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Actu & Médias


Of Interest

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Shaoqi Wang, Head of ITER Administration.
The past weeks and months have been a very busy time for the ITER Administration Department as we had to close the accounts for 2007 under the new budget structure, prepare the financial report for 2007 and at the same time finalize the three year budget plan including a revised 2008 budget.

In doing so, a major step was taken with the new budget tool: Cognos being now operational. Cognos is the first step of the new Management Information System called DIAMS that Admin will implement in 2008. The second step of DIAMS will be the establishment of the powerful and widely used SAP for all administrative tasks (accounting, human resources, in-cash procurement). Cognos and SAP (forming the DIAMS project) will help us to provide quarterly reports and by this providing more transparency and delivering timely information. Together with the Project Office we are currently discussing the necessary changes within the Project Resource Management Regulations. The outcome will be presented to the next ITER Management Advisory Committee (MAC).

In the Human Resources Division we are preparing the new staffing plan for IO while finalizing, like all the other departments, the resource estimates for Administration. Furthermore, we are currently formulating a proposal for changes within the Staff Regulations and we are defining rules and procedures for future Post Doc Fellows as a new category of ITER staff. We will also specify the status of the Visiting Researchers and of the Short Term Appointees. Regarding the recently established Staff Committee, we see it as our job to coordinate the activities between staff and the Director General in order to establish a good and sound relationship.

The Procurement and Contract Division is currently organizing calls for tenders, placing contracts and purchase orders, while finalizing the whole set of rules and procedures for contracts and preparing the In-Cash procurement plan in support of the various technical departments.

The logistics unit was literally on the move during the last few months carrying out the staff moving plan, meaning they had to organize the move to the 140 new offices in extension II. The next step will be preparing the move to the new Joint Work Site II including accessibility and transport, which will not give this unit much time to relax. The new JWS II will provide office space for 300 staff and is expected to become available by October this year.

As I am talking about all these tasks and challenges coming up, we are very happy to welcome as of today two new Division Heads for Finance (Hans Spoor) and for Contracts and Procurement (Fiona Digby-Grant) as well as two administrators for the Human Resources and Procurement Divisions. Currently, Administration comprises 30 staff members. By the end of 2009, a furtherr nine more staff will be in post.

We are fully aware that a smooth and efficient operation of Administration is needed to ensure good progress for the ITER project. Therefore we will continue to improve our services to the IO management as well as to all staff members. Our goal is to become a One-Stop Service Centre.

Norbert Holtkamp, ITER PDDG, built SNS on time and on budget.
For "his role in the construction and successful commissioning of the Spallation Neutron Source (SNS) on time and to budget, within the constraints of a multi-laboratory collaboration," ITER Principal Deputy Director-General Norbert Holtkamp was awarded this year's European Physical Society Accelerator Group Prize. The Selection Committee, under the chairmanship of Leonid Rivkin from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) met on 20 February 2008 and chose Norbert Holtkamp in the category of achievement for a recent, significant contribution in the accelerator field. The prize will be awarded during the EPAC'08 conference in Genoa this June.

What has been functioning in the sun from the beginning at just six million degrees Celsius requires great effort on Earth: To initiate nuclear fusion, the hydrogen plasma, the fusion fuel, must be heated to over 100 million °C. This is accomplished, for example, by injecting fast neutralized hydrogen particles into the plasma. The idea of this "Neutral Beam" is simple. "It is very similar to the steam injector of the household cappucino machine heating up the milk," the Plasma Scientist Jef Ongena from the German Research Facility in Jülich once described it. "It's all about the transfer of kinetic energy." But as usual, reality is not always as simple as theory. To enable the neutral particles to penetrate deep into the plasma, they have to be fast. In fact, as the ITER plasma is many times larger than in existing tokamaks, they have to be very fast!

In order to accelerate the hydrogen atoms to a kinetic energy of 1 mega electron volt, they first have to be made tangible to electric forces as charged particles — positive or negative ions. It has been exclusively positively charged particles that have been used up to now in the heating systems: electrons are removed from neutral hydrogen and the positive charged hydrogen ions are then accelerated by electric fields to the required energy. Before being injected into the fusion plasma, however, the ion beam must be neutralized because charged particles would be deflected by the magnetic field of the plasma cage: For this purpose the ions have to pass through a cell containing gas. Here the ions regain the missing electron from the gas and can be injected as fast neutrals into the plasma.

