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Zhen Chen, ITER's newly appointed Staff Welfare & Assistance Officer.
For almost ten years she helped expatriates from France to settle in China. Now she will help the integration of ITER expats in France.

After finishing high school Zhen Chen, newly appointed Staff Welfare & Assistance Officer in the Human Resources Division, studied French in Bejing for four years and then worked at the renowned Alliance Française for two. To put her language skills to practice and get a taste of France and its cultural subtleties she then spent a year in Paris. 

And France has remained a leitmotif in Zhen's life ever since.

Back in Bejing she was asked to be part of the team that started up the Chinese subsidiary of Dalkia, a French company specialized in energy services. In 10 years Dalkia China, initially a small-scale company with just a couple of employees, grew into a full-scale operation of 1,700 people. Zhen played a key role in managing the human resources aspects of this rapid growth and the quick and efficient integration of many French expats in their new life and work.

Her experience in dealing with the challenges and needs of newly arrived expats will be very helpful at the ITER Organization, which is constantly managing new staff arriving from its Member states. In her newly created position within the Human Resources Division, one of her main responsibilities will be to set up a Staff Welfare Program, which will provide services to staff to help them improve their work-life balance. She will also work on a program to help newly arrived staff to quickly settle in and understand the ITER Project and its organization. 

Another important part of her job will be to manage the contacts between the ITER parents and the international school. In her new role, Zhen will work in collaboration and consultation with Agence Iter France's Welcome Office and the ITER Staff Committee.

And of course Zhen will be her own test case when it comes to experiencing first-hand what it is like to be new at ITER and in Provence. "So far, as a newcomer I find people at ITER very open and supportive," she says. "The multicultural atmosphere with all those different nationalities and their diverse perspectives makes for a very stimulating and instructive environment." Early next year Zhen's husband and four year old son will join her in Manosque to make her integration in Provence complete.

The tenth TBM Program Committee meeting in progress last week.
Last week, the committee in charge of the governance of the Test Blanket Module Program (TBM Program) convened at ITER Headquarters for its tenth meeting. The TBM Program Committee meets twice a year to review the implementation in ITER of these in-vessel components and their associated ancillary systems charged with testing viable techniques for the "breeding" of tritium necessary for the fuelling of future fusion power reactors. The Committee's findings are reported to the ITER Council.

The main objectives of the meeting were to verify the status of the short-term steps planned in the present ITER Baseline and to identify the actions needed to achieve them on time. The most important milestones identified were the signature of the six TBM Arrangements and the organization of Conceptual Design Reviews for the six different Test Blanket Systems, which are scheduled for the second half of 2014, or early 2015.

An important agenda item was to reach agreement on the details of the early procurement of the connection pipes for the Test Blanket System. These connection pipes belong to the six Test Blanket Systems and should therefore be procured by the relevant ITER Members. A document dealing with the administrative and financial arrangements for the procurement of those pipes has now been agreed upon and will be recommended to the ITER Council for endorsement.

The tenth TBM Program Committee noted the good progress in the design development performed by the ITER Organization and in the R&D activities carried out by all seven ITER Members. The main milestones in relation to the activities planned for 2014 and 2015 were verified and confirmed by the group.

A further item discussed was the preparation of the Radwaste Management Agreement necessary to the definition of how radwaste related to the Test Blanket Systems will be dealt with during ITER Operation and later decommissioning. In this respect, the activities to be performed by the Test Blanket Program Working Group on Radwaste Management have been clarified and addressed.

The TBM Program Committee noted the progress made in this area. However, a significant amount of work is still necessary to complete the analyses. The Program Committee charged the Test Blanket Program Working Group (TBP-WG) to define in detail all the actions needed from the disassembly of the Test Blanket Modules and the Test Blanket Systems up to their disposal; to define the models estimating tritium inventory and out-gassing and to homogenize the received data with the objective of identifying cost drivers; and to perform a preliminary estimation of the costs related to the main actions (temporary storage, transportation, and disposal).

