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Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, 2 December, the final design review for the ITER Divertor will take place in Cadarache. The three-day meeting will be attended by about 50 experts from the ITER Organization, the Domestic Agencies concerned (EU, JA, RF) plus additional experts.The Panel will be chaired by Rene Raffray from the US. Prior to this meeting we talked to Mario Merola, Divertor Section Leader, about the goal of this review and the roadmap for the next months to come.

Newsline: Last year we went through a very comprehensive design review of the ITER machine as a whole. Why is this specific design review focusing on the divertor necessary?

Merola: Design reviews are an integral part of the systems engineering process. They are conducted to assess whether the proposed solution meets the design input requirements and whether the proposed solution is the most robust, efficient and effective solution to achieve the product requirements. With this specific design review we also want to assess the status of the design in terms of the completeness of the drawings and specifications. In particular, this final design review is mandatory for Quality Class 1 components like the divertor at the completion of the detailed design phase and before the signature of the Procurement Arrangement. It thus forms an important part of the ITER Quality Assurance Program.

What are the key issues of this design review? Are we talking about choice of material or design?

All the features that may have an impact on the divertor design will be reviewed. After an overview of the ITER divertor requirements and physics basis, the divertor design will be presented, including all the physical interfaces concerned and a description of how the divertor system is integrated into the machine. The design supporting analysis will also be assessed as well as the manufacturing issues. These are of particular importance since the divertor is one of the most technically-challenging components of the ITER machine. The remote handling, the assembly procedure as well as the proposed schedule are also key features and form part of the review.

There has been a proposal from Europe to implement an all-tungsten divertor right from the start of ITER operations? What is the status of this proposal?

As a result of the review by the Science and Technology Advisory Committee (STAC) of the 2007 ITER Baseline design, the Topical Working Group (TWG) 07 "Divertor Armour Strategy" was established in November 2007. This Group included experts from the ITER Organization, and from the EU, RF, JA, US, CN and KO Domestic Agencies. The conclusions were reported at the STAC meeting of May 2008. It was identified that operation with a Carbon Fibre-reinforced Carbon composite (CFC) target has advantages for the start of ITER operation given its proven range of compatibility with a number of plasma conditions in present devices, particularly at low densities with significant additional heating. CFC also promises to make the development of techniques for ELM control and disruption mitigation easier by taking advantage of the larger tolerance of the plasma to carbon as opposed to tungsten and its absence of melting. A decision taken now to implement a full-tungsten divertor at start of operation would lead to a significant delay in the project, mainly due to the need to develop and qualify the high heat flux technologies required. Furthermore it would necessarily assume that the related physics R&D, planned for the period until 2013, is successful.

As a consequence, the TWG-07 recommended not to implement a divertor with full-tungsten armour at the start of operations but proposed to support the physics and technology R&D required to qualify the use of tungsten in the divertor starting from the second set of plasma-facing components and almost certainly in advance of DT operation. STAC agreed with the IO recommendation.

Which parties are participating in the divertor design and manufacturing?

The procurement sharing foresees the Inner and Outer Vertical Targets being procured by the EU and Japan respectively. However, the related performance tests during construction will be carried out by the Russian Domestic Agency, which will also procure the Dome. All three divertor plasma-facing components have to be shipped to Europe, to be assembled onto the cassette body, also procured by EU, prior to the final shipment to the ITER site. This complex sharing will bring additional challenges to the technical ones, but I am confident that we will cope with them.

When is the Procurement Arrangement foreseen to be signed?

The PAs for the divertor Plasma-Facing Components will be ready to be signed in February 2009, and for the Cassette Body in July 2009. We have already had several iterations with the DAs concerned and I cannot identify any showstoppers. As a consequence, I hope that the DAs will sign the PAs soon after we do.

Let me entertain you: Neil Calder, Head of ITER Communications, demonstrating the entertaining side of magnetism to the CERN delegation.
Last week saw the third meeting of the CERN-ITER Steering Committee. The committee was set up within the scope of the Cooperation Agreement between the two Organizations with the aim of sharing knowledge and information on technologies such as superconductivity, magnet coils and cryogenics.

Since its implementation in 2006 the collaboration has assisted the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies on various projects such as preparing technical specifications for the Procurement Arrangements for ITER's Toroidal Field Coils, conducting the tests for the Poloidal Field Insert Coil in Naka, Japan and the development of High Temperature Superconductor Current Leads together with the Chinese Domestic Agency.

"Looking back, the year 2008 has been very successful, summarized Arnaud Devred, Section Leader for the Superconductor Systems & Auxiliaries and together with Neil Mitchell, Head of the Magnet Division, the ITER representatives on the Steering Committee. "Six out of seven tasks defined last year have been completed. All except instrumentation were finished."

One example that proves that this cooperation is more than a paper agreement is the fact that CERN staff witnessed the PF insert tests in Naka, explains Neil Mitchell. "Experts from CERN assisted us to define the requirements and finally run the tests in the Japanese test facility."

