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Actu & Médias


Of Interest

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Norbert Holtkamp, ITER Project Construction Leader
These past two weeks the ITER project has taken some important steps forward. First, the members of the Interim ITER Council came together in Tokyo where they expressed their confidence in the ITER IO, and approved almost all agenda items. The Council has agreed to easier recruitment and tendering processes and it supported the request for more manpower to support the ongoing Design Review. The Council also took note of the expressed interest of Kazakhstan in joining the ITER project and, second, of the collaboration agreement with the IAEA and CERN. With the latter we will immediately initiate a work program in the areas of cryogenics, metrology and magnets. Strong support was expressed for the quick integration of the design review recommendations into the new ITER baseline with the boundary condition to maintain cost and schedule.

This month we also saw the opening of the European Domestic Agency "Fusion for Energy" in Barcelona, as well as the ratification of the ITER Agreement by the Russian Duma. With that, six out of the seven ITER parties have either approved or ratified the agreement and we now expect China to follow this summer. So, we are moving forward, step by step.

Besides these major institutional decisions in the Council to optimize the operation of the ITER Organization, a major step towards finalizing the design of the ITER machine was taken this week when experts of the seven ITER parties and the heads of the eight design review working groups met at the Château in Cadarache for the first Design Review Integration Meeting, which was organized by the IO. The aim of this four-day marathon was to bring to resolution all outstanding issues cards that were submitted inside and outside of the ITER Organization at the beginning of the design review. It also attempted to integrate scientific research that has been done over the past six years since the last definition of the ITER baseline design.

At the Château we saw some intense and constructive discussions about what we have and what we can do in order to meet the scientific goals of this unique experiment. Summarizing this first Integration Meeting I am convinced that we are on a converging process and that by the end of this year we will be able to formulate the technical baseline design for ITER. Pending final approval, some of the major proposals to be integrated are the more extensive testing of the large Toroidal and Poloidal Field coils as well as the need to include large control coils for the mitigation of instabilities during ITER operation. A second meeting of this type will be held in the middle of September to finalize the remaining proposed changes.

On Monday 23 July, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law ratifying the Agreement on the establishment of the ITER Organization, and the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the ITER Organization. The Russian Upper House of Parliament, the State Duma, had already approved the documents on Wednesday 27 June. The signature of President Putin concludes the full ratification of the ITER Agreement by Russia.

The second meeting of the Interim ITER Council (IIC) took place on 11 and 12 July in Tokyo, under the Chairmanship of Sir Christopher Llewellyn-Smith, CCE-EU Chairman (EU). The meeting came about half a year after the first meeting held immediately after the signature in Paris on 21 November 2006. At the outset of the meeting, the IIC noted the progress made by the signatories in ratifying the ITER Agreement. The process is almost complete and the Agreement is now expected to enter into force within the next few months.

Mr Kaname Ikeda and his principal deputy Mr Norbert Holtkamp reported on the ramp up of project activities, including the assembly of the project team at the Cadarache site, the review of the ITER design, the development and deployment of management tools to match ITER's unique project structure, the preparation of detailed specifications for procuring ITER components, and the start of engineering work at the site.

The IIC recognized the progress being made and gave direction on a number of specific points, including the plans and detailed staffing and cost estimates for the construction phase, specific aspects of the management system, and on proposed agreements on relations with French authorities and with other international organizations, the IAEA, and CERN. The IIC also endorsed a proposed partnership arrangement with the Principality of Monaco.

The Chairman summed up: "The progress reported and the constructive discussions that took place during the meeting bode well for the future. The important and unprecedented international ITER collaboration is now taking the first steps to fruition."

From 16-20 July, the first ITER Summer School on "Turbulent Transport in Fusion Plasmas" was opened at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques in Aix-en-Provence. The welcome speech was given by ITER Director General Nominee Kaname Ikeda. Assistant DDG David Campbell gave an introduction to ITER physics. In the sessions following in the course of the week, fusion experts and students from all over the world together explored the fascinating world of drift waves, ELMs and H-modes.

Participants to the Design Review meeting.
This week the ITER Parties' fusion experts gathered at the Château in Cadarache to take the next big step on the way towards building ITER: identifying what is still needed to finalize the baseline design of the world's biggest fusion experiment. In a four-day marathon the heads and representatives of the eight working groups together with the Team Leaders of the seven ITER Parties discussed potential revisions in the physical as well as the design requirements to meet the project's defined goals. This was necessary as since the last definition of the ITER baseline design in 2001, scientific experience and knowledge have improved substantially.

