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How do you work collaboratively on the design of a one million-part machine? The Enovia database sharing system will allow seven Domestic Agencies and the ITER Organization to work as an integrated design office.
Monday evening, Gandhinagar, India. Using CAD (Computer-Aided Design) tools, Indian designers working on the in-wall shielding of the ITER vacuum vessel finish a series of modifications and save them to the database before leaving the office. Tuesday morning, Cadarache, France. Designers at the ITER Organization have an updated version of the in-wall shielding file, and can address any design issues that the Indian changes raise for the surrounding components.

A collaborative design tool for the ITER collaboration—the Enovia Replication System currently being rolled out to all Domestic Agencies will make the design process at ITER simpler and more efficient. It is capable of moving a huge amount of data to very remote locations, providing designers in the Domestic Agencies with a sychronized copy of the CAD database housed at Cadarache.

"A large number of schedule-critical components urgently require CAD database sharing," stresses Eric Martin, Design Office Head. "The design on these components and their many interfaces is still evolving. We lack the resources at the ITER Organization and need help from the Domestic Agencies. We are doing everything we can to encourage and support the Domestic Agencies in implementing Enovia."

The status of the project was presented at this month's ITER Organization-Domestic Agency Coordination Meeting (8-10 February) in Cadarache. The system is now up and running in five of the seven Domestic Agencies, and the last hurdles are being worked out to complete roll out by summer. Since late 2008, the pilot project at the US Domestic Agency, the ITER Design Office, IT specialists and the other agencies have worked together to overcome licensing issues, networking problems, hardware delays, confidentiality, and customs ... to name only a few.

In a second phase of the project, key suppliers and R&D laboratories working for the Domestic Agencies will also be connected to the system, when required in the context of design work they have contracted to do for ITER.

"Database sharing will be a powerful tool for ITER," says Eric Thomas, CAD Collaboration Coordinator. "It will permit us to manage over one million individual parts divided into 100,000 work packages, and work as an integrated design office—something that, up to now, we haven't been able to do. The replication system will simplify our work, and shorten the design cycle."

Within the next six months, real-time design work will be reality from eight spots on the globe. CAD designers working on the ITER Project will have the same tools, whether in Barcelona, Beijing, Moscow, Naka, Daejeon, Oak Ridge, Gandhinagar or Cadarache.

See related story

The ITER family saying goodbye to a long-time companion: Luo Delong (China), Kijung Jung (Korea), Anatoli Krasilnikov (Russia), Norbert Holtkamp (ITER, Didier Gambier, Kaname Ikeda (ITER) , Hideyuki Takatsu (Japan) and Ned Sauthoff (USA).
Like the members of any ordinary family, they had argued and finally agreed again. Nevertheless, at this week's ITER Organization-Domestic Agency meeting it was time to say goodbye to Didier Gambier, the outgoing Director of the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy. On 11 January, the Governing Board of Fusion for Energy had appointed Frank Briscoe as Director ad interim.

ITER Principal Deputy Director-General Norbert Holtkamp thanked Didier Gambier for his contribution to the ITER Project on behalf of the ITER Organization and all the Heads of Domestic Agencies participating in the meeting. Gambier in return wished the panel "a lot of strength and good luck" for the future.

Didier Gambier is one of the founding fathers of the ITER Organization. The physicist started his career at the CEA and then moved on to JET, where he became advisor to the then Director Paul-Henry Rebut, before both moved on to San Diego. After having spent almost ten years in Moscow working for the International Science and Technology Center (ISTC), Gambier returned to Brussels to finalize the negotiations for the ITER Agreement on behalf of the Europe Union and to set up the ITER Organization and the European Domestic Agency in Barcelona, of which he became Director in July 2007.

Didier Gambier will take up a new position with the European Commission in Brussels.

Claude Azzam, Head of the Defence, Security and Economic Intelligence Service; Edwige Bonnevie, CEA's Director of Security; and Carlos Alejaldre, ITER Deputy Director-General, Safety & Security Department.
On Thursday, 11 February, a delegation of French officials visited the ITER site. The delegation comprised officials from the Defence, Security and Economic Intelligence Service (SDIE), the Defence and National Security Secretariat, and CEA Security services.

The SDIE's responsibility is to elaborate and implement security policies regarding the protection of nuclear installations and the transport of nuclear matter.

"ITER is quite a unique case for us," explained Claude Azzam, the head of SDIE. "It is an international organization that will observe French regulations as far as nuclear safety and security are concerned. We therefore have to develop specific methods and procedures to implement these regulations."

The visit, which included a meeting with Carlos Alejaldre and the ITER Safety & Security Department, provided SDIE with an opportunity to present the specific aspects of these regulations to the ITER senior management.

Communication requires tools. But more important, it requires a spirit. And the more this spirit is shared within the Organization, the more ITER Communication will be efficient.
When Neil Calder talks about communication, he "sees euro signs in front of his eyes." He doesn't mean, of course, that communication is a fast and easy way to become rich. He means that what communication should aim for, first and foremost, is engendering support from the people and institutions that matter most to the Organization: the stakeholders and the Members' decision makers who provide funding for the project.

But before "communicating," explained ITER Head of Communication at the 7th Inside ITER seminar, on Friday 12 February, one "has to have a clear idea of what [one is] here for." In ITER's case, it is as simple as it is grand: we are here "to realize an environmentally friendly energy source for humanity."

And this is a great chance for all of us, whether "communicators" or not: environment and energy—along with "Big Science"—are among the public's strongest centres of interest.

