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Latest ITER Newsline

  • A world in itself

    From a height of some 50 metres, you have the entire ITER worksite at your feet. The long rectangle of the Diagnostics Building stands out in the centre, with [...]

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  • US completes toroidal field deliveries for ITER

    The US Domestic Agency achieved a major milestone in February by completing the delivery of all US-supplied toroidal field conductor to the European toroidal fi [...]

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  • Thin diagnostic coils to be fitted into giant magnets

    Last week was marked by the first delivery of diagnostic components—Continuous External Rogowski (CER) coils—from the European Domestic Agency to the ITER Organ [...]

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  • Addressing the challenge of plasma disruptions

    Plasma disruptions are fast events in tokamak plasmas that lead to the complete loss of the thermal and magnetic energy stored in the plasma. The plasma control [...]

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  • Blending (almost) seamlessly into the landscape

    Located in the foothills of the French Pre-Alps, the ITER installation blends almost seamlessly into the landscape. The architects' choice ofmirror-like steel c [...]

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Of Interest

See archived articles

Watching from above

-R.A.

The video stream from the helicopter is particularly impressive: it's like viewing the negative of a black-and-white movie, where people appear as greyish silhouettes and the hot engines of the trailer as intense white. © Courtesy Gendarmerie Nationale (Click to view larger version...)
The video stream from the helicopter is particularly impressive: it's like viewing the negative of a black-and-white movie, where people appear as greyish silhouettes and the hot engines of the trailer as intense white. © Courtesy Gendarmerie Nationale
Anyone travelling in France on vacation or long weekends has heard of Bison futé, a name inspired by American Indian culture that translates as "Cunning Buffalo."

Bison futé is the national gendarmerie-run service that provides real-time information on traffic conditions, road safety and driving restrictions in France.

Last week, the Bison futé command centre for the southeast quarter of French territory, located in Marseille, was busy with a very special mission: monitoring the ITER test convoy as it slowing progressed along the ITER Itinerary.

Every night, as the convoy was readied for yet another leg of the journey to the ITER site, a group of five to six people representing the French authorities (Préfecture), the gendarmerie forces and Agence Iter France prepared for another sleepless night.

As they sat in front of an array of computer screens and radio equipment, the members of this small "ITER cell" had a unique and privileged view on the ongoing operation, some 60 kilometres away.

From left to right: Colonel Geneau, Major Monglat (gendarmerie), Annick Bocchiardo (Iter France), Captain Mounier (gendarmerie) and Joana Amiand (Préfecture). (Click to view larger version...)
From left to right: Colonel Geneau, Major Monglat (gendarmerie), Annick Bocchiardo (Iter France), Captain Mounier (gendarmerie) and Joana Amiand (Préfecture).
"Actually, we are the only ones who have a global vision," says Colonel Geneau of the gendarmerie. "We are connected by radio and telephone with all parties involved. Geolocalization devices on the convoy vehicles provide us with real-time information on convoy progression and we even have infrared images from a helicopter hovering high above the convoy..."

Watching the video stream from the helicopter is particularly impressive: it's like viewing the negative of a black-and-white movie, where people appear as greyish silhouettes and the hot engines of the trailer as intense white. (The helicopter's usual routine is to track offenders or missing persons).

In case of an incident, the ITER cell's "global view" would enable Colonel Geneau to activate the proper response. "We, too, are testing our organization in advance of the actual transport of ITER components," he says.


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