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Bolting a symbolic piece of steel

-R.A.

It's a small piece of steel: 30 centimetres long, 10 centimetres wide and 3 centimetres thick, a support plate that, together with several others, will hold the ring-shaped supporting structure for the high-field protection panels of the Tore Supra vacuum vessel.

''Workers'' of choice for the symbolic bolting of WEST's first component: left to right, Alain Bécoulet, director of CEA's Magnetic Fusion Research Institute (IRFM); Gabriele Fioni, director of CEA's Physical Sciences Division; Jérôme Bucalossi, head of the WEST project; and Osamu Motojima, Director-General of the ITER Organization. © Christophe Roux - IRFM (Click to view larger version...)
''Workers'' of choice for the symbolic bolting of WEST's first component: left to right, Alain Bécoulet, director of CEA's Magnetic Fusion Research Institute (IRFM); Gabriele Fioni, director of CEA's Physical Sciences Division; Jérôme Bucalossi, head of the WEST project; and Osamu Motojima, Director-General of the ITER Organization. © Christophe Roux - IRFM
However small and unassuming, the piece of steel was invested with strong symbolic value on Monday 6 October as it became the first component to be integrated as part of the WEST project—a program of radical transformation that will turn the 30-year-old CEA-Euratom tokamak into a test bench for one of the most critical ITER components, the divertor.

A program of radical transformation is turning the 30-year-old CEA-Euratom tokamak into a test bench for one of the most critical ITER components, the divertor. (Click to view larger version...)
A program of radical transformation is turning the 30-year-old CEA-Euratom tokamak into a test bench for one of the most critical ITER components, the divertor.
The symbolic importance was emphasized by the choice of "workers" for the bolting job: Gabriele Fioni, director of CEA's Physical Sciences Division; Alain Bécoulet, director of CEA's Magnetic Fusion Research Institute (IRFM); Jérôme Bucalossi, head of the WEST project and Osamu Motojima, Director-General of the ITER Organization.

 "Our objective is to have the platform ready in early 2016, explains IRFM Deputy-Director André Grosman, and to launch experiments immediately after. Today, we laid the first stone; next year we'll install the internal coils that will act like ITER's bottom Poloidal Field Coil and create the "X Point" that draws the plasma to the divertor."

Click here to view a video animation of WEST's first component installation.


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