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Left, a flabbergasted award winner: Rem Haange. Photo: Stephen Combs.
For his transformational technical leadership of international fusion experiments and lifetime dedication to furthering the development of fusion energy, ITER Deputy Director-General Rem Haange has received the 2011 Fusion Technology award. The award, comprising USD 3,000 in prize money and a plaque, was presented to Rem at the 24th Symposium on Fusion Engineering (SOFE) in Chicago last week.

In his presentation, chairman of the IEEE/NPSS Fusion Technology Committee Dennis Youchison (Sandia National Laboratories) noted Haange's "outstanding career and innovative technical leadership in service to the fusion technology community."

"I was truly flabbergasted when I was told about my nomination," Rem, as most people call him, told the audience at the award ceremony on Wednesday, 29 July in Chicago's Adler Planetarium. "I was 13 years old when I read an article about nuclear energy and then I decided not to become a soldier or a pilot, but a nuclear engineer."

Before he joined the ITER project in January this year, Rem had a long career in fusion. He worked at JET for more than 19 years, he led the ITER team in Naka, Japan for many years, and in his last position, he was technical director of the W7-X Stellarator project based in Greifswald, Germany.

Rem commented that apart from working in a fascinating engineering field at the forefront of several technologies, collaborating with engineers and physicists from all over the world continues to be a very pleasant aspect of working in fusion.

Former IEEE Fusion Technology Award recipients include René Raffray, head of the ITER Blanket Section and Brad Nelson from the US ITER Project Office in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.


SOFE stands for vigorous interaction and information exchange between scientists and engineers from all major programs around the world.
Fireworks over Lake Michigan formed a spectacular finale to the 24th Symposium on Fusion Energy (SOFE) that took place in Chicago last week. The guests attending the conference banquet at the grand Adler Planetarium situated on the lakefront had gathered on the terrace to watch the show. While the rockets made their way up into the midnight sky, a sense of transition was in the air ... a transition that could catapult fusion research into the era of fusion energy.

"The vitality of fusion programs worldwide very much depends on the cross-fertilization of ideas," conference organizer Charles Neumeyer, Head of the Electrical Design Branch at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, said in his opening address. And, indeed, there seems to be no lack of ideas: 536 papers were submitted by authors from 38 nations to this latest edition of SOFE, as well as more than 80 student papers. This is "the next generation of plasma physicists," said Neumeyer. 

For four days in a row, leading researchers from all of the world's fusion devices—including tokamaks, stellarators and lasers—presented the state of their art. As ITER now spearheads the world-spanning quest for fusion energy, it was up to ITER Deputy Director-General Rich Hawryluk to inaugurate the ball by reporting on the project's construction and manufacturing progress. More detailed reports on specific ITER design issues were presented during the course of the Symposium, attracting a good deal of interest.

On the evening of the opening day, it was less the technical issues of fusion development than the political ones that took centre stage. Over beer and chips, the fusion community discussed how to accelerate the development of fusion energy. "We have to quicken our pace, or the window of opportunity will close," warned Dale Meade, the spiritus rector of the Fusion Ignition Research Experiment (FIRE) and the host of what will make it into history books as the Town Hall Meeting. We have to take bolder steps or fusion will come too late!"

Among the speakers that evening was Ray Fonck, the former head of the US DOE Office of Fusion Energy Science. "The progress towards fusion energy is more resource-limited than knowledge-limited," Fonck proclaimed. "Within the present funding, fusion energy cannot be achieved. The decision to significantly increase funding to realize fusion energy will be driven by external events. The energy crisis has not yet hit this country, but it will come."

Jiangang Li, Professor at the Institute of Plasma Physics in Hefei and one of the leading fusion scientists in China, also spoke at the Town Hall Meeting and gave four highly attended talks during the SOFE week promoting a more courageous approach to fusion energy. And looking at the figures that Li projected onto the screens, a courageous approach indeed seems necessary...

Currently China is adding one new coal power plant to the grid every week. But this solution shall only feed the most urgent needs in terms of energy. "From now until 2050, the Chinese government plans to build 500 nuclear fission plants", Li stated. "Nuclear [fission] and renewables are strongly promoted in my country and we aim to cut our CO2 emissions by 40 percent by 2020." And so Li echoed Dale Meade's sentiment: "If we do not hurry, there will be no room for us!"

In China, politicians have reacted by doubling the domestic budget for fusion research and—in news that made it around the world—the government will finance the education of 2,000 young fusion scientists. Li is convinced that within the next 20 years an electricity-producing pilot plant can be built, an EDEMO reactor as he calls it. "We have enough knowledge to take the risk," Li stressed, reminding the audience that nothing was perfect. "But we have to speed up. I would like to be the first user of fusion energy!"

