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Of Interest

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David Campbell
The ITER plasma control system (PCS) will have a key role in the operation of the ITER Tokamak. The plasma control system will consist essentially of a sophisticated computer program running within the CODAC environment, which will handle the many interfaces between the plasma control system and the ITER systems. Its function will be to control simultaneously many aspects of the ITER plasma—the plasma current, position and shape, the density, the fusion power level, the exhaust power flowing onto the divertor, and so on—so as to keep the plasma producing fusion power at the desired level for many hundreds, or even thousands of seconds.

It will also provide the first level of "exception handling" to provide a controlled response to "off-normal" events. It will make use of inputs from many of the ITER diagnostic systems and will send control signals out to the systems involved in producing and maintaining the plasma, ranging from the power supplies for the superconducting magnets, through the heating and current drive systems, to the plasma fuelling systems.

Over the past year the Fusion Science & Technology (FST) Department has been responsible for developing the system requirements for the plasma control system, and thoughts are now turning to the development of the system's conceptual design. Operational experience in present tokamaks will have a significant impact on our thinking about the structure and functionality of the ITER plasma control system. An ITER Plasma Control Workshop has therefore been organized at the Cadarache Château during next week, 8-12 December, to bring together some of the world's leading experts in this area and to review their experience in operating plasma control systems on the world's major magnetic fusion devices.

The workshop will be an opportunity for the ITER experts to present our current ideas on what the ITER system should do and how it should operate, and to hear from the international experts what their own experience has been in developing and running the complex plasma control systems which are at the heart of today's major experiments. At the end of the workshop we expect to be able to draw up guidelines for launching the conceptual design activities for the plasma control system.

Another opportunity for a major interaction with the international fusion community will occur during the following week in Daejeon, Korea, when the National Fusion Research Institute hosts the 8th International Energy Agency (IEA) Large Tokamak Workshop. This workshop will bring together the leadership of the International Tokamak Physics Activity (ITPA) community and program leaders from the major fusion research facilities in the ITER Members to review and agree on proposals made by the ITPA Topical Groups for collaborative studies in support of ITER's main physics R&D issues. Joint experimental work, in which coordinated experiments on key questions in fusion physics are conducted in several tokamak facilities, has proven to be a powerful tool for advancing our understanding of tokamak plasmas.

During the two-day meeting, the IEA and ITPA experts will review the progress which has been made in conducting experiments across a wide range of issues, including disruption mitigation, ELM control and studies of ITER plasma operating scenarios. The major output from the meeting will be an agreement among the program leaders on the priorities for operational time for joint experiments in 2010.

A third major area of international collaboration which FST has been developing relates to the integrated modelling program. An Integrated Modelling Expert Group (IMEG), involving experts nominated by the ITER Domestic Agencies from the Members' fusion communities, met for the first time in June 2009 to review the ITER Organization's proposal for an integrated modelling activity on fusion plasmas, and it has now issued its report.

Not surprisingly, the report highlights the need for a proper balance between standards and guidelines and the available resources. The integrated modelling program is now moving to the implementation stage with a call for tender for the definition and development of an integrated modelling infrastructure. IMEG and FST will work together to prepare a revised program proposal incorporating IMEG's comments and recommendations.

Aerial view of the NSE jacketing facility in Kita-Kyushu.
In January this year, a ground-breaking ceremony took place at Nippon Steel Engineering (NSE), a steel production plant situated in Kita-Kyushu, on the northern tip of the Japanese island of Kyushu. NSE was selected by the Japanese Domestic Agency to carry out the jacketing of its share of conductors for ITER's toroidal field coils and the central solenoid.

The conductors for the ITER magnets are made of a rope-type cable inserted into a conduit along which circulates a forced flow of supercritical helium. The conduit itself is made up of seamless tubes which are butt-welded together. It is assembled straight on a so-called jacketing line. After cable insertion into the conduit, the assembly is compacted to the final conductor dimension and spooled for transportation to the coil winding site.

