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Actu & Médias


Of Interest

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Valery Chuyanov
ITER Deputy Director General.
The first meeting of the International Tokamak Physics Activity (ITPA) Coordinating Committee (CC) since its incorporation under the auspices of ITER took place in Aix-en-Provence on 30 June and 1 July (see also article to the left). The gathering of over 40 fusion experts, which was made up of senior fusion physicists from the ITER Members, the retiring Chairs and Co-Chairs of the ITPA Topical Groups, and the new appointees taking over from them, reviewed the work of the Groups over the last year and discussed the priorities for their research programmes in the next few years.

The meeting was opened by ITER Director General, Kaname Ikeda, who brought the CC up to date on the status of the ITER Project and thanked the outgoing Topical Group Chairs and Co-Chairs, who had served in these positions for periods of up to 9 years, for their important contributions to the development of the physics basis for ITER. The DG also presented the Chairs and Co-Chairs with a framed photograph of the ITER construction site in recognition of the role which they had played in co-ordinating international fusion research in support of ITER.

The CC, led by Chair Ron Stambaugh of the US, spent the first day reviewing the Topical Groups' reports on their research activities during the past year. The high quality of the research reported in these presentations makes them a highlight of the CC meetings — and an excellent opportunity to stay abreast of cutting edge research in fusion physics. The first day was rounded off by reports from the Participants' Contact Persons on major developments in their fusion research programmes in the coming year.

The second morning was devoted to a detailed discussion of major physics aspects of the ITER Design Review, the current status of the ITER Research Plan and ITER's high priority needs in physics research. This allowed an extensive exchange of ideas among the community experts and IO staff on how the ITPA could best contribute to ITER Physics R&D. A final session was devoted to formal aspects of the activity, including the provision of guidance to the Topical Groups on how they should develop their research programmes in response to the high priority needs identified by the IO.

The International Tokamak Physics Activity (ITPA), a framework for internationally-coordinated fusion research activities, has been invited to operate under the auspices of ITER. Since its inception in July 2001, the ITPA has been operating under the auspices of the International Fusion Research Council of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The ITPA continues the tokamak physics R&D activities that have been conducted on an international level for many years resulting in the achievement of a broad physics basis essential for the ITER design and useful for all fusion programs and for progress toward fusion energy generally.

ITER will develop into the major research facility within the International fusion program as well as the key step in demonstrating the scientific feasibility of fusion energy production. To ensure the scientific success of the project and to exploit ITER's potential as a major international scientific research facility, "it is essential to provide the instruments required to address the project's major scientific needs and to develop a scientific community around the project in preparation for the operation and exploitation phases," a sentiment endorsed by the ITER Council.

The Participants in the ITPA are the Members of ITER. The organizational structure consists of one Coordinating Committee and seven Topical Physics Groups as defined in its new Charter. The ITPA Coordinating Committee is composed of three representatives from each Participant and the ITER Organization — the ITER representatives are Valery Chuyanov, David Campbell and Michiya Shimada of ITER Fusion Science & Technology Department.

Last week, the new Coordination Committee met for the fist time in Aix-en-Provence. "This meeting marks a transition, with the ITPA operating under the auspices of ITER to provide a framework for internationally-coordinated research," Ron Stambaugh, Chairman of the Coordination Committee, said.

The ITPA will provide support to ITER in the fulfillment of its mission by helping to create and coordinate a common international research programme and — as ITER is the only burning plasma experiment on the horizon — to advance the physics basis for burning plasma operation in ITER. Each ITPA Topical Groups will therefore be putting together an R&D program in its own areas of expertise which addresses key issues that need to be resolved in developing the ITER scientific program. Integration of experimental results from the international tokamak program will be essential, as will the development of validated models of burning plasma behaviour.

A possible solution for the implementation of stainless steel liners when the equipment is on floor or wall.
On 27 June, the ITER Hot Cell was the focus of a meeting in Cadarache with the remote participation of the European ITER Domestic Agency " Fusion for Energy" and Agence ITER France. The objective of the meeting was to share the International feedback on stainless steel liners and resins liners in nuclear facilities, to assess the requirements to be met by the ITER Hot Cell Facility, to assess the feasibility of implementation of liners (stainless steel or resin) and to present a first estimation of options including cost.