ITER now imposes new requirements on this proven method: for example, in the ITER machine, the particles have to be three to four times as fast as hitherto so that they can penetrate deep enough into the plasma. It is no longer possible to work with positively charged ions, as they are all the more difficult to neutralize the faster they are. At the velocities of 9000 kilometres per second needed for ITER, it is almost no longer possible.

For ITER, it is therefore necessary to change to negatively charged ions, which are easy to neutralize at high velocities. However, they are more difficult to create and to handle than positive ions: The additional electron, which is responsible for the negative charge of the particles, is only loosely bound and is accordingly readily lost.

The neutral beam system design for ITER consists at present of two Heating and Current Drive (H&CD) injectors and one Diagnostic Neutral Beam (DNB) injector. Each H&CD injector will deliver a deuterium beam of 16.5 MW (total 33 MW), with energy of 1MeV (in D-operation and 870 keV in H-operation and will be able to operate for long pulses up to 3000 seconds.

Two negative Ion-based injectors are currently operating in the world - on the JT60 Upgrade and the Large Helical Device (LHD), both in Japan. Compared to these systems, the Neutral Beam System required for ITER implies a major leap forward: Each H&CD injector will deliver a deuterium beam of 16.5 MW - which is a factor of four above the power output of the existing Negative Ion Sources - with an energy of 1MeV (compared to 350 keV in the currently operating devices). The biggest challenge, however, remains the required accelerating current of 40 Ampere. The acceleration currents reached in a test bed and in JT-60U so far were in the range between 0.02 A and 17.4 A.

Besides the quest to produce negative ions, operating at these high currents is constrained by the requirement of low divergence (0.03 degrees) and potential overheating of the acceleration grids. Therefore, a test facility is planned to be built in Padua to develop a prototype full 1 MV beam line.

Michael Gorbachev next to Evgenij Velikhov at the opening of the ITER photo exhibit in Moscow. Photo: GEIP
On 12th February 2008, in the ITAR-TASS News Agency in Moscow, the first photo exhibition of ITER organized by the Global Energy International Prize opened. The exhibition with the title "Global Energy Laureate: the ITER Project — solution of the energy problem of humanity" was devoted to the first ITER Council Meeting held in France.

The exhibition opened simultaneously at the embassies of the seven ITER Member States: EU and France, USA, China, Korea, Japan and India and also in the ITAR-TASS Windows — the "Okna ITAR-TASS".

Among the guests of the opening ceremony and briefing were the ambassadors of the ITER Parties, Evgenij Velikhov, the Global Energy Board of Trustees member and the President of the Russian Research Center "Kurchatov Institute", and Michael Gorbachev, also a Global Energy Board of Trustees member and former Russian President . "The main idea of the project can be expressed by the words of academician and project initiator E. Velikhov," Gorbatchev said in his opening speech. "The idea is to create an unexhaustible and environmentally safe energy source which would be affordable for all countries and not just the superpowers."

The US Embassy Chief of Mission, Daniel Russell, mentioned the leading role of ex-Presidents , Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan in the cooperation between the two major nuclear states. "The construction of a fusion reactor requires combined efforts of many countries. A conceptually new energy source is important for all people worldwide," Daniel Russell said. The Ambassador of France to the Russian Federation, Stanislas de Laboulaye, highlighted "the significance of the project that means a new, environmentally safe energy source which is of paramount importance to our planet."

There are not many occasions to have them all lined up for a group photo: Last weekend, the Senior Management of the ITER Organization, together with the Directors of Agence ITER France and Mission ITER, Francois Gauche and Colin Miege, came together in Cassis for a first off-site seminar. The outcome of this meeting will be covered in next week's issue of the ITER Newsline.

Experience with a full tungsten device The 2007 campaign with fully tungsten-coated plasma-facing components set a milestone in the ASDEX Upgrade program - "so now is the time to look a little ahead," says Arne Kallenbach from the IPP, Germany, in the latest Asdex Upgrade Newsletter.

Next generation reactor A leading member of the British atomic energy team involved in building the next generation reactor has urged Teesside engineers to get on board the program, which could bring millions of pounds to the local economy. Read The power to make millions.

Climate studies After 500 days of drift through the Arctic Ocean, following in the "footsteps"of Frietjof Nansen and his Fram, the schooner Tara is back in her home port Lorient. Prince Albert II of Monaco congratulated the crew to this "voyage that will remain written forever in history." The scientific expedition was realized in the context of the International Polar Year, its outcome will be shared by a consortium of 48 European laboratories. The Arctic region acts as a barometer of global environmental change. Like Nature's early warning system, it is a place where issues like climate change are registered first. Read here about the Tara expedition.

