Subscribe options

Select your newsletters:


Please enter your email address:

@

News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • Computer-Aided Design | A new platform with Australia

    In September 2016, the signature of a Cooperation Agreement between the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and the ITER Organization [...]

    Read more

  • Ten years later | A prodigious adventure

    ITER began its existence as an aspiration in the early 1980s, as actors in the fusion community called for the joint machine that would demonstrate the feasibil [...]

    Read more

  • Image of the week | An impromptu visit

    Afteraddressing the UN Climate Change Conference on 15 November, French President Emmanuel Macron toured thecolourful COP23 exhibition zone. It was towards the [...]

    Read more

  • Cryoplant | How to install a compressor

    In order to properly install a helium compressor skid on its concrete pad, you need to start with a large push broom to sweep away the dust that inevitably accu [...]

    Read more

  • Magnetic system | Nine rings to fight the force

    Work on the pre-compression ringsof the ITER magnet system progresses in Europe, where work on a full-scale prototype is underway. These technically challenging [...]

    Read more

Of Interest

See archived articles

Back from Korea with a "feeling of confidence"

Robert Arnoux

There are several ways to ascertain whether proper safety procedures are being observed. All rely on the ''safety culture'' that should permeate all actions in the supplier chain. (Click to view larger version...)
There are several ways to ascertain whether proper safety procedures are being observed. All rely on the ''safety culture'' that should permeate all actions in the supplier chain.
In Ulsan, on the southeastern coast of Korea, Hyundai Heavy Industries mass produces supertankers, mammoth cruise and container ships, giant bulk carriers, and vessels of all shape, purpose and form.

The world's largest shipyard is also manufacturing part of a vessel that will never take to the sea—the ITER vacuum vessel, a 5,000-tonne, doughnut-shaped chamber that will house the fusion reaction and act as a first safety containment barrier.

Procuring two out of the nine ITER vacuum vessel sectors is part of Korea's commitment to ITER. In a workshop at the Ulsan shipyard, work has begun on the lower segment of the first of these two sections. More than 9,000 kilometres from the ITER site, one of the most critical components of the ITER Tokamak is slowly taking shape.

For Joëlle Elbez-Uzan, acting division head for Nuclear Safety, Licensing & Environmental Protection at ITER, and Sandrine Rosanvallon, safety analysis technical officer, inspecting this impressive piece of steel was one of the highlights of their recent mission to Korea—a feeling of "history in-the-making."

The invitation to Korea had been extended by Kijung Jung, head of the Korean Domestic Agency. Intended as a demonstration of Unique ITER Team spirit, it provided the nuclear safety specialists with an opportunity to share information on safety regulations and licensing procedures with their Korean colleagues and to proceed also with an internal safety inspection on the ongoing work at Hyundai Heavy Industries.

"As the nuclear operator of the ITER installation," explains Joëlle, "the ITER Organization has an obligation to monitor the manufacturing process of the components that qualify as Safety Important Components (known as SIC components). The vacuum vessel—which forms the first standing barrier between the nuclear plasma and the environment—is one of the main ITER SICs."

There are several ways to ascertain whether proper safety procedures are being observed: some rely on a close examination of the paperwork that documents the manufacturing process; others require actual on-site inspections. All rely on what Joëlle calls the "safety culture" that should permeate all actions in the supplier chain.

The vacuum vessel is an especially challenging component. It is not only a SIC, but also an ESPN—équipement sous pression nucléaire (equipment under nuclear pressure) as defined by the French nuclear safety regulations that ITER observes.

During they five-day mission to Korea, Joëlle (centre) and Sandrine shared information on safety regulations and licensing procedures with their Korean colleagues and proceeded with an internal safety inspection on the ongoing work at Hyundai Heavy Industries. (Click to view larger version...)
During they five-day mission to Korea, Joëlle (centre) and Sandrine shared information on safety regulations and licensing procedures with their Korean colleagues and proceeded with an internal safety inspection on the ongoing work at Hyundai Heavy Industries.
"This classification means that in-service inspections will have to be conducted during the Operation Phase of ITER," explains Joëlle. "As this will be, practically speaking, very difficult, the ITER Organization defines  'compensatory measures' at the design phase that are integrated in the component's design: rails and guides, for instance, have to be installed in the vacuum vessel wall to accommodate endoscopes and other inspection devices."

During their five-day mission Joëlle and Sandrine verified all this and much more. "In a certain sense, it was also a training exercise. The French safety authority will carry out similar on-site inspections in the course of the manufacturing phase and our Korean colleagues have to be ready for them ..."

Joëlle and Sandrine flew back to ITER with an overall feeling of confidence. "Based on the documents we reviewed, the Quality Order is well implemented and fabrication control is robust," says Joëlle. "Methods and organization are in line with what the safety regulator expects and our Korean colleagues were especially open, warm and cooperative."

"Safety culture" is definitely trickling down from the stringent French regulations all the way to the workshop in the Ulsan shipyard.


return to the latest published articles