"Last year the foundation was laid for the ITER Organization, this year will be a year of further growth and consolidation. The project team of the ITER Organization is building up at Cadarache, with strong support of the ITER Parties. In the near future we hope to fill the 52 positions that were opened in December last year, and throughout this year our staff number will double.
The Design Review, which has begun in September, will strengthen the involvement of all stakeholders in the ITER Project including the Domestic Agencies and Participant Teams, as well as project team members, and will provide its output early summer for endorsement by the ITER Council. This will form the basis for ITER construction.
Another big task for this year is the submission of the Preliminary Safety Report to the Nuclear Regulatory Authority by the end of this year, which will start our application for licencing as a nuclear facility.
We aim to give you a good insight into the functioning and development of the ITER Organization. That is why in the coming issues of the Newsline, each of the Deputy Director Generals will report on the activities in their departments in this Directors' Corner.
I wish all our readers a happy, healthy and eventful new year."
Born in 1958, Dr. Yong-Hwan Kim received a Doctorate in Mechanical Engineering and Nuclear Safety Regulation at Warwick University, UK, in 1989. Later he was Science Counsellor at the Korean Embassy and the Permanent Mission to the IAEA in Austria for three and a half years, and then served as Director-General of the Atomic Energy Bureau in the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST). He has over 20 years of management experience in the administration of science and technology, including atomic energy development. Most recently he was Secretary-General of the Presidential Advisory Council on Science and Technology. As Deputy Director General Nominee for Central Engineering and Plant Support, Dr. Kim will be responsible for all engineering issues outside the tokamak, which includes power supply, the cooling water system, the cryo-plant, the tritium plant, and the design office.
The ITER Organization hosted the 4th Quality Assurance Work Group meeting, which took place from 23-25 January. Thirteen people from the seven Participants Teams took part in the discussions. Presentations were made of the developing Quality Assurance Programs by the Particpipant Teams QA representatives. There were also additional topics of discussion concerning ITER Codes and Standards activity, use of ITER's IDM system, procurement activity and the latest ITER QA Program requirements. This meeting was hosted by Ken Sowder, Responsible Officer for Quality Assurance. On 11 January 2007, the cryostat cylinder of the KSTAR tokamak — constructed by the Korean National Fusion Research Center (NFRC) — was installed, signifying that more than 95% of the tokamak assembly is now completed. The closure ceremony was attended by Mr. Kim Woo Sik, Vice Prime-Minister of the Korean Ministry of Science and Technology. The KSTAR project was launched in 1995. Its mission is to develop a fully superconducting medium-size tokamak similar in size to ASDEX-Upgrade in Germany and DIII-D in the United States.
The goal of the Korean fusion programme is to contribute to the development of fusion energy by providing useful technical information, via KSTAR, to the ITER programme and to join in the future foreseen development path for future fusion power plants.
NFRC expects that due to its long-pulse D-shaped plasma characteristics and modest operation cost, KSTAR can serve as a useful pilot experimental device prior to ITER operation. Its expected 4 to 5 years of high power long-pulse operation before ITER comes online can provide useful technical knowledge and data for ITER operation.
The South Korean government plans to produce a long-term plan this year focused on nuclear fusion energy. More information can be found on the KSTAR website.
On 1 November, 2006, the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) appointed Jeffrey C. Hoy as the U.S. ITER Program Manager, with responsibility for governmental oversight of the U.S. contributions to ITER. On Wednesday 24 January ITER staff, friends and families have been invited by the Director General Nominee of ITER and the Director of Agence ITER France to another "get-together" at the Château de Cadarache. The occasion is a party to celebrate La Galette des Rois, a French tradition that dates back to the XIV century. Over 100 adults and 20 children are expected to be there. Chinese scientists have begun a new round of tests of the EAST tokamak, based at the Institute of Plasma Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Hefei, capital of east China's Anhui Province.
The reactor was first operated in September 2006. Since then scientists have made adjustments to improve results. "The new tests show the reactor is very reliable, and we can repeat the experiments," said Wu Songtao, deputy director of the institute. During the first round of experiments, the experiment created a plasma lasting nearly five seconds and generating an electrical current of 500 kA. Further tests will continue until February 10. The device is planned to eventually create a plasma lasting for 1,000 seconds, the longest uch a large scale fusion plasma has ever been maintained.
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From January-October 2007, a site of 180 hectares next to the Cadarache site will be prepared for the construction of ITER, under the supervision of the Agence ITER France. Care has been taken to minimize the environmental impact of this work, which is overseen by the Office National du Forêts. The aim is to keep about half the ITER site as woods.
The New year sees the ITER Joint Work Site buillding in Cadarache bursting at its seams. The ITER personnel from Garching and Naka have moved in and the first new professional staff have been recruited, doubling the staff numbers in September. The ITER team now numbers about 130.
Boxes and cartons dominate the scene, empty desks and working space are getting scarce. So in addition to the preparations of the actual project site which will start soon, more portakabin-type offices are currently being built next to the existing provisional ITER building.
To welcome and introduce the new members of the growing team, ITER Director General Nominee Kaname Ikeda and the management addressed the staff in a first official General Staff meeting on January 9th. There, the PDDGN Norbert Holtkamp and the heads of the departments summarized their responsibilities and stressed the milestones that lay ahead. Understaffing seemed to be the main limiting factor for all departments. "This project is extreme in any regard" , said Holtkamp, and invited the gathered team "So, be creative."
The Spanish newspaper El Mundo has listed Carlos Alejaldre, ITER Deputy Director General and Head of the Safety and Security Department, among the country´s 25 most influential people. The 54 year old physicist from Zaragoza, who was Director General for Technology at the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science from 2004 until 2006, has "now fully embarked on a new and ambitious project [...]: the international experimental fusion reactor ITER", says El Mundo in its 6 January issue, in which the newspaper listed Spain´s 500 most influential citizens.
An ITER Nb3Sn Conductor Modelling Workshop, organized by the ITER international team together with CEA, was held from 15-17 January 2007 at the Aquabella Hotel in Aix-en-Provence. The workshop drew 52 participants, both from the fusion field and from European and US universities, as well as representatives from all the ITER Participant Teams.
The aim of this workshop was to review the status of the models for assessing the performance of Nb3Sn cable-in-conduit conductors. The modeling will accompany the upcoming qualification tests at the SULTAN facility at the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland, where ITER conductors from each Participant Team will be tested soon.
The U.S. ITER Program Office, located at the DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, selected Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) along with Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory as partner laboratory for the U.S. ITER project. SRNL's role is the design, fabrication, assembly, testing, and shipment of the exhaust processing system, working in collaboration with Los Alamos National Laboratory.