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ITER-India head Shishir Deshpande (in white) handing over the MoU to the Port Plug Project team on 22 July 2013. With Shishir, from right to left,  Siddharth Kumar (Technical Responsible Officer), Vinay Kumar (Project Manager, Diagnostics), Shrishail Padasalagi (Head, Design Office & Member Diagnostics) and Dilshad Sulaiman (Project Office Responsible Officer).
ITER-India and the ITER Organization signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the common manufacture of port plugs on 16 July 2013 during the Unique ITER Team week at ITER. This MoU enables the participation of India in the common manufacture of the upper port plug that includes the generic upper port plug (GUPP) and applicable customizations. ITER-India is responsible for providing upper port No. 9 integration components, a package that includes upper port plug No. 9 itself.

The main functions of the upper port plug are to hold the diagnostics in position, shield diagnostics from neutron streaming and act as the first closing boundary at the vacuum vessel port flange. This upper port plug will be a stainless steel structure of nearly 6 metres in length and a little more than 1 metre in width and height, weighing approximately 25 tonnes.

Whether you are an engineer full of ideas, an industry player looking for global business opportunities, or a fusion researcher wanting to keep up-to-date on the latest ITER achievements and developments, the 2013 Monaco ITER International Fusion Energy Days (MIIFED) offer an excellent opportunity for exchanging views and experiences, while forming valuable international business relationships.

MIIFED will be held on 2-4 December 2013 in the Principality of Monaco, under the high patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II.
This international conference will present the latest progress of the ITER Project and also the major scientific and technological developments in the field of fusion and energy worldwide. The aim is to encourage synergies between energy-related research and technology developments.

Together with the exhibition, the different conference sessions will facilitate learning, networking and partnering with other research actors.

The following high level speakers have already accepted to contribute to MIIFED 2013:
His Serene Highness Prince Albert II
Yukiya Amano, Director-General, IAEA
Bernard Bigot, Chairman, CEA
Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director-General, European Space Agency
Charles Elachi, Director, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USA
Masako Inoue, Director, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan
Madhukar Kotwal, Member of the Board, Larson & Toubro, India
Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith, former Director-General, CERN
Umberto Minopoli, President, Ansaldo Nucleare, Italy
Osamu Motojima, Director-General, ITER Organization
John Parmentola, Senior Vice-President, General Atomics, USA
Hideyuki Takatsu, Chair of the ITER Council
Maria Van der Hoeven, Executive Director, International Energy Agency

Click here to register online.

Veaceslav Tokarev and Helen Guillaumin, of Marseille's Alliance franco-russe gave a spectacular demonstration of traditional Russian dances.
Do Russians drink vodka for lunch? ITER Deputy Director-General Alexander Alekseev made the point that they didn't but Vladimir Pozdnyakov, Russia's Consul General in Marseille, said he was "not so sure" ... suggesting that they might, "just a little bit, on some special occasions..."

Vodka was the only thing Russian that was missing (along with Slavic melancholy) at the celebration of ITER's Russia Day on Friday 19 July. For the rest, it was all there: the food, the songs, the dances, the images of Mother Russia ...

More than 600 ITER staff and contractors participated in the event organized by Olga Star and Igor Sekachev had organized.

Experts on Russian singing and dancing (and there are at least 26 at ITER) assured that the five singers and dancers of Marseille's Alliance franco-russe were among the best they had ever seen.

Vladimir Vlasenkov, Deputy Head of the Russian Domestic Agency, who was participating in the Unique ITER Team week at ITER, said "it was not very common, even for him, to witness such a beautiful expression of Russian traditions."

Click here to view more pictures of Russia Day at ITER.

The four electric overhead travelling cranes will move between the Assembly Building and the Tokamak Building, moving the heavy components with extreme precision during assembly. © Eric Verdult 2006
Fusion for Energy (F4E), the Domestic Agency managing Europe's in-kind contribution to ITER, has signed a contract with the NKMNOELL-REEL consortium formed by NKMNoell Special Cranes GmbH, Germany and REEL S.A.S., France (part of Groupe REEL) for the design, certification, manufacturing, testing, installation and commissioning of the four cranes that will be used to assemble the Tokamak, as well as the Tokamak cargo lift that will move the casks containing components. The budget of the contract is in the range of EUR 31 million and it is expected to run for five years.

The cranes will be located within the Tokamak Building and the Assembly Building and will operate like a pair of safe hands to move the heavy components between the two areas and position them during assembly with extreme precision. The consortium will deliver two 750-tonne cranes that, in tandem, will lift up to 1,500 tonnes during assembly, two 50-tonne auxiliary cranes, and the Tokamak cargo lift.

Sophisticated engineering combined with advanced safety lifting and remote handling technologies are some of the elements that describe the nature of the work undertaken by the two companies.