The ITER Hot Cell Facility is a very unique combination of tritium irradiated materials and dust, with components of enormous sizes to be refurbished or discharged. Today it is current practice for hot cells to implement stainless steel liners in order to increase the leak tightness, and thus to improve safety during operations, and to reduce the amount of waste during the dismantling phase. An alternative discussed could be epoxy resin liner.

This meeting was a first action within the new Hot Cell Facility work plan developed after the last meeting of the Science and Technology Advisory Committee (STAC). Its results will contribute also to the value engineering due to begin in September.

"Both, meeting and discussion, were fruitful," Magali Benchikhoune, Section Leader of the ITER Hot Cell, summarized. "The components' weight and equipment as well as their technical feasibility seem adequate for the anchorages and penetration. Regarding confinement issues, a concept developed at La Hague (see related article in this issue) seems promising."

Stella Mirai, today...
In its November, 1994 issue, the ITER EDA Newsletter issued by the IAEA in Vienna featured the birth of Stella Mirai, daughter of Enrica Rigoni and Ivone Benfatto. At that time, Ivone was working in Naka, Japan. That alone would not make a story. But the fact that Stella Mirai, Mirai meaning "beautiful flower bud", and her sister and brother are what we call fusion kids, children that where born and that grew up in various parts of the world depending on their father's changing engagements within the International Fusion Committee, is something special.

Gida Sheila, the elder daughter of the Benfatto family, was born in the UK when Ivone and his wife moved to Culham where Ivone worked as associated staff for JET. In December 1993 the couple moved to Naka and in June 1994 Enrica gave birth to Stella Mirai. A few years later they moved houses in Naka — and soon after son Elia Taro was born.

So, whenever Ivone and his wife moved to another country or just into a new house up the street, another child was born. Therefore it was somewhat of a high risk to leave Japan and to move to Garching. But taking risks is Ivone's profession: "I am a fusion scientist. If there is a problem, I solve it!"

A few weeks ago, on 12 June, Stella became 14 years old. If you want to read what Stella herself thinks about her changing life with and around ITER, click here...

© Agence Iter France
The new temporary office building is visibly taking shape. The three-floor building that will soon house the offices of 300 ITER staff measures 5700 square meters. The building is due to be handed over by Agence Iter France in autumn this year.

A unique representation of the Roman ruler, carved a couple of years before his assassination.
On Wednesday, last week, Julius Caesar came to CEA-Cadarache for a medical scan. The Roman ruler — his marble bust actually — had lain buried deep in the Rhone River silt for just over 2000 years and archaeologists were eager to determine its condition. The Laboratoire de Mesures Nucleaires (LMN) was the place to come to, and Laurent Sauvage and his colleagues, the physicians, or rather the physicists to consult.

Caesar's bust, along with several other statues and artifacts, had been brought to light last October, in Arles, by a team of underwater archaeologists led by veteran chief curator and diver Luc Long. Most of their harvest had been exceptional, but Caesar's bust was unique: it is the only one of two surviving representations of the ruler, made while he was still alive. The work of art is strikingly realistic — wrinkles, expression, prominent Adam's apple and receding hairline are similar to those that appear in coins minted in the years before his assassination, in 52 BC.

The archaeologists wanted to investigate the internal structure of the marble bust, which appeared to be not of one piece. "In order to preserve this masterpiece to the best of our ability, this kind of information is of the utmost importance", says Luc Long.

Using non-intrusive gamma rays techniques usually applied to characterizing the contents of nuclear waste drums, LMN was able to obtain tomographs of the bust, clearly showing the staples holding the original part and a later addition at the back of the head. Two bronze statues, a gold-plated winged Victory and one of a slave or a prisoner, along with a delicate bronze arm, have been treated with the same techniques and have delivered equally important information.

Caesar's bust and the other statues are now back in the archaeologists' laboratories in Arles. They will star in a major exhibition at the Musee departemental de l'Arles antique late in 2009.