The meeting resulted in the proposal of 104 Design Change Requests (DCR) for the various components including improvements necessary for more advanced plasma performances and the required building space. These were considered and prioritized for study at the project Technical Coordination Meeting on 20 July. The aim of these studies will be to confirm the feasibility of the changes proposed and to evaluate costs, as well as to identify ways to offset any cost increases incurred.

In September, the committee will gather again to further discuss proposals before the main design details will be frozen in November.

Calculation of kink instabilities for ITER: Clearly visible are the currents induced by the deforming plasma (marked in purple) in the vessel wall, perforated with numerous ports. (picture courtesy IPP)
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Plasmaphysics (IPP), Germany, have examined possible ways to optimize future ITER discharges using a newly developed three-dimensional computer code called "Starwall".

First calculations showed that using active feedback stabilization, the ITER plasma could remain stable up to a plasma pressure that would be 50 per cent higher than it would have been without such stabilization. Experimental investigations in IPP's ASDEX Upgrade tokamak device are planned to further investigate the findings.

Read the IPP press release here.

Sitting next to Mr. Ikeda on the picture is Dr. Cheng Jinpei, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Science & Technology of China (MOST). Third from left is Prof. Luo Delong, Deputy Director General of the ITER China Office.
On 22 June, a Chinese delegation visited ITER with representatives of the Ministrie of Finance and the Ministrie of Science & Technology. The representatives met with top management of ITER, Agence ITER France, and CEA, paid a visit to the Tore Supra tokamak, and visited the ITER construction site.

Carlos Alejaldre, ITER Deputy Director General for Safety & Security at the ECRI conference.
In June this year, ITER Deputy Director General for Safety and Security, Carlos Alejaldre, explained the opportunities and the challenges which a global project like ITER comprises at the European Conference on Research Infrastructure held in Hamburg, Germany.

The conference summary stated that the ITER project is already serving as "a good example for a greater collaboration with global partners on infrastructure development."

The U.S. Burning Plasma Organization (US-BPO) coordinates the American efforts to support preparations for experiments on ITER. The BPO reports its activities through a newsletter that is posted on its website. Jim Van Dam, University of Texas, heads the US-BPO. Chuck Greenfield, of General Atomics, is the Deputy Director. Nermin Uckan (ORNL) is Assistant Director for ITER Liason. The BPO has 10 Topical Groups, each with its own Leader and Deputy Leader. The members of the US-BPO are heavily involved in ITER design issues. Persons wishing to be on the email mailing list for the BPO newsletters should contact ehooksmail.utexas.edu.

This section of the ITER Newsline is dedicated to ITER-relevant developments in industry around the world. If you have information on the production of a prototype, R&D work in industry, or other interesting material, please let us know.

On 17 July, the Governing Board of the European Domestic Agency (Fusion for Energy) chose Didier Gambier as its Director. Mr. Gambier has extensive knowledge of the fusion community, and he has been intimately involved in the ITER negotiations. He currently heads the Joint Development of Fusion unit of the Energy Directorate of DG Research, European Commission.

"I am honoured to have been appointed as the first Director of this important new European organization," said Dr. Gambier. "With the construction of ITER and the Broader Approach Agreement with Japan, we are entering an exciting new phase of fusion energy development and I am convinced that 'Fusion for Energy' will play a key role in helping maintain Europe's strong position in fusion and support to ITER."

Dr. Gambier started his scientific career at the French Commissariat á l'Energie Atomique (CEA) and was later seconded to the JET fusion project in the UK, after which he became a principal advisor to the Director of the ITER Engineering Design Activities in San Diego, USA. He subsequently became involved in the International Science and Technology Centre (ISTC) in Moscow and became its Executive Director in 2003, before taking on his current post in the European Commission in 2004. Dr. Gambier has played a leading role in the negotiations for the international ITER and Broader Approach Agreements and is responsible for managing the European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA).

At the same meeting, the Governing Board—the main body that supervises the activities of Fusion for Energy—also appointed Professor Carlos Varandas as its Chair and Professor Niek Lopes Cardozo as its Vice-Chair. Dr. Karl Tichmann was appointed as the Chair of the Executive Committee, a body which assists the Governing Board in a range of matters.

On 8 June, the ITER Organization has advertised 21 open positions. The job descriptions and instructions on how to apply can be found here. Deadline 31 July.