To address the need of wider involvement on the part of the ITER Organization in the Working Group activities, the tenth TBM Program Committee nominated Jaap van der Laan as Working Group Vice-Chair.

Further reading: News on development work for the European Test Blanket System was published this week on the Fusion for Energy website.


The ITPA Topical Group on Diagnostics advises the ITER Organization on diagnostic requirements, organizes joint experiments on diagnostic techniques, supports ITER operation and advances diagnostics for DEMO and future reactors.
The International Tokamak Physics Activity (ITPA) Topical Group on Diagnostics (Diagnostic TG) held its 25th meeting at the ITER site from 15-18 October. The group has a wide remit, starting from advising the ITER Organization on diagnostic requirements, passing through proposing, planning and reporting on joint experiments on diagnostic techniques and analysis, and culminating with supporting ITER operation and advancing diagnostics for DEMO and future reactors.

At the meeting, chaired by Yasunori Kawano, extensive progress was reported on mirror cleaning techniques for optical measurements. This type of technology will be deployed for the first time in ITER, where the extended plasma burn times (4700 hours) combined with the high energy bombardment of the first-wall components can lead to rough mixed-metal build-up on the mirrors. Progress was also made in understanding and reducing the impact of wall reflections. For all-metal wall machines such as ITER, these can distort or even mask the signals from optical diagnostics.

A discussion on escaping alpha particles produced in the fusion burn resulted in the launching a new activity for further investigation, including a proposed new method. Measurements and techniques for dust, tritium and erosion were discussed in a special session. These measurements are needed so ITER can plan its operation and maintenance well within regulatory limits and to gain understanding on the way to DEMO.

A new joint experiment for the systematic comparison of Charge Exchange Recombination Spectroscopy and X-ray Imaging Crystal Spectroscopy was presented. These diagnostics measure ion temperature and plasma rotation—both parameters necessary to steering the machine.

The group also discussed progress with neutron calibration during a special two-day ITER Organization workshop. This is an important area for ITER, both for regulatory compliance and to reduce the uncertainties in extrapolating ITER performance to DEMO.

This was the first meeting of the Diagnostic TG to be held at ITER Headquarters, and the first to make use of remote participation in the auditorium. It was combined with a one-day progress meeting of ITER Organization Diagnostics Division. "Participation was better than average, with all parties represented and good progress in key areas reported," said Chair Kawano.

The group's next meeting is planned for the first week of June 2014, in Korea.


A major contract for the ITER Project and for Europe: the CEO of Cofely Axima, Jean Pascal de Peretti de la Rocca, and the Director of Fusion for Energy, Henrik Bindslev, sign the Tokamak Complex building services contract in Barcelona.
The European Domestic Agency for ITER, Fusion for Energy, has concluded a EUR 530 million contract for Tokamak Complex building services with a Franco-German consortium comprising Cofely Axima, Cofely Ineo and Cofely Endel (part of the GDF Suez Group) and the M +W Group GmbH.

This is the largest contract ever awarded for the ITER Project by Europe, which is responsible for the construction of 39 scientific buildings and dedicated areas on the ITER platform.

The building services contract covers the design, supply, installation and commissioning of the mechanical and electrical equipment for the Tokamak Complex plus the surrounding buildings—a total volume of 97,200 m3. Scope will include an HVAC system (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning) powerful enough to treat 1,000,000 m³ of airflow/hour, Instrumentation & Control (I&C) systems, power supplies, interior and exterior lighting, gas and liquid networks, state-of-the-art fire detection and extinguishing systems (2,000 fire detectors), pipe fittings, and handling equipment with various interfaces to buildings and systems.

The contract signature follows on the heels of the main Tokamak Complex construction contract signed last December and which was kicked off this year. Under this latest contract, the works necessary for the installation of ITER's high-tech Assembly Phase equipment will get underway.

Read the full story on the Fusion for Energy website.