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Anatoli Krasilnikov, Head of the Russian Domestic Agency.
The Russian Domestic Agency was created in May 2007 on the premises of the Kurchatov Institute research centre by a special decree of the Russian government. The Russian Domestic Agency is composed of five divisions: Project Management, Technical Systems, Science and IT Technologies, Engineering and Design, plus Administrative Support. The Agency operates in very close cooperation with the state corporation "Rosatom" which is responsible for the Russian contribution to the ITER Project.

The main task of the Russian Domestic Agency is to organize the cooperation of national science labs and industry in the manufacturing and procurement of the Russian in-kind contributions to ITER. These contributions include more than 20 systems such as: superconductors for the ITER magnets made out of niobium-tin (Nb3Sn) and niobium-titanium (NbTi) alloys; blanket shield modules and their connections; the first wall; the upper ports, poloidal field coil number one; the divertor dome; the power supply; the gyrotrons; nine of the diagnostic systems, etc.

For all these systems, the main responsible scientific centres have already been determined. These are the Efremov Institute in St. Petersburg, the Research and Design Institute for Power Engineering NIKIET near Moscow, the Bochvar Institute in Moscow, the Institute of Applied Physics in Nizhniy Novgorog, the Ioffe Institute in St. Petersburg and the State Research Center RF TRINITI in Troitsk. We also have a cooperation set up with TVEL, and let's not forget the Kurchatov Institute.

At the moment, the team here in the Agency comprises 43 specialists, and we expect this number to rise to 65 permanent positions as we move ahead toward signing off Procurement Arrangements. Four Procurement Arrangements for Russias share of the conductors for the toroidal and poloidal field coils, the divertor dome, and the upper ports have already been signed, two more for poloidal field coil number one and the high heat-flux tests of the divertor's plasma-facing components will be signed before the end of this year.

In line with the ITER Integrated Project Schedule, the Russian government provided the necessary budget for the development and the manufacturing of the Russian share to the ITER systems back in 2007. This resulted in intense activity of system development within the frame of the Russian responsibility. Taking into account the priority of the systems on the critical path to First Plasma in 2018, we are focusing on the manufacturing of the Nb3Sn and NbTi superconductors, poloidal field coil number one, and the upper port.

JET has just entered a 15-month-long period of refurbishment that will be concluded with a deuterium and tritium experiment. "We anticipate going beyond the previously achieved results of generated fusion energy," says Romanelli.
Francesco Romanelli has been the EFDA Associate Leader for JET since July 2006. He graduated in Physics in 1980 and started his career as a research scientist at ENEA, Italy. In 1996, he became leader of the Magnetic Confinement Fusion Physics Section at ENEA. Francesco Romanelli is also a member of the ITER Science and Technology Advisory Committee (STAC).

Newsline: Today begins the JET shutdown—the first step in a 15 month-long period of refurbishment. What exactly is planned during this period?

Romanelli: During the shutdown period, we will remove all of the in-vessel components from the JET vacuum vessel that are presently made entirely of carbon materials. These will be replaced by a combination of beryllium and tungsten components, for the first wall and the divertor respectively, that will mimic the situation of the in-vessel components of ITER. In parallel, we will increase our diagnostic and control capabilities. On top of that, the heating power will be increased by about 50 percent bringing the neutral beam power available to the plasma from about 23 to 34 megawatts.

Newsline: So the carbon tiles in the vessel will be exchanged for beryllium and tungsten tiles. What do physicists hope to learn from this experiment?

Romanelli: We hope to fully demonstrate the capability of achieving high performance plasmas by using the same plasma-facing material as that foreseen for ITER. In doing so, we may bring forward the decision for the tungsten divertor installation at ITER, minimizing the time needed for the full ITER exploitation. We will conclude the shutdown period at JET with a deuterium and tritium experiment in which we anticipate to go beyond the previously achieved results of generated fusion energy.

Newsline: What do you expect from JET's new tungsten divertor in terms of experimental results with regard to ITER?

Romanelli: In order to maximize the machine's potential, we have to use a material with low deuterium and tritium retention to avoid having to clean the vessel too often. This is a concern for ITER, and we expect to rectify this by changing the carbon divertor to tungsten.

Newsline: Most recently, just before the shutdown, you ran some high current experiments at JET. Can you explain the importance of these experiments?

Romanelli: First of all, we need to characterize the behaviour of the plasma near its edge with the carbon wall, in order to have a reference for the study that will take place after the installation of the new beryllium wall. In addition to this, JET demonstrated its capability to run closer to its maximum performance with high current charges up to 4.5 MA that took place one week ago, achieving very interesting results. The increase in power will improve the accessibility of these conditions.

Newsline: Fifteen months is a long period of time. How do the physicists on site keep themselves busy?