Another inspired speaker that night was Ned Sauthoff, Head of the US ITER Project office at Oak Ridge National Lab. "We have to treat fusion energy as real, with deliverables and schedules aimed at timely development, and not as a never ending research program" he said, encouraging the nations to take acceptable risks. "We have tended to avoid risks rather than manage risks. But we all know that we have to take prudent risks to make timely progress, and that one maximizes progress by a set of parallel tasks, most of which succeed but some of which teach us by outcomes that are not expected."

Having spent an evening discussing what bold steps to take to accelerate the pace of fusion development, two dozen jet-lagged SOFE attendees made their way to lakefront just after dawn the next morning to participate in a premiere: the first biennial "Run for Endless Energy," a 5K fun race along Chicago's waterfront.

Needless to say, the ITER team took up the challenge ...

A cross-section of the ITER toroidal field conductor in its austenitic stainless steel jacket (photo courtesy of P. Lee, Florida State University).
In June, a contract was signed for the jacketing of the Korean share of the ITER toroidal field conductor cable. The contract, signed between the Korean Domestic Agency (KO-DA) and the Italian Consortium for Applied Superconductivity (ICAS), is for the last step in the manufacturing of the toroidal field conductor before winding.

ICAS will fabricate the stainless steel jacket for the toroidal field cable. From 13 metre sections of stainless steel tube, ICAS will fabricate the 415 and 760 metre-long segments required for ITER's toroidal field conductor. Niobium-tin (Nb3Sn) superconducting cable supplied by KO-DA will be inserted into the tubes, and the two will be compacted together to form the circular cable-in-conduit conductor (CICC) for ITER toroidal field magnets. 

The contract is the first major instance of direct international cooperation between KO-DA and a non-Korean entity involved in the manufacturing of an ITER procurement item and further exemplifies the collaborative nature of the ITER Project. The contract between KO-DA and ICAS will cover all of the ITER toroidal field conductor allocated to KO-DA (1 x 760 m dummy conductor, 1 x 100 m superconducting conductor, 19 x 760 m superconducting conductors, and 8 x 415 m superconducting conductors) and is expected to last for three years.

The outer vessel of Wendelstein 7-X is equipped with a variety of ports. In blue, the five auxiliary coils provided by Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory will help the precise setting of the magnetic fields at the plasma edge. (Graphic: IPP)
The USA is investing over USD 7.5 million in the construction of the Wendelstein 7-X fusion device at Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Greifswald. In the three-year project, starting in 2011, scientists from the fusion institutes at Princeton, Oak Ridge and Los Alamos are contributing auxiliary magnetic coils, measuring instruments and planning of special sections of the wall cladding for equipping the German fusion device—one of a total of nine projects in the Innovative Approaches to Fusion program of the USA Department of Energy who will accordingly become a partner in the Wendelstein 7-X research program.

Click here to read the Press Release.

Assistant Legal Adviser Anna Tyler hands directors Pamela (Agence Iter France), Motojima (ITER Organization) and Mazière (CEA-Cadarache) the documents awaiting their signature.
Meetings of the Site Support Agreement (SSA) Liaison Committee provide the ITER Organization, Agence Iter France and the CEA with a precious opportunity to discuss pending issues, exchange information and, as happened on Friday 8 July, sign various agreements pertaining to the daily life of the project.

While the three neighbours and partners meet regularly to discuss on an informal basis, the SSA Liaison Committee had not convened since December 2010.

In his opening statement, Director-General Osamu Motojima renewed his appreciation for "all the services provided to ITER by CEA-Cadarache and Agence Iter France (AIF)" and brought his French counterparts up to date on the latest information pertaining to the ongoing assessment of the situation in Japan. Mr Motojima reaffirmed that his target was to limit any schedule slippage due to the damage suffered by the Japanese Domestic Agency's installations in Naka to one year.

On the French side, Jérôme Pamela, director of AIF, announced that a new managing director in charge of the ITER Itinerary had just been appointed. It will be Pierre-Marie Delpanque's mission to interface with all French authorities involved in the organization of the convoys.

The three directors also signed four different Agreements—one to make the ITER Headquarter worksite available to AIF; another to use FLS (the security services of CEA-Cadarache) on the ITER construction site; a third granting ITER the use of two buildings on the CEA site and a fourth consisting of a financial appendix to the Support Agreement.

A pioneer of fusion research who joined CEA at age 20 in 1959, Aymar led the ITER Project from 1993 to 2003 and was later appointed Director General of CERN.
It takes hundreds of scientists and engineers to build a project such as ITER. But in order to inspire and mobilize them, what is required first and foremost is a man with a vision.

For more than two decades French physicist Robert Aymar was that man.