The Codes & Standards Meeting Attendees in front of the Château Cadarache.
The Quality Assurance Division of the ITER Organization hosted the 2008 3rd International meeting of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) at the ITER Cadarache Site during the week of February 25-28th. The first two days of discussions focussed on the nuclear industry needs for new reactor construction, existing codes and standards used today throughout the world and the need to simplify the use of these codes and standards within the nuclear industry.

During the final two days the ASME Nuclear Board Meeting took place with discussions with the ASME Board concerning the needs of ITER. During the four days of panel discussions the focus of the presenters was to inform, provide industry alternatives or possible way forward concepts that are currently being used in nuclear industry and that may be of help to the ITER organization providing possible solutions for areas such as the procurement/manufacturing phase leading up to the construction/assembly of ITER and its ultimate operation.

The meeting was attended by 78 people from all over the world including three members from each Domestic Agency apart from the US and EU.

Didier Pendaries, in charge of implementing SAP within ITER Administration.
Remember when you moved out of your parents place to live on your own? In the beginning you didn't have a lot of stuff (or space) but it didn't matter, you knew what to find where. But as time went by, you accumulated more stuff and at some point you even had to buy a cupboard and then another one to tidy your stuff away.

Well, it is about the same for any newly developing organization or enterprise: there is a moment when you need to put adequate systems in place to structure further growth.

At ITER, this is happening as we speak. The DIAMS (Dynamic ITER Administration Management System) Project which was initiated in late August, aims to implement tools to structure and facilitate administrative processes related to budgeting, finance, procurement and Human Resources.

Didier Pendaries, detached from the CEA where has worked since 1983, primarily in Information Systems, is the Project Leader for DIAMS. He is helping the ITER Organization integrate these tools. He will also make sure that managers get adequate training to use the tools.

Basically, the ITER Organization has had to chose two software packages, one for budget management and one for procurement, finance and HR, that link together ITER income and expenditure and facilitate reporting at every level.

The budget management tool, COGNOS, will be implemented in end of February to ensure the management of the global 2008 budget. SAP, the administration management tool, will be implemented from June onwards and will facilitate procurement, finance and HR (e.g. salaries, vacation days, mission trips, recruitment etc.) For the salaries (HR functionalities), SAP will be available in October.

The next challenge in this project is going to be user training. In the coming weeks, every department is going to have to appoint a person responsible for budget management on the Cognos system and in October, all ITER staff is going to have to be trained to use the HR portal. "Organizing extensive user training for such systems is key, because the implementation will only be successful if everybody uses it right from the start," says Didier.

Emeline Canessa in front of her two screens showing the boreholes and their content.
The big machines have arrived. Rock-crushers and huge scrapers dominate the scene, signaling that the ITER construction is well underway. For the Department of Civil Construction and Site Support (CCS), this clearly means all hands on deck.

But before it comes to pumping concrete into the ground, it is useful to get an idea of its geological composition and structure. 112 boreholes have already been sunk all over the ITER construction site between 1995 and 2007, making the map that Emeline Canessa has on her computer screen resemble Swiss cheese. The job of the 29 year old "Geomaticien" from Aix-en-Provence is to establish the tools for the Geographical Information System that connect the plans of the ITER site with the geological data and photos collected over the years. With just a mouse click on borehole number 13, the engineers and architects will not only get the analysis of its geological composition but also a visual impression of the bore cores down to depths of up to 60 metres.

Before Emeline joined the ITER project as temporary staff, she worked for the "Canal de Provence" setting up the Geographical Information System for the construction of the water supply from the Verdon River to Lac Saint Cassien. Water - water consumption in the Algerian desert, to be more precise - was also the topic of her Master's thesis — and will be the subject of her PhD thesis she plans to finish this year.

If you think that all this sounds time-consuming, talk to Emeline. In the near future, she wants to establish another helpful tool: a photo-documentation of the ITER construction linked to the various buildings. So, with one mouse click you would not only be able to look down into the deep, but also see the buildings — one by one - rising out of the ground. "It is so thrilling to be part of this," says Emeline, raising her eyebrows. "Growing up in Aix, I have heard all the expectations about the ITER project. To see it finally being realized and to get the chance to be part of it is exciting."

The ITER Network Administration Group has successfully set up the collaborative network between IO and the Domestic Agencies in the US, EU and Russia enabling shared services procedures within the CATIA design groups.