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  • Divertor | Far more than a fancy ashtray

    It has been likened to the filter of a swimming pool or an oversized ashtray. It has been called alien in shape and hellish in its affinity for heat. But whatev [...]

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  • Council milestone #50 | The way to assembly is open

    Passing an ITER Council milestone is always an achievement. Passing this milestone at this moment is much more than that: it is a demonstration that, despite th [...]

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  • Deliveries | A third magnet ready for transport to ITER

    Three ITER magnets are now in transit to ITER from different points on the globe—two toroidal field magnets and one poloidal field coil. In terms of component w [...]

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  • Heaviest load yet | Europe's coil soon to hit the road

    It's big, it's heavy, it's precious and it's highly symbolic: the toroidal field coil that was unloaded at Marseille industrial harbour on 17 March is the most [...]

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  • Russia's ring coil | Entering the final sequence

    The smallest of ITER's poloidal field coils is entering the final sequence in a long series of activities that transform cable-in-conduit superconductor into a [...]

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Of Interest

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Plasma seeking plasma

R.A.



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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