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Actu & Médias


Of Interest

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Norbert Holtkamp, Principal Deputy Director-General
The ITER collaboration is currently finalizing its project baseline. Last week, both the Science and Technology (STAC) and the Management (MAC) Advisory Committees convened to discuss the updated Integrated Project Schedule that will be presented to the fourth ITER Council meeting in Mito, Japan, from 17-18 June.

This updated schedule describes ITER all the way from the beginning of construction, through commissioning, and on to Deuterium-Tritium operation in 2026. It includes a phased approach in which the major components of the ITER machine, such as the magnets and the vacuum vessel, will be assembled and tested before the installation of in-vessel components continues. This approach has been adopted by all major tokamaks, and offers the advantage of substantially reduced overall risk. We are currently establishing a list that details the components that will be installed before 2018, and those that will be installed during a later phase. The list will be finalized soon. We have also created a fully-integrated research plan that begins with First Plasma in 2018. Both the updated schedule and the research plan were well received at the recent STAC and MAC meetings.

In the course of the last week, it was reassuring to witness the strong support from the seven Domestic Agencies and the two committees to this phased approach. Now, the details of the plan remain to be hammered out.

Within the next six months, until the fifth Council meeting in November, we will move forward according to this updated schedule. A full suite of performance measurement systems and tools will be put in place. A series of meetings between schedulers, cost estimators and project managers, as well as the leaders of the ITER Organization and the seven Domestic Agencies, has already been set up in order to align the three pillars of the project: scope, schedule and cost.

We have not lost sight of our other priority for this year: to conclude the design and to sign off on the Procurement Arrangements which will allow us to launch the manufacturing of ITER.

Photomicrograph of the Nb3Sn wire produced by Kiswire Advanced Technology, for use in the ITER toroidal field magnet conductor.
Kiswire Advanced Technology (KAT), a company located in Daejeon, Korea, has started the production of 28 tonnes of niobium-tin (Nb3Sn) wire for ITER's toroidal field magnets. KAT has already produced more than 800 kg of wire using in-stock raw materials and is now in the process of carrying out acceptance tests as required by the Procurement Arrangement. KAT is committed to implementing the required level of quality assurance and to entering all monitoring data into the Conductor Database developed by the ITER Organization.

The Republic of Korea, represented by the Korean Domestic Agency, is responsible for manufacturing 20 percent of the cable-in-conduit conductors for ITER's toroidal field coils. This represents a total 20 kilometers of superconducting cable made out of 90 tonnes of Nb3Sn strands.

In order to assess the progress of Nb3n strand production, the Technical Responsible Officer on the Korean side, Keeman Kim, and Arnaud Devred, Leader of the Superconductor Systems & Auxiliaries Section within the ITER Organization, visited the KAT manufacturing site on Monday this week and found it "bursting with activity," as reported by Arnaud. The visit was completed by a Conductor Database training session given by Kazutaka Seo from the ITER Organization, and attended by representatives from the Korean Domestic Agency and KAT.

Last week, the young Japanese students attending the International School of Manosque were all smiles. Hidden inside big cardboard boxes were 847 books that had made a long journey across the globe to reach southern France. The donation comes from employees of the Naka Fusion Research Institute who had heard that Japanese books were hard to get over here. An unexpected present that was welcomed with cheers of joy and a big thank you: どうも有り難うございます。.

The Cours Mirabeau in Aix-en-Provence (140,000 inhabitants), a town of fountains, theatres and aristocratic townhouses.
Aix and Marseille are only 35 kilometres apart but when it comes to history, economy, culture and image, they could be worlds away.

Ask an Aixois about Marseille, and he'll probably tell you how dirty, rowdy and vulgar the city and its inhabitants are. Ask a Marseillais about Aix, and he won't even bother to answer. In his view Aix is small and pretentious—a provincial town inhabited by idle students, verbose lawyers and fashion store owners.

These perceptions, which do not quite reflect reality, have endured for centuries. They have defined the way the two cities relate to each other, and the image they project to the outside world.

All throughout history, Marseille and Aix have stood in opposition to one another. One was a Greek harbour, founded in the 6th century B.C. as a city of merchants and explorers; the other was a Roman garrison town established four centuries later. Aix remained the administrative capital of Provence all through the Middle-Ages until the early 19th century; Marseille only cared about the sea and the lands that lay beyond. Aix was always provençal, Marseille was cosmopolitan and proud of it.