This summer, NSE completed the civil engineering of the 950-metre-long facility; since then, the company has been installing and commissioning the required equipment, including welding and welding inspection tools, a winch for cable insertion and compaction, spooling, and local and global helium testing equipment.

Before shipment, the conductor undergoes various acceptance tests, including helium pressure and leak tests in a vacuum tank. At present, NSE together with the Japanese Domestic Agency are clearing the qualification procedure hold points and have received the green light from the ITER Organization to start welding their first, 760-metre-long toroidal field jacket assembly. This conduit will be used for the jacketing of a dummy cable made of copper, already produced by Hitachi to complete the validation of the conductor manufacturing process.

The first jacketing will take place early January 2010 and will mark another milestone in the launching of conductor production, which Japan has been actively leading since the signature of the Toroidal Field Conductor Procurement Arrangement in November 2007.

First components pass "Authorization-to-Proceed" check

Acceptance testing and quality control is not only obligatory for the jacketing manufacturing procedure, but also for the conductor itself. Especially due to the fact that the fabrication of ITER's superconducting magnets will take place in different locations around the world, the implementation of a tight quality assurance and quality control plan involving the Domestic Agencies and their suppliers is crucial to insure that all conductors meet the same technical requirements.

This plan includes a procedure for issuing "Authorization-to-Proceed" (ATP) clearances at key steps of the suppliers' manufacturing processes. The clearances are granted by the Domestic Agencies, who notify the ITER Organization. If there is no objection to the ATP clearance, the work can proceed to the next manufacturing step. The clearances are granted by the ITER Organization on the grounds of acceptance requirements which are clearly defined in the Procurement Arrangements. The whole process is handled electronically through the ITER-developed Conductor Database.

The Japanese and the Korean Domestic Agencies have recently cleared their first ATP points: Japan passed the check for the production of a 760-metre copper cable required for qualifying their cabling process; while Korea produced 14 niobium-tin (Nb3Sn) strand billets (about 0.6 tonnes) for their first superconducting cable length. These are the first ITER-relevant components to go through the ATP process, marking another critical milestone in the manufacturing of ITER conductors.

Three reviews in one flap

And there is more progress on the magnets front. In an intensive week, taking best possible advantage of the availability of experts from China and external institutes, ITER's magnet division organized three final design reviews, hosted by the Institute of Plasma Physics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ASIPP) in Hefei.

The first review was dedicated to the supports of the toroidal and poloidal field coils and the correction coils. The review panel was chaired by Pierre Védrine from CEA. The second panel focusing on the conductor for the correction coils was chaired by Reinhard Heller from the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe in Germany. The third review, addressing the correction coils themselves, was chaired by Elwyn Baynham from the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

The 18 correction coils are grouped by pairs and inserted between the toroidal and the poloidal field coils. Their role is to compensate the magnetic error fields resulting from coil misalignment and tolerances. They use a 10 kA niobium-titanium alloy (NbTi) conductor very similar to that used in the coils of the Chinese tokamak EAST, and it is planned that both the conductor and the coils will be delivered by China. The reviews were organized at Hefei at close distance from the place where the conductor will be jacketed and the coils wound. The jacketing line in Hefei is near completion and will be also used to jacket China's share of the conductors for ITER's toroidal and poloidal field coils as well as the feeders. As there were no showstoppers identified in the review meetings, the road is paved towards the signature of the Procurement Arrangements for both the correction coil conductor and the correction coil itself—both scheduled for early 2010.

Installation of the TBM mock-up enclosure into a DIII-D horizontal port. The enclosure was designed by the DIII-D engineer in the foreground, Amy Bozek.
EUROFER 97 steel is a candidate structural material for future fusion power reactors, as well as for the Test Blanket Modules (TBMs) to be tested in ITER. EUROFER 97 can withstand the high heat and neutron fluxes in a fusion reactor. But it is also ferromagnetic and will produce stray magnetic fields that will interact with the magnetic fields of the tokamak. It is expected to increase the localized ripple in the toroidal magnetic field which could enhance energetic particle losses and reduce thermal energy and particle confinement.

