An outing into the future
Open Doors days occur with scientific regularity at ITER (spring and autumn) and yet—due to the rapid evolution of work on site—each event offers something new. Saturday 20 May was no different: the 800 registered visitors were guided in groups of 50 across the Tokamak Building ground-level basemat—something that wouldn't have been possible just a few months ago. Under a perfectly blue Provencal sky, visitors were just a few arms' lengths from the installation arena of the world's most complex scientific instrument and the concrete wall that surrounds it.
Exceptionally, ITER visitors were able to walk out across the L1 level slab (the ground floor) of the Tokamak Building. Only one plot remains to be poured; work is already underway on the L1-level walls.
A second stop on the tour brought participants to the European coil winding facility. A short climb, and visitors had access to the viewer gallery that runs the length of the 257-metre building, where fabrication activities have begun on one of the four poloidal field magnets that will be manufactured on site.
Specialists were on hand throughout the day at each of the tour stops as well as the Visitors Centre to guide first-time (and repeat) visitors through the complexities of fusion science and engineering, the international collaboration behind the project, and current status.
ITER Open Doors days couldn't take place without their participation. In the end, ITER scientists and engineers return home as content as the day's visitors—happy to have shared their corner of the ITER story and, for many, to have experienced how their daily work translates into an awesome steel and concrete reality.
Seeing where Mom or Dad work
Participants to the Open Doors Day event on Saturday 20 May were a mix of ITER families and members of the local public. Visiting the worksite of the world's most complex machine is always a sell-out event.
No need to leave toys at home! The tour of ITER was open to anyone aged four and up.
How to build a poloidal field coil, A to Z
In the Poloidal Field Coils Winding Facility, specialists were on hand to explain the different steps involved in the production of ITER's huge and powerful ring-shaped magnets.
Project manager Laurent Schmieder is in charge of the worksite for the European Domestic Agency (Division for site, buildings and power supplies). Receiving groups of visitors in front of the ITER bioshield, he uses a table full of props to explain the particularities, the complexity and the status of work on the Tokamak Complex.
One fabrication line on show—and it's complex!
A viewing gallery runs the full length of the 257-metre European winding facility. A perfect perch for explaining the materials and processes involved in the fabrication of the poloidal field coils.
50 kgs per metre
Sections of poloidal field conductor were passed from hand to hand during the visit of the winding facility. At 50 kilograms per metre, a section as long as a forearm was too heavy for the smallest participants...
All hands on deck
In the Visitors Centre-at-the-top-of-the-hill, guides were on hand to answer questions. In this case, ITER's Michael Loughlin, Nuclear Shielding & Analysis Coordinator, joins the official guides in helping out.
Once ITER, always ITER
Hans Spoor (left), head of the ITER Finance & Budget Division until his retirement in April 2011, had signed up as a visitor. But sure enough, he found himself naturally stepping in as an expert, happy to share his knowledge of the project. To the right is Jaap van der Laan, a nuclear engineer for the test blanket system.
In the Visitors Centre, simple displays, mockups, videos and posters help to tell the ITER story. And there are takeaways, for those who want to bring a piece of ITER home with them ...
Best spot for a photo
The viewpoint in front of the Visitors Centre is the best place for taking in all 42 hectares of the scientific platform. And of course for taking a souvenir photo ...
Too young perhaps for more detailed explanations on ITER, this little one is fascinated by the colours of a video that takes you on a virtual tour of the machine ... and reflects the pattern of her dress.
The different technical systems of the machine light up when you press the buttons of this popular ITER mockup.
Pointing to the future
Standing over the worksite on a clear Saturday in May. The ITER Open Doors event is held twice a year, in spring and autumn.
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