Romanelli: We currently have approximately 350 scientists from Europe and 100 scientists from other international collaborators participating in the JET program. They will be involved in the analysis of the data taken over the last two years, a period in which we have done some very successful experiments. The results obtained have had an impact on both the ITER design and the preparation of its exploitation. In parallel we will start the preparation of the campaign beginning in 2011 with the newly appointed JET Task Force leaders.

STAC in full swing: Principal Deputy Director-General Norbert Holtkamp, Alberto Loarte, STAC Chairman Predhiman Kaw and ITER Director-General Kaname Ikeda.
This week, from Wednesday until Friday, the ITER Science and Technology Advisory Committee (STAC) convened in Cadarache for the seventh time—and there was much at stake. No less than seven major items amongst them the heating systems, the in-vessel coils and the Tritium Plant were reviewed in great detail with special focus on their technical integration. Much time was also spent on discussion on the overall ITER research plan and risk mitigation.

"STAC is highly impressed by the quality and quantity of work completed by the ITER Organization, the Domestic Agencies and their contractors in preparing for the approval of the technical baseline of ITER," said the chairman of the STAC, Predhiman Kaw. "STAC is also pleased to recommend the acceptance of the technical elements of scope of ITER into the technical baseline."

"This is a big step towards the vacuum vessel construction," said Kimihiro Ioki.
Last week, the inter-departmental team in charge of designing the ITER vacuum vessel had reason to celebrate. "This is a big step towards the vacuum vessel construction," stated Division Head Kimihiro Ioki when he received the letter from the Agreed Notified Body (ANB), a private company authorized by the French Nuclear Regulator to assess conformity of nuclear pressure equipment and to provide the preliminary approval of the vacuum vessel design.

The report represented the ANB's conclusions regarding the vacuum vessel baseline design, pressure testing, and all materials including the materials for the in-wall shielding of the vacuum vessel. "We still have a lot to do to get approval for the Modified Reference Design decided in July this year," says Gary Johnson, ITER Deputy Director-General for the Tokamak. "But this is a very big step along the way. This 'Preliminary Design Approval at the End of Phase 1' represents a critical milestone for the project and clearly shows that we are on the right track!"

Family members of CEA-Cadarache and ITER staff were given a unique opportunity to visit laboratories, installations and work sites.
Some sovereign countries are much smaller than Cadarache. Covering more than 1,600 hundreds hectares—870 within the enclosure—the Centre is about eight times the size of the Principality of Monaco.

So there was room enough, last Friday and Saturday, to accommodate the 6,000 guests that had gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of CEA's largest research centre.

Family members of CEA-Cadarache and ITER staff were given a unique opportunity to visit laboratories, installations and work sites, and to experience "lunch at the canteen."

Here are some snapshots of this memorable event.

Click here to view photos of the event...

Participants from ITER, UKAEA, AREVA, and industry experts convened at the UKAEA Headquarters in Chilton, UK on 29-30 September to discuss decontamination and cleaning methods.
A Decontamination and Cleaning Methods Workshop was held at the UKAEA Headquarters in Chilton, UK, on 29-30 September, with participants from ITER, UKAEA, AREVA, and industry experts.

Members of the ITER Radwaste, Remote Handling and Hot Cell & Radwaste Service Integration Sections were present to discuss the best methods of decontaminating and cleaning tools and equipment that will be exposed to the harsh environment inside of the ITER Tokamak. These include components that make up the interior surface of the vacuum vessel, and tools used for remote handling operations inside of the vessel.

During operation of the ITER Tokamak, particles of tritium, beryllium and activated dust will adhere to the exposed interior surfaces of the vacuum vessel. Decontamination and cleaning of tools and in-vessel components will be necessary in the Hot Cell Facility prior to hands-on maintenance activities, or for storage or disposal.

Maximizing contaminant removal from components within the shortest possible timeframe, and within the operational constraints of the cleaning cells of the Hot Cell Facility at ITER, is the difficult and challenging task that was discussed during the workshop.

Several techniques were investigated, assessed and ranked based on feedback from industry and the experiences of other fusion machines. Standing out as the most attractive options are laser ablation and CO2 blasting methods that loosen surface contaminants, associated with vacuum techniques for removal. Also discussed were ways to keep the radioactive inventory in the ITER Hot Cell Facility to a minimum.

Hundreds of specialists gathered in Hefei to exchange ideas and catch up with developments in the field of magnetic science.
Forefront magnet science linked to characteristic Chinese hospitality and efficiency made the 21st Magnet and Technology Conference an outstanding success.

Hundreds of specialists, students and industry representatives gathered in Hefei to exchange ideas and catch up with developments in the field.