How will the cranes work?

The four electric overhead travelling cranes will move between the Assembly Building and the Tokamak Building, which is divided in two areas housing the Tokamak and a crane hall above the machine.

The major heavy lifting requirements shall be met by the two 750-tonne cranes. Each will be equipped with two trolleys carrying a single 375-ton nehoist each. In total, the four 375-tonne hoists will provide a maximum lifting capacity of 1,500 tonnes—the weight of 187 London double-decker buses. The cranes shall be capable of working in tandem to provide a fully synchronized lift and precise positioning. Two auxiliary cranes of 50-tonne capacity will be used for other lifting activities, working independently of one another.

Which components?

The principal purpose of the Tokamak crane system is to lift and receive heavy components, support assembly operations, move the cryostat components, and transport the assembled vacuum vessel sectors and other major components. When the Tokamak machine becomes operational there will be no further planned use for the cranes. The 750-tonne cranes will remain parked and electrically isolated while the 50-tonne cranes will continue to be used in the Assembly Building.

How will the Tokamak cargo lift work?

The Tokamak cargo lift shaft will be located in the Tokamak Building with connecting doors to the Hot Cell. The lift will carry the casks that contain machine components. The cask is 3.7 metres high by 2.7 metres wide and 8.5 metres long—the approximate size of a London double-decker bus, weighing 60 tonnes when empty. Automated transfer systems and high tech remote handling systems will be deployed to transfer the casks between the various levels of the Tokamak Building and the Hot Cell Facility by remote control. All components involved in the transfer need to be integrated in a seamless manner.

"The world energy industry is worth trillions of dollars—divert only a tiny fraction of that into researching fusion and we will soon know if it is workable." Dan Clery, in "A Piece of the Sun."
To the members of the wider fusion community, the name Dan Clery most likely rings a bell. News editor for the magazine Science since 1993, Dan has closely followed the excitement and frustrations of the quest for fusion energy and, of course, the "making of" ITER. Over the years he has gathered more than enough information to fill regular magazine pages and so he decided to, temporarily, swap the fast beat of a news reporter for the reclusiveness of a book author.

A Piece of the Sun draws the bow from the Big Bang, to Prometheus, to the first scientists working out the details of the fusion reaction, the first machines and experiments, and finally to modern times. None of this is new and may have appeared before in print, but don't be mistaken! Dan is not only an eloquent writer, but also a skilled journalist with a mission. In his hands, the book is far more than a technical narration of the good old days: it is a political statement ... a rousing call to arms for making fusion happen.

"The world energy industry is worth trillions of dollars—divert only a tiny fraction of that into researching fusion and we will soon know if it is workable," Dan passionately argues. "Some technological dreams just take time to come to fruition," he writes, drawing the parallel with the Wright brothers and Virgin Galactic's spacefaring pleasure aircraft. "The cost and time it will take to make fusion work has to be balanced against the enormous benefits it will bring. It won't damage the climate, won't pollute and it won't run out. How can we not try?"

Read an interview of Dan Clery on the PPPL website.

Transporting an 800-ton load along the ITER Itinerary requires some heavy logistics.
The summer recess at ITER (the site will be closed the week of 12-18 August) will be followed by a flurry of activity.

On 6 September, on the initiative of Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner in charge of Energy, representatives at ministerial level of the seven ITER Members will convene at the ITER Headquarters to review the main progress accomplished. This will be the second time in the project's history that the highest-level government representatives of the seven ITER Members meet; the last time was 21 November 2006, on the day after the signature of the ITER Agreement.

Ten days later, the first technical tests will be performed on the ITER Itinerary. Organized jointly by Agence Iter France (AIF) and the DAHER Group, the operation will consist in verifying that the engineers' calculations agree with the reality of travelling the whole length of the Itinerary (104 km) with a convoy that mimicks the most exceptional ITER loads—800 tonnes, 40 metres in length, 9 metres in width, and 11 metres in height.

The "measurement campaign," as it is officially called by AIF, will be performed at night negociating the 16 roundabouts and crossing the 30 bridges that punctuate the Itinerary. The vehicle—an 88-axle self-propelled platform—will remain stationary during the day in order not to interfere with the heavy summer traffic. The public will be able to share in the spectacular event from two specifically designed viewing areas, one in Berre l'Etang where the platform will be stationed on 16 September and one in Peyrolles where it will arrive two days later.

In order to confirm that the organization among all involved entities is appropriate, a complete dress rehearsal, with all the logistics of an actual Highly Exceptional Convoy, will be organized in the following months. The first supersized ITER components (the US-manufactured drain tanks) should be delivered on site in June 2014.

As it has for the past six and a half years, Newsline will continue to report on all the events, large and small, that make the daily life and history of ITER.

We'll be back with more news on 26 August!