China signs final Procurement Arrangement
An important milestone was celebrated on the margins of the ITER Council last week when the head of ITER China, Luo Delong, and ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot signed the Blanket First Wall Procurement Arrangement on 16 November. This was the last remaining Procurement Arrangement scheduled for signature by the Chinese Domestic Agency in the context of its "in-kind" procurement commitments to the project.
The head of the Chinese Domestic Agency, Luo Delong, and ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot sign the Blanket First Wall Procurement Arrangment on 16 November. China has now signed Procurement Arrangements for all of its ''in-kind'' scope.
Since the first Procurement Arrangement signed by China in June 2008 for toroidal field magnet conductors, the Chinese Domestic Agency has signed a total of 14 Procurement Arrangements plus four Complementary Diagnostic Arrangements. Every Procurement Arrangement represents the transfer of a specific scope of work from the ITER Organization to an ITER Domestic Agency.
"This achievement represents the culmination of an intense, dedicated effort in China aimed at developing the required high heat flux technology, which was successfully completed with the testing of prototypes
under loading conditions above the ITER requirements," said Mario Merola, head of the Internal Components Division at ITER. Rene Raffray, Blanket Section leader, added: "We have established a strong and productive collaborative effort with our Chinese colleagues during the design and qualification phase and I look forward to continuing this collaboration during the forthcoming procurement phase."
The Procurement Arrangement concerns enhanced heat flux blanket first wall panels located in the inboard equatorial region of the vacuum chamber. Other enhanced heat flux first wall panels will be supplied by Russia (Procurement Arrangement signed in 2014
), while Europe is procuring the normal heat flux panels (Procurement Arrangement planned next year).
The blanket first wall—being the primary interface to the plasma—absorbs radiation and particle heat fluxes from the plasma; it also provides a plasma-facing surface compatible with plasma performance requirements and a limiting surface that defines the plasma boundary during plasma start-up/ramp-down. To fulfil its function, the first wall panels are armoured with beryllium and designed to accommodate high surface heat fluxes (up to 4.7 MW/m2). The panels are actively cooled by pressurized water. Included in the scope of the Procurement Arrangement are the related central bolt assemblies (to mount the panels onto the shield blocks), pads (to react the electromagnetic loads), electrical strap assemblies (to route the eddy and halo currents to the shield blocks) as well as the water connection pipes to the shield blocks.
Kun Wang, the Chinese Domestic Agency Responsible Officer for this Procurement Arrangement welcomed last week's signature milestone, declaring: "More than 10 years of effort have now culminated with this Procurement Arrangement signature and it is such an exciting moment! We are entering a new phase for the blanket first wall procurement and, together with our ITER Organization colleagues, I look forward to further collaboration."
The next step in the procurement process will be for Liman Bao, the ITER Organization technical responsible officer for this Procurement Arrangement, to kick off the procurement activities. To this aim, an in-person meeting has already been scheduled in December between the Chinese Domestic Agency and the ITER Organization.
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