The conference was organized by the Institute of Electrical Engineering and the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The week-long conference had a distinct flavour of fusion with visits to the East Tokamak and the future ITER superconducting cable jacketing line at ASIPP, Institute of Plasma Physics, in Hefei; an ITER exhibition; and of course a wide range of talks and papers on ITER-related subjects. The flavour of fusion will be maintained as the next Magnet and Technology Conference, jointly organized by ITER and the CEA, will be held the in Parc Chanot Conference Centre in Marseille in September 2011.

Luo Delong (left) and Jiangan Li shaking hands after the signing ceremony in Beijing.
The Chinese Domestic Agency, established on 16 October 2008, has awarded its first contract to the Institute of Plasma Physics (ASIPP), located in Hefei. The contract covers the manufacture of one 765-metre long Cu dummy and one 100-metre long Nb3Sn cable-in-conduit conductor for the ITER toroidal field coils.

These two lengths are part of the process qualification phase of the Toroidal Field Conductor Procurement Arrangement and will be produced on the 900-metre-long jacketing line presently under commissioning at ASIPP. The contract was signed in Beijing on 23 October 2009 by Luo Delong, head of the Chinese Domestic Agency, and Jiangan Li, director of ASIPP.

"This contract is a significant milestone that demonstrates the strong commitment of China in building its share of ITER," said Luo Delong.

Vladimir Vlasenkov and Carl Strawbridge—who officially retired a few weeks ago—obviously enjoy writing the summary report of the second Technical Integration Subgroup meeting.
At its last meeting in Mito, Japan, in June this year, the ITER Council had asked its Management Advisory Committee (MAC) to "reconvene the subgroup on ITER Technical Integration to review the progress in the ITER Organization approach to integration of systems, components and structures into final design and construction, and advise the ITER Organization as necessary."

According to this request, the chairman of this Technical Integration subgroup, Vladimir Vlasenkov, called in a first meeting in May this year which was followed by another meeting this week in the ITER Headquarters in Cadarache. Members of this group are Bharat Kumar Manda from India, Carl Strawbridge and Charles Neumeyer from the US, Makoto Sugimoto from Japan, Tom Todd on behalf of Europe, and Young Suk Hur from Korea. As some of the issues discussed are of concern both to the MAC and the Science and Technology Advisory Committee, the STAC Members Michael Pick (EU), Qingquan Yu (China), Taro Matsumoto (Japan) and Erol Oktay from the US were invited to participate.

The outcome of this three-day review will be handed over to the MAC meeting next week. In a first summary Vladimir Vlasenkov and Carl Strawbridge acknowledged "the extensive amount of work that has been done since the last meeting."

At ITER, Barbara's job is to check the design of the ITER blanket against calculations, in order to verify that the interfaces all concord.
In high school, Barbara Calcagno's favourite subjects were Latin, Greek and the humanities. Then why did she choose to become an engineer? For the challenge, of course, and also because engineering seemed to be the best ticket to an international career—something she'd had in mind since she was a teenager in Genoa, Italy.

Barbara is a mechanical engineer, with a particular interest in hydraulics and thermal engineering issues. She enjoys thinking outside of the box. "Sometimes, my broader interests in physics allow me to come up with solutions that are outside of the traditional realm of mechanical engineering," she explains.

Barbara was able to find balance between engineering, physics and international travel from the start of her career. She left Italy after her engineering studies at the University of Genoa to complete her final thesis at CERN's Neutrino Beam Experiment. For a new engineer, the variety of engineering opportunities at CERN was exciting; Barbara went on to work as a mechanical engineer for the ATLAS project, and as an Engineering Fellow at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). She perfected her English and French during her time in Geneva, and—through friends—learned Spanish.

"Life was relatively easy in a clean, well-organized city like Geneva, full of expats like me. But after nearly six years, I felt ready to get back in touch with the 'real' world," says Barbara. Attracted by Barcelona's climate, she accepted an engineering position at the ALBA synchrotron light facility. But as the most experienced engineer in her field, she quickly felt as though the learning opportunities at that facility were limited.

It was 2006, and the ITER Project was beginning to recruit in the south of France. "I applied to the first two positions that opened in my field, even if they weren't perfectly adapted to me. I wasn't successful, but I knew I wanted to work at ITER!" says Barbara. Not one to back down from a challenge, she made the move to Provence, and in July 2007, started at ITER on a temporary contract in the Vacuum Vessel Section. This past summer, Barbara was recruited for an ITER position in the Blanket Section.

At ITER, Barbara has a job that she loves. As Design Engineer/Analyst, she is part of a team that is checking the design of the ITER blanket against calculations, in order to verify that the very complex interfaces all concord. "I love being part of an international team," says Barbara. "The work is intense, and I'm learning from specialists in every field." In her spare time, she enjoys life in the countryside, writing, reading and ... as always ... travel.