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  • Inside the pit | From dizzying volume to cramped environment

    There was a time when the assembly pit felt like a huge arena, with toy-like tools scattered on the floor and workers reduced to Playmobil-size figures. Progres [...]

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  • Fusion world | UKAEA's CHIMERA set to transform fusion component testing

    Construction of a unique testing machine for fusion components is underway at the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).  The machine, known as CHIMERA (or Co [...]

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  • Award | A 30-year friendship with China

    Some thirty years ago, HT-7, China's first superconducting tokamak, was entering operation and experiencing some issues with its ion cyclotron resonance (ICRH) [...]

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  • Tokamak assembly | Building the feeders, segment by segment

    Through an opening in the Tritium Building just large enough to admit the 11-metre-long components, two magnet feeder segments were introduced this month into t [...]

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  • Fusion world | Highest French distinction for former ITER Director-General

    Established in 1802 by Napoléon Bonaparte, then the First Consul of the young French Republic, the French Legion of Honour (Légion d'honneur) is the highest of [...]

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Of Interest

See archived entries

Plasma seeking plasma



It has been an unusual July so far in Provence. Thunderstorms have broken over the site almost every afternoon, causing work to be stopped until the storm front moves on.

Storms over the ITER platform do not come unannounced: when one approaches, the French storm forecast agency Metéorage (a subsidiairy of Météo-France) sends an alert to security personnel, who activate the appropriate siren. Depending on the distance of the incoming storm, the siren sounds an "orange alert," stopping only the heavy activity, or a "red alert," requiring full site evacuation.

This spectacular bolt of lightning was captured last Wednesday from a fifth floor window in the ITER Headquarters building after a red alert was sounded.

Lightning is a high current electric discharge in the air that generates a ramified column of plasma. This specific bolt might have been looking for its kindred—the plasma that will be created within the ITER vacuum vessel. The place was right but the time ...  some seven years too early.


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