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News & Media

Also in this issue

  • From left to right: Mark Oliphant (1901-2000); Lyman Spitzer (1914-1997); Arthur Eddington (1882-1944); Hans Bethe (1906-2005); and Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937).

    Who "invented" fusion?

    The droves of visitors who come to see the ITER site every yearoften ask: "Who discovered (or invented) fusion?" [...]

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  • Dedicated to "Man's Achievement on a Shrinking Globe in an Expanding Universe," the 1964 New York World's Fair opened on 22 April in Flushing Meadows. One of its most spectacular attractions was General Electric's Progressland where the Fusion Demonstration was performed non-stop.

    When fusion was (almost) there

    Fifty years ago, in 1964, human beings believed in progress. Manned space capsules were routinely sent into space, a revolutionary supersonic commercial airliner was nearing the prototype stage, the computer mouse had just been invented, and the official decision had been taken to build a cross-Channel tunnel. [...]

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  • Four thousand tons of reinforcement will form the "skeleton" of the basemat that will support the Tokamak Complex. Steel density is at its highest in the central area (one fourth of the total rebar).

    Spider webs of steel

    In the middle of the Tokamak Complex Seismic Pit a vast circle is now visible, part of the complex reinforcement work underway for the B2 foundation slab. Once in place, 16 levels of 40-millimetre-thick rebar will support the weight of the machine. [...]

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  • DEMO is the machine that will bring fusion energy research to the threshold of a prototype fusion reactor. After ITER—the machine that will demonstrate the technological and scientific feasibility of fusion energy—DEMO will open the way to its industrial and commercial exploitation.

    ITER ... and then what?

    In the world of fusion research, experimental programs aren't carried out consecutively ... they overlap. Physicists were already trying to imagine ITER (under the name of INTOR) when construction of the European JET tokamak was just getting underway in the early 1980s; now, work is underway on the conception of the next-stage machine, DEMO, while the ITER installation is still years from finalization. [...]

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Mag Archives

Test convoy takes to the sea

-R.A.

Just before entering the narrow Canal de Caronte, which connects the Mediterranean to the inland sea Étang de Berre, the barge passes the old Fort de Bouc lighthouse. (Click to view larger version...)
Just before entering the narrow Canal de Caronte, which connects the Mediterranean to the inland sea Étang de Berre, the barge passes the old Fort de Bouc lighthouse.
Back in September 2013, an 800-ton convoy had tested the physical resistance of the ITER Itinerary—a stretch of 104 kilometres of road between the Mediterranean Sea and the ITER site that has been specially modified for the transport of ITER's most exceptional components (see ITER Mag #1, December 2013).

Seven months later, an identical convoy was underway. This time, the goal was to test the organizational logistics behind the ITER transport operations as well as the maritime portion of the journey from the Mediterranean harbour of Fos to the northeastern shore of the inland sea Étang de Berre—a sort of dress rehearsal in advance of the 250 or so highly exceptional loads that will travel along the ITER Itinerary for six years beginning in late 2014.

For the dozens of participants in the operation, the rendezvous point was a remote wharf at the Fos-sur-Mer industrial harbour. On Saturday 28 March the trailer and its mock load of concrete blocks (800 metric tons in all) were loaded onto a custom barge in an operation that lasted eight hours. Two days later, the barge pushed off from the quay, crossed the Fos harbour and navigated its way along a six-kilometre channel known as the Canal de Caronte that connects the Mediterranean to the Étang de Berre.

Pulled by a powerful tug, followed by another, the barge sails along the huge refinery complex of Martigues-Lavera. (Click to view larger version...)
Pulled by a powerful tug, followed by another, the barge sails along the huge refinery complex of Martigues-Lavera.
Along the banks of the Canal, which crosses the old city centre of Martigues, crowds came out to watch the unusual sight: an 80-metre barge flanked by Coast Guard patrol boats and two tugs, making its slow way along the Canal and finally passing under a draw bridge and into the Étang.

Despite two technical incidents that occurred along the land portion of the Itinerary (related to the trailer's hydraulic system) the test convoy organizers—Agence Iter France, the logistics service provider Daher, and the French authorities—once again proved their mastery of complex technical and logistical issues.

As billions of fusion furnaces glittered in the pre-dawn light, the second test convoy came to a halt on the ITER site near the Poloidal Field Coils building ... (Click to view larger version...)
As billions of fusion furnaces glittered in the pre-dawn light, the second test convoy came to a halt on the ITER site near the Poloidal Field Coils building ...
"The incidents we suffered have helped us to identify what could, and should, be improved," stresses Bernard Bon, Daher head of convoy. "This is precisely what tests are for."

The testing phase has now come to an end and the next activity along the ITER Itinerary will be "for real": in October 2014 the first transport convoy will carry an electrical transformer from Korea (87 tons, 8.5 metres long, 4 metres wide and 5 metres high) for the supply of power to the site.