Subscribe options

Select your newsletters:


Please enter your email address:

@

News & Media

Links

Of Interest

See archived articles

Conferences


Starting with good news, this week we published 80 open positions for ITER, from Assistant Accountant to Coil Designer for the ITER magnet systems. The deadline for the jobs is 30 September, so hopefully we will have suitable candidates on board by the end of the year. To fill these 80 positions as soon as possible is essential for the project's progress.

To make the recruitment procedure most efficient, we are going to recruit someone to take on drafting short lists, preparing the interviews with the candidates and so on. In the meantime we will contract an external company to speed things up. And there is more to come. Depending on the Council's approval, another 80 positions will be announced later this year.

This brings us to another issue that has to be solved now: office space. By the end of September or the beginning of October we hope to be able to move to Joint Work Site II offering office space for 300 people. Francoise Flament, who has just been appointed as my Senior Advisor, and Hiroshi Matsumoto, Head of the Office of the Director General, will be in charge of ensuring that the removal goes smoothly and we are going to hire someone to support our Logistics Team with the set up of the new offices. In the interim, to provide space for the people that are already here, had meeting room 110 has had to turned into an office and we will still need the help of the CEA to find more space.

Support is finally on the way for the contract division headed by Fiona Digby-Grant. This division is severely understaffed and overloaded with work leading in some cases to long and frustating delays. We are currently busy finding suitable candidates for two professional and one support position to improve matters. In addition, we will outsource some of the work to external companies. So, relief is on the horizon.

Finally, we are eager to improve the daily operations within Administration. In the Finance Department, for example, we are currently simplifying and speeding up the procedures for payments and reimbursements. After the implementation of this new procedure, it should take no more than 20 days between receipt and payment of an invoice.

Last week, the review group led by Frank Briscoe came together in the Chateau de Cadarache for its first meeting. The goal of the so-called "Briscoe Review" is the independent assessment of the resource estimates for ITER construction (see ITER Newsline #40).

"It has been a very intensive meeting," the Chairman said in a first statement on Friday. "As the members of the review group are new to ITER the project had to be introduced to them first. This was achieved thanks to the cooperation of the ITER team. But there remains a lot to do though. We will now all go back and do our homework. Only in September will we try to finalize our review."

On 1 August, Dr. Hee Yol Yu (center), Chairman of the Korean Research Council of Fundamental Science and Technology. visited the ITER construction site where he met the Kijung Jung, Deputy Head of the Korean Domestic Agency (4th from left), ITER Deputy Director General Yong-Hwan Kim (4th from right) and the Korean ITER staff members.

Nobuo Tanaka, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) acts as energy policy advisor to 27 member countries in their efforts to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for their citizens. Founded during the oil crisis of 1973-74, the IEA's initial role was to co-ordinate a world-wide response to oil supply emergencies. On 6 June 2008, IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka launched the "Energy Technology Perspectives 2008". The Agency's leading biennial publication responds to the G8 call on the IEA for guidance on how to achieve a clean, clever and competitive energy future. "There should be no doubt," Tanaka writes in the report. "Meeting the target of a 50% cut in emissions represents a formidable challenge. We would require immediate policy action and technological transition on an unprecedented scale."

ITER: Mr. Tanaka, in the recently issued Energy Technology Perspectives it states that the situation is getting worse in regards to CO2 emissions and oil demand. Can you please describe what that means - in numbers? What future do we face if we continue to do business as usual?

Tanaka: If governments around the world continue with policies in place to date " the underlying premise in the Energy Technology Perspectives 2008 Baseline scenario " CO2 emissions will rise by 130% by 2050. Despite all the attention that is given to renewable energy such as biofuels, wind and solar, the reality is we are still heading towards a fossil fuel future. Oil, natural gas and coal will remain the dominant sources of primary energy worldwide. For example, demand for coal will triple and oil demand will rise by 70% by 2050. These trends are consistent with an eventual increase in average global temperature of up to 6°C. This perspective is unsustainable and difficult to accept, particularly given the highly publicized pledges that have been made by world leaders in recent years to take action to address climate change.

What does the IEA recommend in its report to the G8 in order to reduce emissions and to secure energy for the future?

