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  • Local partners | A celebration for ITER's "vital artery"

    ITER is made possible through the work of thousands of scientists, engineers, workers of all trades and industries across the globe. It is also made possible by [...]

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  • Photo reportage | Travelling with a coil

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  • Image of the week | Shiny steel and sharp edges

    All shiny steel, sharp edges and perfectly machined penetrations and grooves, two toroidal field coils are being prepared for the pre-assembly process. The sp [...]

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  • Vacuum vessel sector #6 | On its way

    A 440-tonne, 40-degree sector of the ITER vacuum vessel left Busan, Korea, on Sunday 28 June. A unique component has taken to the sea—one that was more than t [...]

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  • Top management | Keun-Kyeong Kim, Head of Construction

    In the small Korean village (25 houses!) where Keun-Kyeong Kim spent the first eight years of his life, there was no electricity— just batteries to power transi [...]

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Of Interest

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An ITER view from Down Under

Robert Arnoux

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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