nobel Prize winner Pyotr Leonidovich Kapitsa in 1945. Cryogenmash has a long experience in building cryogenic systems for large research facilities and is responsible for the design and construction of ITER's port plug test facility stands.
An important milestone in the procurement of toroidal field conductor for ITER was recently achieved in China.
On 26 February, 660 metres of completed toroidal field dummy conductor was lifted onto a truck in Hefei and taken to the port in Shanghai. From there it took to sea in the direction of Japan.
The event was symbolic in two ways: this was the first ITER component completed in China, and—for the ITER Project—it was the first shipment of completed component between ITER Members.
On 10 March, the packaged toroidal field dummy conductor arrived in Fukuoka, Japan where it will be stored at the Wakamatsu site until further processing.
Mr. Luo Delong, Deputy Director-General of the Chinese Domestic Agency, commented: "This milestone is a major step for the ITER project. It is a symbol of the commitment of China turned reality. Our goal is that all procurement items from China be supplied in accordance with the ITER schedule and with ITER quality requirements."
The successful transfer of toroidal field dummy conductor was the result of the combined efforts of many, including research done at ASIPP well in advance of production, and cooperation with the ITER Organization, the Japanese Domestic Agency and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA).
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On 29 February, a new tool was launched that will help to improve and facilitate the way a huge amount of data is managed within the ITER project.
The genesis of the Engineering Database—a project led by Ken Blackler, head of ITER's Assembly & Operations Division—involved collaboration over the past year between ITER's Project Information Section (IT), the Design Office, Technical Integration Division, and Department of Safety, Quality & Security, as well as extensive participation by representative end users.
"The goal of the Engineering Database is to create a one-stop shop where all the ITER data that you can imagine is stored, organized and updated in an automated manner," explains Stefano Chiocchio, head of ITER's Technical Integration Division. "Before we launched this database I spent much of my days answering emails from colleagues and collaborators seeking technical information such as the temperature in a particular room. Finding the answer meant a time-consuming search for the right document, and further time spent verifying that the information was up-to-date. The new Engineering Database will put an end to this confusion."
The Engineering Database will allow all 7000 users and customers who need to put their hands on ITER data fast access to answers. In its final version, it will offer complete, lifecycle documentation for the project.
"In the beginning we thought we might be able to work with a commercial solution, and not 'reinvent the wheel,'" says Vijay Patel who, together with Carlo Capuano, was in charge of the technical development of the database. "But the fact that contributors are situated all over the world makes the ITER case a unique one. We dropped the idea of a commercial solution and developed our own ... not always an easy task in this multinational, complex project!"
A special feature of the Engineering Database is its direct link to the Design Office's ENOVIA database that stores CAD models. Whenever a drawing or a model is updated in ENOVIA, the data in the Engineering Database is updated in parallel. A special viewing tool will also allow the user to open the required model or drawing directly.
The database passed its "baptism by fire" this week during the Configuration Management Working Group meeting. Each Domestic Agency had sent technical officers to hear how the Engineering Database will improve future cooperation. All agreed that the implementation of the database, in close collaboration with the Domestic Agencies, will help to clarify the interfaces that impact the Domestic Agencies and their suppliers.
The challenge ahead? Uploading the millions of pieces of data as ITER designs are being completed and the construction work begins ...
They look and dress like high school students all over the world—hooded sweat shirts, sport shoes and faded jeans. They are not, however, ordinary students. The high schools they attend in Fukui Prefecture, in the Chubu region of Japan, have gained the coveted label of "Super Science" schools, meaning that mathematics, physics, and technology are at the core of their curriculum.
The label was established in 2002 by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) as part of its Science Literacy Enhancement Initiatives. There are only 145 Super Science high schools in Japan today, out of a total of 6,000.
The fourteen students, aged 15 to 17, who visited ITER with four of their teachers last Wednesday 14 March, belong to five of these elite secondary education establishments. Their nine-day trip to Europe included visits to ITER; the Observatoire de Haute-Provence near Forcalquier, where the first exoplanet was discovered in 1995; CERN; the Cité des Sciences in Paris; and, for a lighter experience, the Louvre museum.
At ITER, they were greeted by Director-General Osamu Motojima and Japanese staff members, and given presentations on the various aspects of the ITER project. Shimpei Futatani, one of the postdoctoral fellows presently with the Plasma Confinement Group, presented the opportunities offered by the Monaco Fellowship — an opportunity the Super Science high school students may very well consider in the coming years.
The Italian Consortium for Applied Superconductivity (ENEA, Tratos Cavi, Criotec) has completed the commissioning of the jacketing line and the equipment needed for the manufacturing of conductors for ITER and JT-60SA in less than one year.
In the fields of Chivasso, 20 km outside Turin, a manufacturing facility has been erected to fabricate and carry out the rigorous qualification process for the conductors. Outside the facility, a platform measuring 800 metres has been assembled to guide the 10-tonne, 760-metre-long toroidal field copper dummy conductor into the facility.
The jacketing was completed after assembling all the sub-components provided by contractors. Tratos Cavi produced the cable which was then handed over to Criotec to be inserted into stainless steel tube composed of 58 individual sections welded together. Subsequently, the dummy conductor was compacted and spooled.
Following the successful validation process, the conductor was packed into a 100-cubic-metre box for shipment to a facility in La Spezia (Italy), where the consortium responsible for the fabrication of the toroidal field winding packs will carry out trials.
As part of the toroidal field conductor qualification, the Italian Consortium for Applied Superconductivity (ICAS) is expected to produce three toroidal field dummy conductors. After the successful completion of the copper conductor, two superconducting dummies will be fabricated within the first semester of this year. Once the qualification process is completed, ICAS will have to deliver 27 production lengths for the ITER toroidal field coils.
The best way to work on a cable is to ride along it in a gondola. This spectacular technique was implemented this week on the 400 kV power line as workers installed "line spacers" between the two conductors of each phase cable.
Spacers are used to keep cables from entering into contact with one another in the case of strong wind. They also help balance the stress placed on the anchor pins that attach the cables to the pylons.
Spacers have to be placed every 50 metres. Since there are six kilometres to cover between the pylon facing the ITER Headquarters and the connexion to the Boutre-Tavel power line ... that will make for a lot of nice gondola riding ahead.