The first step is to drastically improve energy efficiency. Existing efficiency technologies can sharply reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP, at relatively low or sometimes even negative costs and with a similar or even improved service. We then need to substantially de-carbonise power generation. This can be achieved through renewables, nuclear power, and the capture and storage of CO2 emissions from coal or gas plants. There is a degree of choice, for each country, as to the balance of these technologies that you chose. And finally, we need to make a dramatic reduction in the carbon intensity of transport.

What influence does the IEA have in order to change the system? What do you see as your role?

Following up on an initial request made by G8 leaders at the Gleneagles Summit in 2005, the IEA has conducted an extensive analysis to make concrete recommendations on achieving a clean, clever and competitive energy future. The results have been presented to the G8 summits in St. Petersburg, Heiligendamm and most recently, Toyako. For example, in terms of energy efficiency, we have put forward a set of 25 recommendations across seven priority areas. If implemented globally, they could save around 8.2 gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2 per year by 2030. This is greater than the current energy-related CO2 emissions from the USA and Japan combined. They would also reduce global energy demand by an amount comparable to the total current energy consumption of the USA. It is clear that G8 leaders now recognise the problems we face and understand the goals we need to achieve. We are honoured by the important role the G8 has attributed to the IEA and its expertise to help address the world's energy challenges but it is now for the governments to follow through.

In the "Energy Technology Perspectives 2008" you write that in order to meet the target of a 50% emission cut we would require immediate policy action and technological transition on an unprecedented scale. It will essentially require a new global energy revolution which would completely transform the way we produce and use energy. Can you please explain what you mean by "global energy revolution?"

I have called this a "global energy revolution" because of the immense and sustained level of investment in clean energy technologies that would be needed. For instance we would need to build 17,500 large wind turbines and 32 nuclear power plants every year between now and 2050. The total additional investment required up to 2050 is $45 trillion " about 1.1% of average annual global GDP or, for instance, about the current GDP of Canada. This may seem a modest proportion but, of course, it's a very large sum when considered in the context of national budgets or costs falling on consumers. Included in this sum is a big increase in government spending on energy R&D, which has been in decline in recent years, as well as large deployment programmes for key technologies.

What do you think about fusion energy? How does fusion fit into the plan?

I believe fusion could be one of the major research challenges of the 21st Century. It offers an option to provide environmentally benign energy for the future without depleting natural resources for next generations. Though fusion has historically been a long-term possibility, it is now coming closer with the creation of the ITER project. Although further research and development work needs to be done on materials and on concept improvements, ITER could be the last major step between today&39;s experiments and a demonstration power plant. To support the development of fusion energy, the IEA provides a framework for nine major international collaborative programmes which deal with a broad range of fusion topics including physics, technology, materials, safety, environmental and economic aspects, and social acceptance of fusion power. These allow interested member and non-member governments or other organisations to pool resources and to foster the research, development and deployment in particular areas of interest.

The Cooling Water System Group in front of the Alfa-Laval garden just adjacent to their fabrication facility: Dinesh Gupta, KP Chang, Giovanni Dell'Orco, Curd Warren with Ajith Kumar of ITER India and staff members of Alfa-Laval.
In July, the ITER Cooling Water System (CWS) Group embarked on a trip across India. First stop on their tour was Ahmadabad, where they visited the India Plasma Research Centre. "We were impressed by the capabilities of Indian industry and their enthusiasm for supporting the ITER project", Curd Warren, CWS Section Leader, reported. "We came away from these meetings with a much broader understanding of the Indian commitment to ITER. The quality of their products and their interest and willingness to provide expert advice proved their capability to perform Value Engineering studies."

Next stop on the programme was ANUP, a Lalbhai Group company that fabricates pressure vessels for the petro-chemical industry. ANUP fabricates stainless steel and carbon steel vessels up to 5.5 meters in diameter. ANUP has also supplied vessels to the tokamak of the India Plasma Research center. That afternoon the group visited the new home of IN-ITER, the Indian Domestic Agency (DA).

After some hours of travel, the group arrived at Kirloskar Brothers Ltd (KBL), a pump manufacturing company in Kirloskar. "The factory has a tremendous capacity to provide exceptionally large horizontal and vertical pumps to meet the ITER CWS needs", Curd Warren said. Next stop: Satara, the home of Alfa-Laval, a plate-type heat exchanger manufacturer. "We learned Alfa-Laval can furnish the size heat exchangers required for ITER in about eighteen months, which includes 6 months for delivery of materials."

