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Latest ITER Newsline

  • Question of the week | Will fusion run out of fuel?

    One of the paradoxes of fusion, the virtually inexhaustible energy of the future, is that it relies on an element that does not exist—or just barely. Tritium, o [...]

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  • Managing data | Setting up a robust process

    Are the ITER systems and processes robust enough to manage the technical and project data for a program of ITER's complexity? Will quality information be made a [...]

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  • Image of the week | Bullseye

    Two perfectly circular structures, looking a lot like archery targets, have been installed on the west-facing wall of the Tokamak Complex. They are not for sh [...]

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  • Art and science | Seeking new perspectives on fusion

    Standing in the middle of the Tokamak Building, sound artist Julian Weaver positions his 3D microphone near one of the openings of the bioshield to record the s [...]

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  • Worksite photos | The view one never tires of

    For the past three-and a half years, ITER Communication has been documenting construction progress from the top of the tallest crane on the ITER worksite. Altho [...]

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Of Interest

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First steps towards "energizing"

It takes more than the flipping of a switch to connect the ITER site to the French national grid. The operation, called a "first energizing," is a complex, step-by-step procedure that requires close coordination with the French transmission system operator RTE (Réseau de transport d'électricité).

ITER head of Plant Engineering Sergio Orlandi (centre) and the ITER ''electricians''—head of division Ivone Benfatto and section leader Joël Hourtoule, along with Jeremy Sanna and Marco Olivier—stand at the edge of the switchyard as operations unfold. Also present is head of Communications Laban Coblentz. (Click to view larger version...)
ITER head of Plant Engineering Sergio Orlandi (centre) and the ITER ''electricians''—head of division Ivone Benfatto and section leader Joël Hourtoule, along with Jeremy Sanna and Marco Olivier—stand at the edge of the switchyard as operations unfold. Also present is head of Communications Laban Coblentz.
For the moment, the electrical needs of the ITER worksite and buildings are covered by a 15 kV line extended from the neighbouring CEA research centre. But as activity increases the installation will feed directly from the grid through the switchyard that sprawls over four hectares at the southeast end of the platform.

Preparation for this moment—an ITER Council milestone to be achieved during the first quarter of 2017—began on Friday 20 January at the first of the seven switchyard's "bays." Busbars, switches, pantographs, breakers ... all of the complex equipment and systems that link the grid to the ITER transformers were activated and tested in close coordination with RTE control room in Marseille.

Tests will continue for the other bays individually and will conclude with the energization of the entire switchyard. The steady state electrical network (SSEN), which occupies four bays out of seven, is set to be operational in June, whereas the pulsed power electrical network (PPEN), which is only needed for Tokamak operation, will be energized at a later date.

Performed under "real" conditions, Friday's operations provided a precious opportunity to test and demonstrate the integration of the ITER installation (with all its specificities) into the environment of France's national grid. Beyond the technical dimension, they represented a full-fledged exercise in coordination, methodology, and safety procedures that will be applicable to other plant systems.


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