A pioneer of fusion research who joined CEA at age 20 in 1959, Dr Aymar headed the Tore Supra superconducting tokamak project (CEA-Euratom) from conception in 1978 through to the start of operations in Cadarache in 1988.

"Why do you think I decided to build Tore Supra in this very corner of CEA-Cadarache thirty-three years ago?" he asked the audience in the Salle René Gravier. "It was because I knew that, one day, we would put ITER right next to it..."

The "Godfather of ITER," as Director-General Osamu Motojima introduced him, paid an impromptu visit to ITER last Wednesday and accepted Mr Motojima's invitation to encourage the ITER staff by sharing his vision and memories with them.

The moment was quite emotional, both for Aymar and for many in the audience who had worked under him, either during his mandate as director of ITER (1993—2003) or later when he was CERN Director General (Jan 2004—Dec 2008). "I see so many faces I know," he said. "I want to tell you that I feel close to you."

ITER as we know it is largely the brainchild of Robert Aymar. Between 1998 and 2001, as the US had temporarily left the project and the Soviet Union was collapsing, he steered the ITER teams in Munich and Naka through particularly rough seas. The man at the helm, however, remained confident: "By 2003, China and Korea having joined the project, we were in a position to show the world that fusion energy could become a reality."

Aymar had a lot to tell about the subsequent ITER history and about his own struggles with "bureaucrats of all countries." More important, he had a message to convey: "It is your personal responsibility," he said, "to dedicate your life and passion to this project. You are in charge! What you are doing is of utmost importance for the future of mankind. We need fusion. We need to succeed."
In the applause that followed there was more than the polite hand clapping that usually concludes conferences or presentations. There was warmth, gratitude and—above all—respect.

The investment in ITER, writes CEA Chairman Bernard Bigot in a recent column in the French economic daily _Io_Les Échos_Ix_, represents only 0.02% of the ITER Members' combined energy markets.
"Oui, ITER is a worthy challenge!" writes CEA Chairman Bernard Bigot in a column published last Wednesday, 6 July in the French economic daily Les Échos.

"For the first time in our history, the energy situation calls for a formidable effort to develop the innovative technologies that will be necessary to cover our needs," stresses the French physicist who is also the High Representative for ITER in France. "With 9 billion inhabitants on Earth in 2050, each one of us knows that in the next decades we must find a way to reduce the proportion of fossil fuels consumed."

In Bigot's view, renewable energies cannot, alone, fill the gap. "The energy mix of the future will necessarily include baseload electricity generation, complemented by renewable energy sources. A call for nuclear energy is inevitable to replace, in part, fossile resources."

While Fukushima has acted as a reminder of the inherent risks of nuclear energy if safety is not raised to an "absolute priority," mankind must now turn to "exploring the potential of fusion energy," argues Bigot.

And for an investment that represents only 0.02 percent of the Members' combined energy markets, ITER is the way to do it.

Click here to read Bernard Bigot's column in "Les Échos."


Hans Jahreiss, the new F4E Head of Administration.
Hans Jahreiss, a German national, took up his duties on 1 July as Head of Administration at the European Domestic Agency (Fusion for Energy, F4E), bringing onboard a wealth of experience in management obtained in European and international agencies. As Head of Administration he will be responsible for driving forward F4E's procurement policy and managing the organization's administrative workload ranging from human resources, budget and finance, IT, logistics, legal matters and business intelligence.

"I am really looking forward to returning to work in a technical environment and to support this organization in its important mission. Having previously worked at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, coming to F4E feels like coming full circle," said Jahreiss. "I am very pleased to be part of the F4E team and be entrusted with such responsibility. ITER is a major international scientific project, in which Europe has an important role to play," he added.

Prior to joining F4E, Hans Jahreiss was most recently the Administrative Director of Eurojust, the European Union's judicial cooperation body. Before that, he was the Head of Administration at the European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) in Garching and Santiago de Chile, CEO and Managing Director at GSF—Forschungszentrum für Umwelt und Gesundheit (the National Research Centre for Environment and Health), and Head of Administration, Finance & Accounting, Contracts and Procurement at the Max Planck Institute for Plasmaphysics in Garching, Berlin, and Greifswald.

From 1993 to 1995, he worked as a Legal Advisor to the Head of Personnel at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, in Geneva, Switzerland; prior to that, he was Head of Facility Management and Internal Auditor at the Max Planck Institute.

Hans Jahreiss holds a Doctorate in Law and Assessor Juris and has started an MBA. He also obtained a Certificate in Philosophy, a Certificat en Droit Comparé, a Pupillage with Barrister-at-Law, a Baccalaureate in Accounting and Economy, and qualified in the Special Programme in English Law.

In addition to his mother tongue, Hans Jahreiss speaks English, French and some Spanish.