The issue cards are on the table
Even though the ITER design is to a large extent ready for procurement and construction, some issues need to be resolved before major procurements can begin. These include some new ideas which have been developed, adaptations to the site, some still outstanding detailed design, as well as some R&D requirements. The design needs to take account of recent technology R&D and plasma physics results, some of which imply new tools (such as ELM control). In order to take account of all these aspects and to involve the world fusion community in building what is their device to exploit in the future, on November 15 a design review was launched which will help to establish the updated ITER design for construction. Once accepted by the council, this will be the quantum step from the 2001 design to the "2007 ITER baseline".
In a first meeting on 12 December, the chairmen of seven working groups, covering most of the aspects of the construction project, presented their preliminary prioritization and assessment of around 300 so-called "issue cards" (short descriptions of design issues). According to Dr. Günther Janeschitz, Design Review Coordinator, the first aim of the working groups was to select those issues relevant for finalizing the design and specification of the long lead items (i.e. the vacuum vessel, the TF-coils, the buildings and the information needed for the preliminary safety report). It also became clear that an additional working group was needed to deal with the requirements for in vessel-components and to discuss the choice of materials.
By December 20, issue cards from all over the world had been accumulated. Up to mid-January, the working groups, with input from the participating teams responsible for ITER construction, will finish prioritizing what they see most important. A work plan on how to resolve them within a time frame compatible with the procurement schedule is envisaged, in order not to delay the start of construction. On 16 February 2007, a first assessment of the status of each working group will be made, together with a synchronization of the interfaces with other groups. The first recommendations to the ITER management will be summarized in an interim report to be presented to the Technical Advisory Group in March, followed by the presentation of the Baseline Design Revision 0 to the ITER Council late Spring 2007. The final Baseline Design 2007 is due to be delivered to the ITER Council in the third quarter of 2007.
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