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  • Construction | Art around every corner

    Most of us have experienced it. Turning a corner in one of the Tokamak Building galleries and looking up at the graphic pattern of embedded plates in the concre [...]

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  • Machine | Ensuring port plugs will work as planned

    The stainless steel plugs sealing off each Tokamak port opening are not only massive, they are also complex—carrying and protecting some of the precious payload [...]

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    Many of the control systems at ITER require quick response and a high degree of determinism. If commands go out late, the state of the machine may have changed [...]

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  • Fusion codes and standards | Award for ITER Japan's Hideo Nakajima

    Hideo Nakajima, a senior engineer at ITER Japan, has received an award from the Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers (JSME) for his contribution to the develop [...]

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  • Machine assembly | First magnet in place

    When it travelled the ITER Itinerary last year, or during cold tests in the onsite winding facility, poloidal field coil #6 (PF6) felt rather large and massive. [...]

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Of Interest

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An ITER view from Down Under

Matthew Hole, a fellow at the Plasma Research Laboratory of the Australian National University (ANU), heads the Australian ITER Forum, which was created in 2006 to promote cooperation with ''fusion's flagship experiment.'' (Click to view larger version...)
Matthew Hole, a fellow at the Plasma Research Laboratory of the Australian National University (ANU), heads the Australian ITER Forum, which was created in 2006 to promote cooperation with ''fusion's flagship experiment.''
Anisotropy ... Bayesian interference ... flow and chaos in fusion plasmas ..., these are some of the topics that Matthew Hole, a fellow at the Plasma Research Laboratory of the Australian National University (ANU), discussed last week at a meeting with ITER physicists.

Down at ANU, 17,000 kilometres from the ITER site, the interest for fusion and for its international "flagship experiment" is strong. For years, the fusion community there has been active in trying to establish some official form of cooperation with ITER. The Australian ITER Forum, which Matthew Hole chairs, was created in 2006 to promote such an engagement.

In Australia, as in any other part of the world, a fusion physicist's path always ends up crossing that of ITER. Individual involvements in ITER-related issues (such as diagnostics, which is one major area of the Australian fusion community's expertise) are many, but no formal institutional collaboration has yet been established.

"The fusion community there is eager to see Australia engage with ITER. But we are scientists, working in universities for the most part. What we need is an endorsement from the Australian government ... and the necessary resources."

The sheer size of ITER might dwarf that of the recently upgraded H-1 NF stellarator operated at ANU's Plasma Fusion Research Facility. But although size matters, it is not all what fusion is about ... (Click to view larger version...)
The sheer size of ITER might dwarf that of the recently upgraded H-1 NF stellarator operated at ANU's Plasma Fusion Research Facility. But although size matters, it is not all what fusion is about ...
The form this collaboration could take is open to discussion. "It is clear that Australia will not be a 'major partner' like the present ITER Members," says Matthew. "Australia has a rich diversity of energy options, so the national energy security driver is not perceived to be as strong."

The "frustration" Matthew acknowledges hasn't dimmed his enthusiasm and he remains "passionate" about the whole issue. "ITER," he says, "will define the fusion research program for at least the next generation. We want to be part of that enterprise ..."

Last Wednesday in Cadarache, Matthew got his first opportunity to feel the reality of the project that has been on his mind for so many years. "The ITER site is huge," he said, "it is one thing to know the basics of the machine, but quite another to appreciate the size and scale of the entire site. What also struck me is the enthusiasm and helpfulness of the ITER staff, as well as the friendliness of the people of Aix-en-Provence and Marseille ..."

The sheer size of ITER might dwarf that of the recently upgraded H-1 NF stellarator operated at ANU's Plasma Fusion Research Facility, but although size matters, it is not all that fusion is about. Australia's fusion device is small (major radius R=1.0 m), but the fusion community there is strong, enthusiastic and determined, and the country has a long history of breakthroughs and innovation in fusion research.


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