EU Commissioner for Research, Janez Potočnik, and Spanish Minister for Science and Education, Mercedes Cabrera Calvo-Sotelo, during the press conference.
On 28 June, the European Domestic Agency opened its doors in Barcelona, under the name "Fusion for Energy". European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Potočnik took part in the ceremony to inaugurate the headquarters of the new "European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy". It will work with industry and research organizations around Europe to provide the components needed to build ITER. About 35% of the parts that make up ITER will come from Europe, in the form of 'in-kind' contributions. The agency will have a budget of €4 billion for the first ten years.

'It is time for fusion to deliver. And this is now in your hands,' said Commissioner Potočnik, as he officially opened Fusion for Energy. He said that the new agency would allow the EU to contribute to ITER in a rapid, organized and effective way. 'By bringing together the knowledge and expertise needed for the construction of a demonstration fusion power plant, Fusion for Energy should become a centre of excellence that will allow Europe and its partners to benefit fully from fusion energy in the future,' he continued.

In addition to its role in procuring parts for ITER, the agency will provide the European contributions to the 'Broader Approach' agreement with Japan on collaborative fusion research projects. These include the engineering design activities for the International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (IFMIF), a joint initiative between the EU, Japan, the Russian Federation and the US.

Visit the new Fusion for Energy website here

On 5 July, the Union Cabinet of the Government of India, in a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Manmohan, formally sanctioned the funding for Indian participation in the ITER project. India will contribute a little over 9% of the ITER cost, mostly in the form of ITER components manufactured in India by Indian industries and delivered to ITER. At the same meeting, it was also decided to set up a Board formed by members of the Governing Council of the Institute for Plasma Research for its effective implementation, said Information and Broadcasting Minister P.R. Dasmunsi.

"India's joining ITER is a recognition of its scientific and technical capability in fusion energy. Considering India's large energy needs in future, our gaining technological capability in fusion energy will be of considerable long term benefit," Dasmunsi said. He added that India's participation in ITER would allow the country to "leapfrog in terms of our national technological capability in fusion energy."

Unveiling ceremony of the nameplate by Mr. Tadamori Oshima, a member of the Diet, schoolchildren of the Obuchi primary school, Mr. Toshio Okazaki, President of JAEA, and Mr. Pascal Garin, the Project Leader of the "Engineering Validation and Engineering Design Activities (EVEDA)" of the International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (IFMIF), which is part of the Broader Approach.
On 3 July, the "International Fusion Energy Research Centre" and the "Aomori Research and Development Centre" were officially opened in Rokkasho in the Aomori prefecture, Japan. The new facilities are to conduct fusion R&D towards ITER and the Broader Approach Agreement between Japan and Europe.

More than 200 guests participated in the ceremony, including Shingo Mimura, the Governor of Aomori Prefecture, Tadamori Oshima, member of the House of Diet and the First Counselor of the Delegation of the European Commission to Japan, Philippe de Taxis du Poet, who all stressed the great significance of the projects. Also present was Kenji Furukawa, the Mayor of Rokkasho village and many residents, among them 20 children from the local school.

In a congratulation telegram the French High Commissioner for Atomic Energy, Bernard Bigot, expressed his strongest support for ITER and the Broader Approach. "We have great hope in these two projects and will do our best, on our part, to make them a large success in order to reach as soon as possible our common goal: to offer the possibility of using fusion energy for the whole world."

The EFDA Industrial Database for ITER, a database for European industrial companies interested in participating in the ITER project, has reached 675 registered companies. The database, which is accessible through the EIDI website, was first launched in April 2006. It is maintained by the European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA), a cooperation between EU fusion research institutes and the European Commission.

Prof. Dr. Friedrich Wagner of the Max-Planck-Institute for Plasma Physics has won the Hannes Alfvén Prize of the European Physical Society. Prof. Wagner is the first German researcher to win the award, which recognizes his important contribution to research in the field of fusion energy. The prize was presented on 2 July, at the opening of the EPS Plasma Physics Conference in Warsaw, Poland. In 1982, Wagner discovered a plasma state he termed the "High-confinement Regime" or "H-Regime", a discovery which started a new era in plasma physics. The "H-Regime" enables the production of a significant amount of fusion energy and is of key importance to the functioning of ITER.

Read the IPP press release here.

Alstom Magnets and Superconductors of Belfort, France and Oxford Superconducting Technology of Carteret, NJ, USA have announced the creation of an alliance focused on winning supply contracts for niobium-tin superconducting strand for ITER.

Read the full story here.