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  • Top management | Tim Luce, Head of Science & Operation

    What does a seven-year-old growing up in a small community in Arkansas know about what it means to be an 'atomic scientist'? Probably not much. Except, remember [...]

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  • Image of the week | 5 top lid segments expected

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  • On site | As ITER begins assembly, HVAC becomes mission critical

    Not only will heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) help protect people and equipment during the assembly phase at ITER, but they will also help ensu [...]

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  • Vacuum vessel | Sector #6 is leak tight

    The first ITER vacuum vessel sector has passed a helium leak test on site with flying colours. Back in March 2020, as experts from the Korean Domestic Agency [...]

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Of Interest

See archived entries

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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