While obviously they now belong to the same metropolitan area, the two cities never agreed to form a political and administrative alliance, like most other neighbouring municipalities have. Aix, the city of fountains, theatres and aristocratic townhouses, fears being "absorbed" by Marseille which is 30 percent poorer, five times more populated and considerably less "elegant."

This long history of reciprocal mistrust and caricature has its consequences. While more than 8,000 Marseillais leave their home every morning to work in Aix—passing by 7,000 Aixois going in the other direction on their way—no efficient public transportation scheme has ever been established.

In any other part of the world, two cities so close, so different but yet so complementary would speak with a single voice. Aix and Marseille can't: two thousand years ago, one sided with Caesar and the other with his archenemy Pompey. How could they ever reconcile?

The program features interviews with Akko Maas, Chang Jun, Neil Mitchell, Olivier Guérin and people who wonder what a "tokamak" could possibly be.
On Friday, 5 June at 5:00 p.m. the local TV channel Télé Locale Provence (TLP) began broadcasting the third program of a series entitled "Une énergie pour notre avenir" (Energy for our future).

This third program is entitled "Tokamak, un petit soleil dans une grande bouteille" (Tokamak, a small sun in a large bottle). It explains the various components of the ITER Tokamak and how they will be assembled. It also has some rock'n roll in it... TLP broadcasts over the TNT (Digital Terrestrial Television) network covering most of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department. If your TV set is equipped with a TNT decoder, tune to Channel 21.

If you're still using a roof antenna system, follow these instructions to view the program:

  • In Manosque, tune to Channel 47
  • In the Céreste area, tune to Channel 51
  • In the Forcalquier area, tune to Channel 44
  • In the rest of Haute-Provence, tune to Channel 56

  • The program will air:

  • Saturday 8:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m.
  • Sunday: 1:00 a.m., 12:00 midday, 7:30 p.m.
  • Monday: 1:00 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 8:00 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 2:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m., 10:00 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 1:00 a.m., 1:30 p.m.
  • Thursday: 1:30 a.m., 6:30 a.m., 11:30 p.m.
  • Friday: 1:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m.

  • The program will also be accessible on the Internet at http://www.tlp.fr/. DivX Web Player must be downloaded and installed to view the program (follow the link on the site's opening page).

    The statistics tell the facts: interest is increasing. Graphics courtesy of Agence Iter France.
    The interest in ITER is growing continually: since the beginning of the year, 4,884 people have come to visit the ITER construction site. The visits are jointly organized by Agence Iter France and the ITER Organization. The visit contact person within the ITER Organization is Véronique Marfaing in the Office of Communication.

    Last Friday, 29 May, during the 4th International Advisory Council (IAC), it was officially announced that the French authorities have agreed on the implementation of the European Curriculum within the International School of Manosque at the start of the new academic year in September. Students in middle school now have the possibility to follow this curriculum which provides at least 80 percent of teaching in English. For more information on European curricula, please click here: http://www.eursc.eu/.

    The IAC assembly was preceded by an ITER parents meeting attended by Director-General Ikeda, the IAC members and the Director of the International School, Jean-Paul Clément, who explained the latest developments with regard to this curriculum and answered questions in relation to the school.

    A man with two passions: Michiya Shimada.
    Working in an international setting is nothing new for Michiya Shimada—thirty-four years of involvement in fusion research projects have made him quite at home on three continents.

    Michiya participated in the groundbreaking work carried out in divertor physics at the Doublet-III experiment in San Diego, California in the early 1980s. He was one of the younger scientists at the time: he had an engineering degree from the University of Tokyo in his pocket, and was working toward his PhD. "At Doublet-III, we discovered that divertor plasmas can become very cold, highly radiative, and denser than the core plasmas in tokamaks," Shimada recounts, looking back. "This had great importance for three reasons: radiative dissipation allows us to limit the heat load on the divertor, reduce erosion of divertor materials, and enable an efficient removal of helium ash."

