A special issue of the journal Nuclear Fusion, Progress in the ITER Physics Basis, has just been published online. The content will be freely accessible until 31 December 2007. The preface has been provided by the ITER Nominee Director General, Kaname Ikeda.
The publication provides an update on the significant progress made since the "ITER Physics Basis" issue was published in the Nuclear Fusion journal in 1999. Like the earlier edition, this special issue is an invaluable reference work on the progress of understanding the physics expected in ITER. In addition to an overview and a summary, it includes chapters on plasma confinement and transport, MHD stability, operational limits and disruptions, power and particle control, physics of energetic ions, steady state operation, diagnostics, plasma operation and control, and ITER contributions concerning DEMO plasma.
According to Mitsuru Kikuchi (JAEA-Naka Fusion Institute, Japan and Chairman of Nuclear Fusion), "this issue is the most comprehensive compilation of the present understanding of tokamak physics for ITER."
From 14-18 May, NDG Kaname Ikeda was in the USA, where he attended the 50th Anniversary Celebration at General Atomics in San Diego, USA. Mr. Ikeda also met with managers of the U.S. ITER Project Office in Oak Ridge to discuss progress and issues related to the collaborative effort. The U.S. Domestic Agency is hosted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) with partners Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and Savannah River National Laboratory.
In his first trip to Oak Ridge, Mr. Ikeda also met with local Department of Energy officials and representatives of project partner organizations. He toured ORNL's Leadership Computing Facility, which supports the U.S. ITER effort, and the Spallation Neutron Source, a successful DOE project.
Mr. Ikeda met Dr. Raymond Orbach, Under Secretary of DOE in Washington DC, with whom he discussed the progress and management of the ITER Project. Mr. Orbach stressed the importance the US puts on keeping close to the construction schedule and budget for ITER.
From 8-11 May, ITER Project Construction Leader Norbert Holtkamp visited China. He visited Western SC Institute in Xi'an, SWIP in Chengdu and ASIPP in Hefei.
In Beijing, he also met with Dr. Cheng Jinpei, Vice Minister of the Ministry of Science & Technology of China, in charge of all ITER and related responsibilities. Mr. Jinpei expressed his support for supplying resources needed for completing the design review and the finalization of the procurement packages. The establishment of the Chinese Domestic Agency will in all likelihood be somewhat delayed towards the end of 2007.
ITER components need to satisfy the highest quality standards. To guarantee this, a qualification process is planned for critical items, such as the plasma-facing components in the ITER divertor. A Party participating in the procurement package of such a component must demonstrate its technical capability through the successful and timely manufacturing of a medium-size "qualification prototype". The prototype includes all the most technically challenging features of the corresponding ITER design.
The work to create these prototypes is covered by Task Agreements between ITER and a Party to do a certain amount of work or research. The Divertor Qualification Task Agreements have recently been signed by the European, Japanese and Russian Federation Participant Teams, and kick-off meetings with the EU and Russian Federation Participant Team have already taken place. The meeting with the Japanese Participant Team is scheduled early in July.
"After more than one year of negotiations to resolve all the technical and formal details, that's an important step forward towards the procurement of the divertor", said Mario Merola of the ITER Divertor Section, "and it's equally important that it could start according to the planned time schedule".
The International School Manosque, for children whose parents work for the ITER project, will open its doors in September 2007. The school will also be open to children from the region around Manosque who would like to follow an international curriculum. Pending the construction of a building, the school will be accommodated in Lycée Les Iscles in Manosque, where from the beginning of the 2007 school year six language sections will be operational: English, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and Italian.
Depending on demand, other languages will be made available at a later date. The registration has been opened, and further information on the curriculum can be found in the Registration Brochure. Further information concerning the structure from September 2007 will soon be available on the Website.
The International School is managed by Jean-Pierre Hardy, who is currently working together with representatives of the ITER Parents and representatives of the Region to optimize the arrangements at the school, such as the size and composition of classes, the languages taught, and the transportation issues. Parents have elected their representatives for interfacing with the educational Authoroties. On a meeting held on 4 June in the Château Cadarache, Mr. Hardy responded to 35 detailed questions by the parents on the curriculum and the organization of the school.
A science open day was held for the first time at the French Embassy in Washington DC on Saturday 12 May. ITER was presented through a scale model and brochures provided by the ITER Organization and Agence ITER France. Some 3700 visitors turned up, roughly three times more than was expected. From the reactions of the public it was clear that there was a keen awareness of climate change and a strong interest in nuclear energy, in particular in the French nuclear program. The ITER model drew the attention of young and old. On 29 May, the Vice-Chairman of the Budgets Committee of the European Parliament, Mr. Kyösti Virrankoski, visited ITER.
He viewed the ITER construction site where he discussed the progress with François Gauché, Director of Agence ITER France, in charge of the site arrangements. Subsequently, Mr. Virrankoski had private discussions with NDG Ikeda.
