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Of Interest

See archived articles

Significant progress underway in Test Breeding Module program

Luciano Giancarli, TBM Section Leader

TBM Program Committee members met in October to manage the various aspects of the ITER TBM program and to review the implementation of tritium breeding modules, which must be tested in ITER to demonstrate the capability of achieving tritium breeding self-sufficiency in a future fusion DEMO plant. (Click to view larger version...)
TBM Program Committee members met in October to manage the various aspects of the ITER TBM program and to review the implementation of tritium breeding modules, which must be tested in ITER to demonstrate the capability of achieving tritium breeding self-sufficiency in a future fusion DEMO plant.
On 6-7 October, the committee charged with the governance of the Test Blanket Module (TBM) program convened at ITER Headquarters for its 12th meeting. The TBM Program Committee meets twice a year to manage the various aspects of the ITER TBM program and to review the implementation of tritium breeding modules, which must be tested in ITER to demonstrate the capability of achieving tritium breeding self-sufficiency in a future fusion DEMO plant. The committee's findings are reported each time to the ITER Council.

Significant progress was reported at the 12th meeting. In line with the TBM program schedule, four TBM Arrangements (TBMAs) have already been signed this year (with China in February, Korea in May, and two with Europe in September); the remaining two are planned for signature in the next few months. TBMAs are the documents that govern the activities related to construction, delivery and acceptance testing of the Test Blanket Systems.

The successful signatures now open the way to the next phase of the TBM program: conceptual design reviews for the six Test Blanket Systems and the associated ITER Organization activities on integration and maintenance.

The outcomes of conceptual design reviews performed in July (for China's Helium-Cooled Ceramic Breeder Test Blanket System and associated ITER Organization activities) and in September (for the Test Blanket System connection pipes) were reported and the Committee noted that the corresponding conceptual design approval is expected before the end of the year. A presentation and assessment of the main outcomes of all conceptual design reviews is planned for the spring meeting of the TBM Program Committee.

Good progress was also noted in the R&D activities carried out by all the seven ITER Members, as the Committee verified and confirmed the main activity milestones planned for 2014 and 2015. Progress was also reported on the activities required for the preparation of Radwaste Management Agreements, which will define how the radwaste related to the Test Blanket Systems will be dealt with during ITER operation and decommissioning.

The Test Blanket Program Working Group on Radwaste Management* reported on the technical work accomplished for the preparation of harmonized data and, in particular, convergence on a common approach for tritium inventory estimates was noted. Agence Iter France detailed the progress made in the assessment of data received from the ITER Members and on the related interaction with ANDRA (Agence nationale pour la gestion des déchets radioactifs), the French agency for radioactive waste management.

Agence Iter France also proposed a draft roadmap towards the establishment of the tripartite agreements involving the Host State, ITER Members and the ITER Organization, which will establish an agreed framework for the management of the radwaste associated with each Test Blanket System. The proposal was noted by the 12th Test Blanket Module Program Committee and will be further discussed at the next meeting.

*The Test Blanket Program Working Group on Radwaste Management comprises ITER Members' Test Blanket Module representatives; ITER Organization representatives for the TBM Program, radwaste management and safety; legal experts from all the contributing Members; and representatives from Agence Iter France (as the interface between ITER and the Host country, France).



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