"Working for fusion is not within our mandate, although links always existed between fusion and high-energy physics, and the LHC benefitted from Tore Supra's experience 20 years ago", explains Philippe Lebrun, Head of the Accelerator Technology Department in CERN. "But this cooperation is about transferring and sharing technology. CERN is a model for International Cooperation and we do have some experience in how to share technology and development across the globe. We do not have to invent the wheel twice."

Professor Dr. Friedrich Wagner from Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics (IPP), Greifswald Branch, has been awarded the Stern-Gerlach Medal 2009 by the German Physical Society (DPG) for his work in high-temperature physics and fusion research. This prestigious award for achievements in experimental physics honours, in particular, his discovery of self-organised transport barriers as a milestone on the way to producing fusion plasmas. The medal is to be presented this coming year at the annual conference of the DPG.

"We must take the right decisions now," says Iain Conn, BP Chief Executive responsible for Refining and Marketing. "The world is not running out of hydrocarbons, but the global oil market, for example, is a lot tighter than it was 15 to 20 years ago [...] There is an urgent requirement for investment into new capacity and the IEA estimates $22 trillion of new investment in energy is required by 2030."

Sébastien Davière, the engineer in charge of construction, expects the park to be completed by March, 2009.
Five kilometres south of Vinon-sur-Verdon, the familiar landscape of rolling hills, ploughed fields and pastures suddenly changes into a science-fiction scene. Hundreds upon hundreds of aluminium frames, facing upward, seem to be waiting for a message from outer space.

The message will come soon and it will be in the form of energy — once the frames are all fitted with solar panels, which should be done by 1 March, 2009, the 10.4 hectares park will start feeding electricity into the nearby high voltage power grid.

What Solaire-Direct is building here is France's largest photovoltaic park. The company, founded two years ago, wanted the place to be a "showcase" for their expertise, spectacular and visible from afar. They've definitely succeeded in this...

"Generating 4.2 MW, which will amount to an input of 9 GWh per year into the national grid, is not trivial," says Thierry Lepercq, Solaire-Direct's president. "It is enough to meet the needs of 4,000 households, the equivalent of the village of Vinon."

Of course, the electricity produced by the 18,860 solar panels will not go directly into the Vinonnais's appliances. Regulations require EDF, the French utility, to buy all privately-produced electricity before feeding it into the grid.

"The system holds because the economic model is a bit artificial," acknowledges Claude Cheilan, Vinon's newly-elected mayor. "For the next 20 years, EDF will buy the electricity produced by this park at three times the market price..."

Solaire-Direct, who has invested 18 million euros in the venture, expects a return on investment in 15 to 20 years. But Vinon's photovoltaic park is not only about business. Says Thierry Lepercq: "We will be paying the Manosque Communauté de communes, to which Vinon belongs, some 60 to 70,000 € per year in professional tax. We have decided to match half that sum and give it to the village to promote local initiatives in the field of renewable energies."

As for the farmer who signed a 40 year lease with Solaire-Direct, he'll soon be able to bring his sheep back to their familiar pasture: all 10.4 hectares will be seeded and planted with native grass and forbs. "It will grow fast," says Sébastien Davière, the engineer in charge of construction. "Then the place will become much less oppressive..."

When winter weather hits, even the most skilled driver can get into trouble. Here are some tips to help you avoid accidents:

Maintain clear visibility- clear all ice and snow from windows, mirrors and wipers to make sure you can see clearly in all directions. Make sure head and rearlights are clean too.

Prevent slippage - remove ice and snow from shoes and boots to prevent pedal slippage.

Slow down - driving too fast for conditions contributes to many winter weather accidents. Don't follow the vehicle in front of you too closely.

Avoid harsh actions - any quick force input to the tyres, including quick acceleration, hard breaking or steering, can contribute to skids. Steer, brake and accelerate slowly.

Avoid distractions - pay attention to road conditions and other vehicles.

Winter tyres - are your tyres the right ones for winter driving? If you are like most vehicle owners, you probably have "all-season" tyres on your vehicle. While they are designed to handle most driving conditions, they may not be suitable in heavy snow. All-season tyres can begin to lose their grip when the temperature drops below -10° C. Winter tyres are made for cold and snowy conditions.

Fusion works!!! Should you ever have had any doubt about it, here is yet another proof: last Friday, Shiori Hasegawa (Admin Division) and her husband Barry Prescott (Project Office) had a beautiful baby girl, called Leyna Prescott. Leyna, weighing 3.3 kg, was born at 07h10 in the morning in Aix Hospital. The ITER team wishes both mother and baby all the best!

Corrigendum:

Last week we happily announced the birth of little Miroslav Encheva and announced the little boy being the first ITER baby. We were told that this is not correct. On 4 August this year, Olivier Jean, ITER planning officer, became the father of a son called Loann. Then, on 10 September, Olivier Guerin's wife gave birth to twins who they named Nikolaï and Dimitrï.

We apologize for not taking proper account of these fusion reactions and herewith send a warm welcome all new team members.