And finally — Kolkata (Calcutta). There the group visited the Paharpur Cooling Tower Manufacturing Facility. The plant provides large cooling towers around the world. "Paharpur has the capacity to design, build, construct, and commission the large units required by ITER", Warren stated. "Paharpur can also supply their towers in a phased delivery approach to reduce the upfront cost for the ITER project."

The overall impression of the CWS team was that India's capabilities "exceed the original expectations and that the India DA is very capable and very enthusiastic towards the successful completion of the ITER project. The personnel of the India DA are exceptionally cordial and gracious hosts, having exhibited to us an exceptional ability to organize the meetings and facilitate very complicated and geographically challenging and diverse travel logistics."

Lev Artsimovitch tokamak team at the Kurchatov in the late 60's.
© Kurchatov Centre, Moscow
In fusion too 1968 was a very exciting year. Ten years earlier, in the wake of the Atoms for Peace Conference, the veil of secrecy had been lifted from controlled fusion research. Scientists were now free to communicate, compare results and share their doubts and expectations. Every three years, the international "fusion community" would convene in a different city — in 1968, the Third International Conference on Plasma Physics and Controlled Nuclear Fusion Research, the so-called "Plasma Olympics", was to be held from August 1 to 7 in Akademgorodok, close to Novosibirsk, deep in the heart of Siberia.

"From a scientific point of view, it was a rather confused period", remembers Jean Jacquinot, former head of fusion research at French CEA, then a young physicist wrestling, like almost everyone else, with instabilities in the plasma. "Despite significant progress, pinch machines, stellarators, levitrons and superstators were still leaky or unstable, and plasma behaviour partly escaped our comprehension."

Russian tokamaks, a configuration suggested as early as 1951 by Andrei Sakharov and Igor Tamm, appeared to be faring much better. "Some preliminary results had been presented to the international community as early as 1965", remembers Valery Chuyanov, presently IO DDG for Fusion Science and Technology, who, at the time, was working on mirror machines at the Kurchatov Institute. Still, to all those present, young Jacquinot among them, Lev Arstimovitch's formal presentation at Akademgorodok, "came as a thunderclap": In T-3 and TM-3 tokamaks, the head of Soviet fusion research flatly announced, electron temperature of more than 10 million degrees had been attained and held in the plasma for 10 to 20 thousands of a second. This was considerably better than the Princeton stellarator had achieved, were plasmas had never been "hotter" than one million degrees, and confinement time never exceeded one thousandth of a second. Valery Chuyanov: "We were very careful not to overstate our results. Our figures were very cautious, lower than what our unsophisticated instruments had actually measured. In spite of these precautions, many people just could not believe what they were hearing." Jean Jacquinot has a "very vivid memory" of Mel Gottlieb, then the Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and Artsimovitch, engaged in a heated discussion. "Gottlieb was saying: 'This is not possible! You must have measured the temperature of runaway electrons... Just put a wire in the plasma, you'll kill the runaways and see the temperature drop.'..."

Think of CODAC (Control, Data Access and Communication) as "the glue" for the hundred-odd plant systems — magnets, blankets, tritium plant, cryostat, diagnostics etc. — which constitute the ITER machine. Or think of it as a conductor, orchestrating their feedback, dialogue and interaction and allowing their integrated operation. Anders Wallander, CODAC Group Leader, offers yet another definition: "Let's say it's a system which, from an operational point of view, integrates everything else and makes one entity of everything. It's a system of systems."

Every large scientific experiment, or for that matter any big industrial plant, relies on such an interface, which allows "computers to talk to each other" and provide a common language to scientists, engineers and technicians. In that respect, ITER will not be very different from JET, or the Very Large Telescope (VLT) which the Swedish-born control systems specialist "followed from beginning to end", working with ESO (European Southern Observatory) for 17 years in Munich, and for two years on site in the Chilean Andes, commissioning the instrument. "VLT was an international venture; there were procurement contracts and some of the technologies were very similar to ITER's. As far as data control and coordination are concerned, moving a telescope or controlling current in a tokamak magnet are the same..."

But before playing conductor to the 500-odd computers and million plus "signals" of the ITER machine, CODAC has to provide a "clear, standardized interface" enabling integration of the various components of the machine within every "plant", and of every "plant" within the machine.

