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Also in this issue

  • In the heart of the Korean tokamak KSTAR, in operation since 2008, a plasma pulse burns brightly.  But don't be fooled—the brightest areas of the photo are in fact the coolest. At 150 million °C (the temperature in the centre), the plasma doesn't emit in the spectrum of visible light. © National Fusion Research Institute, Korea

    Hotter than the Sun

    The ITER plasma will be ten times hotter than the centre of the Sun. How will the machine's operators produce such a blistering environment? And what physical enclosure can contain it? [...]

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  • The number of visitors has been steadily increasing since 2007, with over 67,000 cumulative visitors to the site.

    Visits on the rise: 15,000 in 2013

    More than 15,000 visitors have been welcomed to the ITER site in 2013. Visits are organized by both the ITER Organization Visit Team (general public) and Agence Iter France (students). [...]

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  • English—the official working language of the ITER Organization—is the native language of just 15 % of staff. But to truly understand one another, a common language is not sufficient.

    35 nations, 40 languages ... which culture?

    On the banks of the Durance River, halfway between Aix-en-Provence and Manosque, a unique community has taken root—some 500 people from 35 countries who have arrived with their languages, cultural references, traditions and work habits. [...]

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  • The Tore Supra tokamak, at the French research centre CEA Cadarache, is undergoing a profound transformation to become a test bed for the ITER tungsten divertor.

    Pulling together for ITER

    In its quest for fusion energy, ITER is not striving alone. Tokamaks in Europe, the United States, Korea and Japan have been the front-runners, exploring the road that ITER will begin to experiment in less than ten years. [...]

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Mag Archives

Warm concrete in the chilly dawn

For approximately ten hours a continuous flow of concrete poured from two long pumps—800 cubic metres in all for a corner of the basemat that measures 21 x 26 metres. (Click to view larger version...)
For approximately ten hours a continuous flow of concrete poured from two long pumps—800 cubic metres in all for a corner of the basemat that measures 21 x 26 metres.
Well before dawn on 11 December 2013, the first cubic metres of concrete were poured for the Tokamak Complex basemat (the "B2 slab").

On an ordinary worksite the operation would have been rather unremarkable. But for ITER, the activity that morning had important symbolic value. What was taking shape in the pre-dawn cold under the bright light of the projectors was the 1.5-metre-thick floor of the Tokamak Complex, a three-building edifice at the heart of the ITER scientific facility that will weigh more than 360,000 tons.

For approximately ten hours a continuous flow of concrete poured from two long pumps—800 cubic metres in all for a corner of the basemat that measures 21 x 26 metres.

"The concrete qualified for the B2 basemat has been the object of particular care," specifies Laurent Patisson, head of the Nuclear Buildings Section at ITER, "having to answer to the rigorous requirements of a nuclear facility in terms of stability, water permeability and gas confinement."

Pouring at such early hours, and during the winter months, required special measures to maintain the temperature of the concrete at a minimum level—such as heated water and gravel at the concrete batching plant and tents and hot air blowers at the worksite.

Pouring continued on 22 January and 13 February to complete the southern portion of the basemat. Work will continue throughout the summer to complete the Tokamak Complex slab; in all, 15 individual segments and approximately 15,000 cubic metres of concrete.