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Rumbling and pounding

Heavy gear will dominate the ITER site from now on. (Click to view larger version...)
Heavy gear will dominate the ITER site from now on.
In charge of ITER construction: Jerry Sovka (Click to view larger version...)
In charge of ITER construction: Jerry Sovka
Heavy machines rumbling, rock-crushers snarling, jack-hammers pounding, chain-saws whining: the distinctive sounds of organized chaos! The ITER Project construction is well underway. The site clearing work for the platform that will hold the office buildings is completed and the contractor areas are being leveled and compacted for the temporary construction facilities. By the end of March, 400 workers will be busy with the planned site preparations: electric power, water supply, storm drains, fencing and the construction of the offices for the new Joint Work Site. Platform leveling civil works, contracted with the Valerian joint venture, are to start this month. Geotechnical investigations are underway to confirm the soil and rock characteristics, to determine how to best use the two million cubic meters that are planned to be leveled.

Also last week, as part of the construction approval process, updated documentation for the "Permit de Construire", the official request to the French authorities to allow the construction of ITER, was signed by Director General Kaname Ikeda and submitted to the Mayor's office of St. Paul-Lez-Durance.

In addition, last Friday, 1 February 2008, the tender process for the Pre-Architect/Engineer Contract has moved another step forward with a "Call for Tender" to the four joint venture companies that qualified to participate in the preliminary engineering. Heavy gear dominates the ITER site from now on. During the selection process, some thirty European engineering consulting and/or construction management companies were invited to express their interest, fifteen responded and the selection criteria produced the short-list. The contracts are planned t be awarded in April this year. As these construction-related activities are progressing on schedule, means of course, "good news" for the project. However, the "bad news" is that all systems designs plus the buildings and site layout must now be frozen so that the contractor can execute his part of the engineering quickly, efficiently and economically. Some philosopher once said: "There is no rest for the wicked...."?

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