Reaching the stakeholders; reaching the general public, whether local or global; building an international fusion community; communicating the "core values" of the organization and sharing the excitement of a unique science project, this is what ITER Communication is about.

Implementing these goals require different tools and ITER Communication has developed several over the past year and a half. But more important, it requires a spirit. And the more this spirit is shared within the Organization, the more ITER Communication will be efficient, far-reaching and ... fun.

Alexandra and Lama Arthur Yongden, whom she met in 1914 and was later to adopt. © Archives Fondation Alexandra David-Néel—Ville de Digne-les-Bains
On the eve of her 100th birthday, Alexandra David-Néel (1868-1969) sent her secretary to the Préfecture in Digne to have her passport renewed. The old lady missed Tibet, and more than 50 years after her first journey there she planned to go back—even if it meant driving all the way in her small Renault 4CV.

In 1928, she had purchased a house in Digne that she named Samten Dzong, the Fortress of Meditation. This is the place she would briefly come back to and rest between her long journeys to the far reaches of the Himalayas. Why Digne? The mountains around the somnolent little town reminded her of Tibet, where she had lived as a hermit, witnessed prodigies and received the teachings of the high lamas of the kingdom.

How this daughter of a petit bourgeois family became the first western woman to enter Lhasa—the forbidden capital of Tibet—is a most extraordinary story.

Alexandra was a restless child. She would seize any occasion to run away and explore the world around her. At five she was found alone, at nightfall, in Paris Bois de Vincennes; at 15 she ran away to London, where she became acquainted with Buddhist philosophy through the famed Theosophical Society; at 22, a small inheritance enabled her to take a year-and-a-half long trip to Ceylon and India; at 43, she left Europe for good and headed off on a lifetime voyage to Tibet.

The India and Ceylon experience had been a revelation to her: on that far-away continent Alexandra had found a spiritual home, a physical and mystical world that she would relentlessly explore for the following eight decades.

From the early 1900s until 1946, she penetrated deeper and deeper into the mysterious Himalayan kingdoms, sometimes dressed as a beggar or a pilgrim accompanied by a young lama she had adopted, seeking wisdom through study, asceticism and meditation.

Back in Digne, where she settled permanently at 78, she devoted her time to writing. Alexandra David-Néel authored some 25 books narrating her travels, exploring Buddhist philosophy and Tibetan language, and sometimes making incursions into the magic and the occult.

The best part of her literary work, however, is her correspondence with her husband Philippe Néel—a railway engineer she married in 1904 and remained very close to, despite her almost constant absence.

Alexandra's spirit still lingers in Samten Dzong, where most of her sparse belongings have been preserved by her faithful secretary Marie-Madeleine: notebooks, cameras—she was an excellent photographer—photo albums, the small camping table on which she wrote ...

The house is now a museum and Tibetan cultural centre—a small fragment of the High Kingdom at the foot of what Alexandra called the "Lilliputian Himalayas."

Roberto is an accelerator man with 22 years of experience in high vacuum. "From a vacuum point of view," he says, "ITER is the place where a scientist wants to work."
To most people, the vacuum in the ITER chamber is extremely high. To Roberto Kersevan, who joined ITER last July as a vacuum design engineer, it is much lower than the ones he has worked with for the past 22 years.

Roberto is an accelerator man; he comes from a world in which vacuums are roughly 100,000 times higher than in a tokamak.

The ITER environment, however, is more challenging. "We have to deal with different flow regimes," explains Roberto, "and because of the size of the chamber, we need an enormous pumping speed, tens of times higher than that of a large accelerator. And of course, the nuclear environment in ITER is much harsher ..."

This challenge is precisely what drove Roberto to ITER. His career in vacuum had taken him from the now defunct US Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) to the Cornell Electron-positron Storage Ring (CESR) and finally to the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, where he headed the 16-person vacuum group.

It is not frequent for a veteran engineer to "step down" from being group leader and to take a job as a "mere" vacuum design engineer. "I wouldn't have done it for another accelerator," says Roberto. "ITER is different. From a vacuum point of view, it is the place where a scientist wants to work."

Last summer Roberto devoted his first month here "to acquiring the culture of the project," something, he admits, that was "...quite difficult, because it is completely different from that at the installations where [he] previously worked."

Names, "acronym-speak," and technical interactions between the different sections and departments were especially challenging.

Besides his contribution to the design of ITER's vacuum system, Roberto brings a new language to the project, adding to the thirty-odd languages that are already spoken within ITER. "My mother tongue and what I still speak with my wife, at home, is the dialect from the Italian city of Monfalcone, in the Friul region, where I was born. Actually, I can easily revert to the dialect when a discussion gets heated, or when I am angry."


View of the cool underworld of Wendelstein 7-X: More than a kilometre of piping of diverse diametres was installed for the cooling system (photo: IPP, Anja Richter Ullmann).
A function test now marks successful completion of the water cooling system for the Wendelstein 7-X fusion device at the Greifswald branch of Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP). After tendering from all over Europe, the EUR 4.8 million large-scale contract for the complex system comprising numerous pumps, pipelines, fittings, heat exchangers and filters was awarded to a company in Greifswald.

Read more....

Mikaël Doré, Sous-Préfet of Forcalquier (second from right), visited the ITER site on 12 February. Thierry Brosseron from Agence Iter France and Neil Calder from the ITER Organization explained the next steps in the development of the project both on the site and in the Domestic Agencies. Guy Brunel, Head of Communication at CEA Cadarache, accompanied M. Doré.