"Estimations of the effect varied from negligible to significant," says Joe Snipes, Senior Scientific Officer for Integrated Scenarios, "and the effects on confinement are very hard to calculate." This is why at last year's MHD workshop in Austin, Texas, Joe proposed an experiment that would seek to prove whether the fears were justified or not. It was the team at the DIII-D Tokamak situated near San Diego, California, who reached out to assist ITER in sorting out the issue.

One year later, the results are on the table and they are "pretty encouraging," as Joe expresses it. "We do see an impact from the TBM's magnetic fields, but it is not by far what we feared it would be. Across a wide range of plasma conditions, plasma rotation is reduced by 10 to 50 percent, but particle and energy confinement are unaffected under some conditions and only reach 15 to 20 percent reduction at the highest levels of localized ripple, which were three to five times what the TBMs in ITER will produce. Based on these initial results, we expect the TBMs will have little effect on ITER."

In order to mimic the situation on ITER, the DIII-D team did not simulate a full TBM support structure, but instead used a special electromagnet that generated the magnetic field that would have been induced in the ferromagnetic steel.

"DIII-D was the ideal test-bed to run this experiment," says Joe. "Thanks to Tony Taylor and his team and of course to all the scientists and engineers from around the world that assisted." And for the history books he adds: "This solid effort would certainly not have happened without President Obama's Stimulus Package."

A toast to Alan Costley and a half-century of contribution to fusion physics.
This week, the ITER community will be saying farewell to one of its most senior members, Diagnostics Division Head Alan Costley, who is retiring after nearly five decades devoted to physics. He is author of over 250 scientific papers on plasma diagnostics and measurement science, including approximately 40 invited papers at international conferences, and was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2008.

"I'm not sure I like the word retirement," Alan cautioned in a recent interview with Newsline. "Pipe and slippers are not for me ... I prefer to think of retirement as a transition to another state of activity. I have a full scheme of things planned for the years ahead, including remaining available to help the ITER Project in any way that I can."

It's no wonder Alan isn't ready to come to a full stop; he's worked continuously for 48 years. Science has always been his passion—at 7 he listened to weekly radio shows on science, and as a teenager (if it has to be told) he read physics textbooks on the beach when on holiday. He lived only a few miles from the world-calibre National Physical Laboratory (NPL); when school ended at age 16, NPL hired him as laboratory assistant. "I loved my first exposure to the laboratory environment," Alan recalls. "I remember hearing the scientists talk amongst themselves. I couldn't understand a word, but it was very exciting to me!"

Alan biked back and forth to work, while pursuing night courses. At 18, he was awarded a Ministry of Science and Technology scholarship to study applied physics and mathematics at university. He continued at the NPL in a work/study arrangement, each time sampling a different area of research. When he was introduced to plasma diagnostics after college, his career took a definitive turn. "In fusion science, the knowledge flows through the diagnostics," says Alan. "Diagnostics are the window to the knowledge, and that's why they're such fun to work on!"

Alan discovered a new way of measuring plasma temperature and its variations within space and time, and developed the instrumentation with his own hands. His technique was called ECE, for Electron Cyclotron Emission measurements. "With ECE," Alan recalls, "the physical phenomenon of the plasma could be explored with new clarity ... it was a veritable explosion of information on what was happening inside the plasma. I was very fortunate." Alan was awarded PhD based on this work, and the Charles Vernon Boys' Prize from the UK Institute of Physics for distinguished research. His technique interested physics labs around the world; over the next years, Alan travelled to implement ECE at the TFR Tokamak in France, T10 in Russia; Alcator at MIT Boston, DIII-D in San Diego, and DITE in Culham.