    Divertor physics was to remain the predominant focus for Shimada. From 1989 on, he continued work on divertor concepts at the JT-60U Tokamak in Naka, Japan. He also chaired the Divertor Database and Modelling Expert Group, organized for ITER physics R&D. "At the time, we were confident that ITER would happen scientifically, but there were not yet any political guarantees," Shimada remembers. "I felt optimistic, though, and joined the ITER team in 1999." When the ITER Agreement set the project into motion, making the move to ITER site was the logical next step in his career. Shimada was among the first Cadarache recruits for ITER, arriving at the Joint Work Site in December 2006. His wife and ten year-old son joined him one year later; the family is now settled in Manosque.

    At ITER, Michiya Shimada is Chief Scientific Officer for the Plasma Wall Interaction Group in the Fusion Science & Technology Department. The challenges are great and the hours are long. Shimada also co-chairs the Coordinating Committee for the International Tokamak Physics Activity (ITPA), an international framework that plays an instrumental role in focusing worldwide physics efforts on physics issues for ITER that need further investigation. "Fusion research is necessarily an international endeavor; the stakes are high and no one nation can manage the investment alone. We need input from fusion work done all over the world to reach our goal of producing energy from fusion faster," explains Shimada.

    Although it may seem hard to imagine, Shimada has found time to pursue a second passion throughout the years—one that he was able to share with his ITER colleagues during last June's Music Festival. He is an accomplished singer, with a particular interest in classical repertoire. He is currently working toward recording Robert Schumann's Dichterliebe, accompanied on the piano by another ITER musician, Philip Andrew from Diagnostics.

    Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith
    A special event was held on Wednesday 3 June at Culham Science Centre to celebrate the retirement of Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith from his post as Culham Director. In the morning the ITER Director of Communication, Neil Calder, discussed the ITER communication strategy with visiting Heads of Associations and senior European Commission staff—how to present a multi-billion-euro project and make the most of the current wave of public support for new energy sources.

    Later in the day an impressive line-up of speakers joined Chris in presenting their views on his chosen topic—energy, environment and communicating science—to a large and attentive audience of staff and visitors. After Chris himself had given his views on communicating these important issues, Sir David King, former Chief Scientific Adviser to UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, talked on getting the message to governments and emphasized the distance between the state of knowledge in research institutions and the understanding of that knowledge by governments around the world. He was followed by Lord Taverne, founder of the Sense about Science organization, a independent charitable trust promoting good science and evidence-based public debates, who discussed to what extent he considered the public should be involved on scientific issues and Philip Campbell, editor-in-chief of Nature, who explained the need to understand the changing landscape of the media to be able to get your message out—both to and via the media.

    The H-1 is a three-field period helical axis stellarator located in the Research School of Physical Sciences and at the Australian National University.
    The Australian fusion science community was well pleased with the government announcement mid-May of much-needed upgrade funding of approximately 5 million Australian dollars for the H-1 National Plasma Fusion Research Facility at the Australian National University. The funding will enable replacement of aging heating systems, allow improvements in plasma performance, and ensure continuity of plasma research activities on the H-1 helical axis stellarator (R=1m, a=0.25m, l=1, m=3) until 2015.

    A significant driver for this positive outcome has been the promotional and awareness-raising activities of the Australian ITER Forum. The Forum is a collection of over 100 Australian scientists and engineers who have been lobbying government for an expansion of Australian fusion science, with a view towards an engagement with ITER. Matthew Hole, who is chair of the Forum, stated that "this is a significant endorsement of Australian fusion science, but much still remains to be done to attain our long-term goal."

    The plasma physics community aims to build on this success by seeking additional funding from other schemes to develop and demonstrate ITER-relevant diagnostic systems. It is hoped that this new funding boost signals government willingness to embrace a larger-scale engagement with international fusion science, and in particular, the ITER Project.

    Following the rules for an emergency evacuation plan, 360 evacuation kits have recently been installed on the ground floor of the Headquarters building. Inside the bright red boxes you find a (NBC) gas mask with a filter cartridge, a pair of gloves and a jumpsuit for personal protection.

    Specific information and training on the evacuation procedures and how to use the masks will be provided soon. These procedures will also form part of the Newcomers Safety Induction.

    Please be reminded that the kits should only be used in an emergency situation.