The European Commission has suggested establishing an agreement between Brazil and Euratom, the European Atomic Energy Community, along the lines of agreements already in place with other countries. The agreement could either focus on the specific field of fusion, by support Brazil's accession to the ITER project, or on broader areas of nuclear research. The suggestion accompanies a proposal by the Commission to form a Strategic Partnership between the EU and Brazil. On Wednesday, 30 May, twenty spouses and eight children took up an invitation by Agence ITER France and visited the Chocolate factory "Chocolaterie de Puyricard". After a guided tour through this sweet wonderland and an introduction into authentic chocolate making - including the tasting of the finished product, lunch was served in the garden of the Château de la Pioline, a castle built in the 16th century at Les Milles near Aix-en-Provence.
After lunch, the group embarked on a walk to the Barrage de Bimont, a dam which provides drinking water for the city of Aix-en-Provence. The ITER spouses Discovery Days are organized by Agence ITER France. Contact: Véronique Marfaing (Veronique.marfaingcea.fr)
On 30-31 May, the Management Advisory Committee (MAC) to the Interim ITER Council was convened for the first time, in Gréoux-les-Bains (near Cadarache). The majority of MAC members are government-level representatives of the ITER Parties, and its goal is to advise the ITER Council on matters such as ITER project management, budget allocations, and other administrative issues.
The first MAC was moderated by Mr. Bob Iotti, president of the engineering company CH2M-WG Idaho. The activities of the ITER Organization since the opening of the Cadarche Joint Work Site in March 2006 were presented by ITER senior management. Included in these were a general overview of the activities by NDG Kaname Ikeda, a presentation on ITER project management and the progress in the development of an integrated project schedule by NPDDG Norbert Holtkamp, and a presentation by Eisuke Tada on the function and major activities of the ITER Project Office. Mr. Tada also presented a proposal for the establishment of a group to coordinate the project activities between the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies, which was supported by the MAC.
Further presentations were given on the current staffing status and plans, the resource estimates for 2007/2008, guidelines for the in-kind procurement process, and the Headquarters Agreement between the IO and the French State, which provides the priviliges and immunities for the ITER staff.
On 8 June, the ITER Organization has advertised 21 open positions. The job descriptions and instructions on how to apply can be found here.
The second Interim ITER Council will be held on 11-12 July in Tokyo, Japan. A preparatory meeting will be held at the Japan Atomic Energy Agency on the 10th July.
At the moment, an appreciable fraction of the world wide fusion community is involved in the ongoing ITER design review. During a meeting held on 5 June, the chairmen of the eight design review working groups reported that the design review is well on track for most of the issue groups distilled from the 450 original issues.
In two 4-day meetings in July and September the working groups will present their recommendations to the ITER management in order to take decisions (adopting, rejecting or further study) on proposed design requirements or design changes. If recommendations are adopted they will be entered formally into the standard ITER process for design changes, where they will be studied in detail by the Participant Teams and the ITER Organization. Adopted requirements and design changes will be entered into the ITER baseline 2007. The complete process should be finalised until November this year where the ITER council is expected to adopt the new baseline design of ITER.
Before ITER can be established formally as an International Organization, the ITER Agreement needs to be ratified, accepted or approved, in accordance with the procedures of each ITER Party. The Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is the Depository of the ITER Agreement and has received to date the confirmation by India, Korea and the European Union that they have finalised their procedures.
In the case of Japan, the ITER Organization has received information that the ratifications at the parliaments have been completed and their confirmation can be sent to the IAEA within a month. The US is also expected to send the necessary confirmation document to the Depository at the IAEA within a month. In the Russian Federation and China, the process is expected to be concluded within a short period of time.
On 4 June, two representatives of the Japanese Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) visited ITER.
Ms Kusumi (Commissioner of NSC), and Ms. Ishikawa (Deputy Director, Radiation Protection and Accident Management Division, NSC) had discussions with Carlos Alejaldre, Deputy Director-General for Safety and Security on ITER safety issues. They also spoke to NDG Ikeda, visited the Tore Supra facilities, the ITER construction site, and a research reactor at the CEA site.
A new book, "Inertial Confinement Fusion: A Historical Approach by Its Pioneers", has just been published by the UK publishing firm of Foxwell and Davies. The book, costing 30 Euros, can be purchased online at their website. The book describes the history of the research on inertial confinement nuclear fusion over the past 50 years. It is edited by Guillermo Velarde (Director of the Nuclear Fusion Institute, Polytechnical Univerity of Madrid), and Natividad Carpintero Santamaria (Professor at the same university). Every decade, the U.S. National Academies conducts a survey that assesses the progress achieved in the field of plasma science and engineering, and formulates an outlook for the future. The last report was published in 1995.
The new report has just been finished and was released on 29 May, 2007. It examines the status of research in low-temperature science and engineering, high energy density plasma physics, magnetic fusion, space and astrophysical plasmas, and the basic plasma science, and makes recommendations to the U.S. government to improve the national effort. The report is available on the website of the National Academies.