Now a recognized specialist in the field of plasma diagnostics, Alan joined the JET development effort in 1983, with responsibility for the diagnostics systems to measure plasma temperature and density. In 1994, he moved on to the greatest challenge of his career: developing a sophisticated array of plasma measurement diagnostics for the ITER Project. "Diagnostics in ITER represent a tremendous scientific and technological step forward ... a step some five orders of magnitude beyond what has been done in any previous device," emphasizes Alan. He worked for five years at the ITER Joint Work Site in San Diego, eight years in Naka, Japan, and for the last three years in Cadarache, France—a total of 15.5 years with ITER. At Cadarache he has built up the Diagnostic Division, in his words "a talented, dedicated group of individuals who will lead the preparation of the system for ITER." Dr. Michael Walsh, from Culham and JET, will be taking over from Alan as Head of the Division.

Alan looks forward to retirement as a time for "reading, thinking and writing." He'd like to conduct personal research on diagnostics for the next-stage device after ITER. "But," he concludes, "ITER will continue to have first call on my time!"

Mark Robinson, In-Kind Management Section Leader for ITER since 1 November, is an avid motorcyclist.
Mark Robinson is used to projects and people. He's worked in project management and procurement for over 15 years, but he sees coming to ITER as the opportunity of a lifetime. "As a Project Manager," he says, "there's no greater place to work than the ITER Project Office. It is a privilege to join such a hard working and experienced team."

As Section Leader for In-Kind Management since 1 November, Mark's role will be to keep Procurement Arrangement signings on track. These important milestones toward ITER construction mark the moment when Domestic Agencies begin procurement activities with industry. Some 160 Procurement Arrangements are planned to cover ITER construction; 29 have been signed to date, and the rhythm is set to accelerate in 2010.

Mark and his five colleagues in In-Kind Management work with the technical, quality and scheduling responsible officers from both the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies. Each signing is the culmination of a long, collaborative process including detailed negotiations to make sure that nothing goes wrong on the appointed day. The Section is also responsible with other groups for tracking the performance of signed Procurement Arrangements against scheduled milestones toward delivery, and ticking off credit as the items are delivered. "The scale of ITER can not be underestimated," says Mark. "The number of procurements is daunting and challenging. There is a procurement network and supplier chain for ITER all over the world!"

Mark will be relying on team-building and negotiating skills acquired in both the public and private sectors in Europe in the course of his career. Starting as a chartered engineer for the UK Royal Air Force, he worked for years in contracts and procurement with the four-nation Eurofighter project in the NATO management and procurement agency. At the private venture ASTA (supplying flight simulators to Eurofighter), he dealt with a myriad of contract arrangements and international companies who contributed to the project. And in his most recent appointment at the European Southern Observatory (ESO), where 14 partner nations cooperate to build and operate observatories in South America, his experiences included contract negotiation with the European Commission, performance and schedule tracking, risk and change management.

Mark is looking forward to settling into life in "a beautiful part of the world" with his partner, and—as the proud owner of a classic Triumph Thunderbird 900—to touring southern France and the Alps by motorbike. Mark will also be getting to know Provence by foot, as he trains for half marathons.

Caption: Jim Palmer and David Hamilton (Remote Handling Section) together with Alex Martin (Internal Components Division) in the divertor region of the DTP2 facility.
With memories of the champagne inauguration in the distant past, and after several hard months of integration and system commissioning, the DTP2 team in Tampere, Finland is now firmly focused on operations.

DTP2 (Divertor Test Platform 2) is located on the premises of the VTT (the Technical Research Centre of Finland) and operated on behalf of the European Domestic Agency. Since delivery of the last DTP2 sub-systems in October 2008, the integration, commissioning and creation of all the control software has been carried out as a joint effort between VTT and the Technical University of Tampere's Institute of Hydraulics and Automation (IHA).

Within the last month, an important milestone was achieved through the demonstration that the prototype cassette multifunctional mover (CMM) can transport the second cassette radially through the vacuum vessel duct and move it toroidally to its final position, despite the very tight clearances of only a few centimeters between cassette and vacuum vessel structures (see this week's featured video).