"CODAC development re-started in 2006, as an individual initiative — it was just one man, Jo Lister, and we are deeply indebted to him. What he produced is a conceptual document, ideas, proposals... So what we are doing now is translating concept into technology. We're writing the handbook, applicable to all procurement arrangements."

The context has changed — "We've switched from writing conference papers to actually building the machine" — and work for Wallander's 8-men team, representing four out of the seven parties, sometimes feels like a race. "The issue is : It'll take time to define the standards, and in-kind procurements have already been sent out. So, for each procurement, we're putting in what we call 'hold points' — Stop here and wait for CODAC standards!"

The 2nd ITER International Summer School, devoted to the theme of "Confinement", was hosted by the University of Kyushu, Fukuoka, Japan under the leadership of Professor S-I Itoh. The Summer School, held from 22-26 July, was attended by 132 students and 15 lecturers from 10 countries, who listened to presentations by an international group of lecturers, participated in tutorial discussions with them and presented posters on their own research.

The school was opened by a lecture from ITER Director General Kaname Ikeda, who discussed the present status of the ITER Project and emphasized the importance of training a new generation of fusion scientists and engineers in order to ensure the effective exploitation of ITER and the realization of fusion's potential for contributing to the world's energy requirements. The ITER Council secretary Sachiko Ishizaka later gave a presentation on the opportunities for working at ITER and the kind of experiences scientists and engineers coming to work at Cadarache could expect.

The majority of the summer school lectures were concerned with key scientific and technical issues relating to confinement of plasma, energy and particles that influence the design and performance of fusion devices, in particular ITER. During the tutorial sessions, smaller groups of students had the opportunity for detailed discussions with the lecturers on topics such as plasma confinement, the ITER Project etc. These sessions turned into lively exchanges between the students and "tutors".

To encourage the preparation of good quality posters, the summer school organizers made a prize available for the best poster and this was awarded on the recommendation of an international panel of lecturers from the school chaired by Professor Friedrich Wagner, currently President of the European Physical Society. The selection of the winning poster turned out to be a fairly lengthy process, due to the high quality of the research reported and the excellent level of presentation which characterized the posters

Luigi Serio (R)
Luigi SerioLuigi Serio, Section Leader of the ITER Cryogenic System, has been awarded the "100 years of Liquid Helium Special Award" for the best paper concerning a 21st century major cryogenic project at the International Cryogenic Engineering Conference in Seoul, Korea. The paper's title is "Conceptual design of the cryogenic system for ITER" (Authors: L. Serio, D. Henry, V. Kalinin, M. Sanmarti, B.Sarkar).

Masayoshi Sugiharav
Remember INTOR? The INTernational TORus program, initiated by the Soviet Union, Euratom, Japan and the USA in 1978, was the first truly international attempt at demonstrating the feasibility of fusion energy.

The idea of INTOR was very close to that of ITER, remembers Masayoshi Sugihara. Without the human, scientific and technological experience acquired with INTOR, the ITER technical design would have been much more difficult to organize."

Sugihara, then a junior physicist at JAERI (Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute) had chosen fusion for "the excitement of fundamental plasma physics research" and for its significance in terms of energy potential. "I was a graduate student when we were hit by the first oil crisis. It was a turning point—at the time, Japan was importing 90% of its oil from the Middle East."

Following the 1985 Reagan-Gorbatchev summit in Geneva, INTOR was to give way to a broader and even more ambitious project: ITER was born and Sugihara, still at JAERI, joined the Conceptual Design Activities group, with regular work sessions in Garching and ended up living there for eight years during Engineering Design Activities with his family.

This situation though, presented him with an unexpected problem: there wasn't a decent aikido club in the area. "Aikido is essential to me. It is a way of communicating with others. It's much more than a mere sport—it's a philosophy of life, and for eight years, I had to interrupt my practice. By chance, I was very busy with my work and family..."

For Masayoshi Sugihara, a 5th dan aikidoka (the highest grade being 8th), one of the benefits of joining the IO last April was gaining access to the CEA-Cadarache Aikido club and to its 7th dan teacher—a former CEA research engineer who retired several years ago. "Aikido is about using the opponent's force to 'guide' an attack without opposing it. So, physical strength is not really an issue. You can be an aikidoka into very old age..."