Kaname Ikeda handing over the prizes.
June ended with a very joyful event at the International School in Manosque: the prize-giving ceremony at the end of the school year. It was an inspiring morning with children aged between 3 and 18, from 22 different countries, working together to present demonstrations of song and dance. "The International School has come a long way in a short time and I would like to congratulate everybody who had been involved in this enterprise," ITER Director-General, Kaname Ikeda, said.

In September 2007, there were only 80 students. At the end of the first school year in June, there were 133 students and at the beginning of the school year in September 2008, 190 children will attend the school. Construction work for the new school campus will start this month and its first phase will be ready for 2009.

The deadline for the Principality of Monaco/ITER Postdoctoral Fellowships 2008 has passed. 28 persons from all seven ITER Member states have applied for the Fellowship Program sponsored by the Principality of Monaco, amongst them five women. First interviews will commence at the end of July, the successful candidates are expected to arrive on site towards the end of this year.

Information ...

Ambassador for Fusion... Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith
Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith, Chair of ITER Council, will visit ITER on Wednesday 9 July. He will hold an "All Hands" meeting at 11:00 in the Salle Polyvalente. Buses will be waiting in front of Building 519 to transport you to and from the Salle Polyvalente. Please make it a priority to attend this meeting. If you would like to speak to Sir Chris, there will be an opportunity at 17:00 on the same day when refreshments will be served under the trees near Building 525.

Everyone is welcome! See you there!

ITER PDDG, Norbert Holtkamp (right), carefully listening to the explanations given by Thierry Flament from AREVA Company.
As the ITER Hot Cell Facility is taking shape — at least on the drawing board (see related article) — a party from the ITER Organization visited the AREVA plant in La Hague, Normandy, in far north France. There, on this 350 hectares site, spent power reactor fuel is being reprocessed. The plant employs 3200 staff and 5000 subcontractors.

The objective of the visit by IO representatives to La Hague was to see this large industrial nuclear facility, especially its Hot Cells," Magali Benchikhoune, Leader of the ITER Hot Cell Section, summarized. Further discussed were various design issues, means of optimization based on a broad feedback, and — last but not least — issues of maintainability and operability in nuclear zones where remote handling is mandatory.

Yury started on June 1st as a Coil Designer in the Magnet Division of the Tokamak Department. He is Russian and after his studies in Electrical Engineering and Applied Superconductivity in Moscow, he spent four years at the Kurchatov Institute, participating in the design, manufacturing and testing of superconducting coils. He then did his PhD on high-temperature superconducting coils in Kyushu University, Japan for three years. For the last 8 years, Yury did Post-Doctorate research at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, and in that capacity he did a lot of work for the ITER magnet system.

On 25 June over 100 JET staff, past and present, came together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of JET's first pulse — Day 1.

Paul-Henri Rebut, who had led the design team from its inception in 1973 and who went on to become the second JET Director gave a fascinating talk on the development of the project. (download a PDF of the talk).

Francesco Romanelli, the current director, talked of JET's progress to date and particularly its role in relation to ITER: "During the ITER construction phase JET will remain the best asset of the world fusion community. JET is the machine closest to the ITER parameters and the only one that can use Tritium and Beryllium. In the next years, until the upgrade of JT60-U is completed, JET will be the largest tokamak of its class in operation and therefore will be the ideal machine where the scientists who will collaborate on ITER can start working together to develop a common strategy on ITER scenarios, where natural leaderships can emerge and where researchers can be trained on how to operate a multi-MA device. To this aim JET is further opening to the participation of all the other ITER Parties."

The ITER Domestic Agency in Japan, ITER-JADA, has updated its website on ITER (English version is limited):


There is also an updated page of the ITER site preparations, for the moment only in Japanese:


They call it "Hot Sell", the "Eater Restaurant" and it is definitely the place to check out if you want to know what SRD really stands for or what the ITER Tritium Plant will look like when it is grown up. Where to find it? The Catia model serves food (during business hours) in office 16, building 519. But please don't forget to make a reservation!