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Latest ITER Newsline

  • Challenges | Managing risk in a first-of-a-kind project

    The classic approach to project management is to group risks into three separate categories. The first consists of known risks, the second of unknown risks, and [...]

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  • Steve Cowley | Projecting into the coming decades

    Steven Cowley, who now heads the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), gave a seminar last week at CEA-Cadarache and he had some good news regarding the s [...]

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  • Outreach | What vacuum does to marshmallows

    Every year in France, science is "à la fête" for two consecutive weekends in October. Free events and demonstrations—tailored particularly to school-a [...]

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  • Physics | 11th ITER International School announced

    The 11th ITER International School will be held from 20 to 24 July 2020, hosted by Aix-Marseille University in Aix-en-Provence, France. The subject of this year [...]

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  • Image of the week | An anniversary in blue, white and red

    ITER neighbour and close partner in fusion research, the CEA-Cadarache nuclear research centre, was established in October 1959. This week, it celebrated the 60 [...]

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Of Interest

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Armed and ready to identify leaks

A collaborative success: The ITER vacuum team poses in the basement storage room in Headquarters where the leak detection devices shipped in from the US are piling up. (Click to view larger version...)
A collaborative success: The ITER vacuum team poses in the basement storage room in Headquarters where the leak detection devices shipped in from the US are piling up.
In constructing ITER, one of the key challenges is to ensure a leak-free machine. The US Domestic Agency has recently completed the bulk of delivery for the test equipment required to confirm the vacuum leak-tightness of components as they arrive on site and during the construction of the machine. At right,  vacuum team members are pictured with some of the leak detection tools-of-the-trade: helium spray guns and highly sensitive mass spectrometer-based detectors.

"This procurement is the very first US ITER procurement to be delivered to the ITER site," rejoices Mike Hechler, the responsible officer within the US vacuum team. "Hence it should be celebrated as a real success. Being first we were like guinea pigs having to sort out how to deal with transport, VAT charges, customs, CE marking. It was not easy, but opens up the way for future US deliveries."

"The basic method of leak detection is simple," explains Liam Worth, member of the ITER vacuum team  and responsible for the test program. "You evacuate your vacuum vessel, surround it with helium gas, and then use the leak detector to look for helium leaking in—these instruments can detect in the minutest quantities." However the size, complexity and number of the ITER vacuum systems make this a far from simple task. "We estimate that from acceptance to the final commissioning of the machine, no fewer than 94 man-years of vacuum testing will have to be performed."


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