Preliminary measurements indicate that the path repetition accuracy of the cassette during toroidal and radial motion are within 2 mm, which is impressive considering that the 9-tonne cassette is carried in a fully cantilevered fashion.

Because of the enormous loads involved, the need for a high degree of positional accuracy and the minimal operating space within the ITER Tokamak, the CMM demonstrator takes advantage of water hydraulics technology which has been an important R&D topic in IHA for many years. This, together with a good knowledge of virtual reality techniques, has allowed the DTP2 team to quickly pull together the wide array of engineering skills typical in the area of remote handling in response to the R&D needs of ITER.

The next phase of operations will involve the complex process of cassette grappling from its in-vessel position, mounting of a dexterous manipulator and tooling on the CMM, and gradual progression to fully remote operations from the DTP2 control room (with no direct operator views) to more closely replicate remote handling working conditions to be faced in ITER.

Always a smile on his face: Jerry Sovka.
Another actor has stepped down from the ITER stage this week: Jerry Sovka, Head of the Civil Construction & Site Support Office. Jerry picked up his ITER hard hat in March 2001 when he joined the project in Naka, Japan. Two and a half years later, the Canadian-born engineer with Czech origins moved on to Garching in Germany, at that time the other pole of the ITER Project. And when the first inhabitants occupied planet ITER in Cadarache in January 2006, Jerry was amongst the pioneers.

"Of course I am somewhat disappointed to leave the project at this stage," says the man who has been in charge of constructing ITER for so many years. Having achieved many important milestones such as the construction permit, the staffing of the office and, of course, the pre-architect engineering contract paving the way for building ITER, his basket is full. "But I would have loved to see the buildings rise out of the soil over there on the platform."

So why is Jerry leaving, then? One could guess that, at the age of 72, it is time to slow down. Although slowing down in Jerry's case is an expression that does not quite fit. He is a man who can't rest ... for whom running means life. For him, sweating it all out is more a mental cure than physical exercise. "I am running for my life," he says. "If didn't run, I would have been long gone."

It therefore comes as no surprise to hear that Jerry has made no plans for his retirement. He will "be around for a while" and he plans to revive a consultant business in Hawaii, one he started some years ago. There is only one thing that is certain about his agenda: he wants to pick up photography again, a passion he developed during his years in Japan. "I loved to shoot fireworks, and the Japanese know how to do that!"

On 31 December he will get his chance to prove his skills—if he doesn't prefer to hold a glass of champagne instead of a camera. It will be his 73rd birthday.

A social utopian, Paul Ricard was a hero to his employees.
© Photothèque Ricard S.A
Long before it was applied to an anise-flavoured spirit, the Provençal term "pastis" simply meant "a mixture," "a mess," or, figuratively speaking, "a sticky situation."

When 74-proof absinthe—the "Green Fairy" of 19th century artists—was banned in 1915, several local distilleries began producing a lower-proof beverage more or less based on the absinthe recipe. In Provence, where most of the beverage's herbal ingredients grow, this alcohol-based maceration of herbs, sugar and liquorice root became known as "pastis."

In the Marseille suburb of Sainte-Marthe, a young man by the name of Paul Ricard, the son of local wine merchants, soon realized what a tremendous opportunity that "pastis" could be for the family business. In 1932, after a stint in art school, young Paul launched "Ricard, the genuine Pastis of Marseille."

Six years later, the artisanal beverage had turned industrial; the small factory was putting out close to 2.5 million litres per year and the brand name "Ricard" had all but replaced the term "pastis."

Born a hundred years ago, Paul Ricard went on to live a long life, transforming the family business into an international behemoth, a world-leader in anise beverages, whiskies and other spirits. In 2000, the company celebrated the two billionth bottle produced. Of the 130 million bottles of pastis that are sold in France every year, 35 percent bear the name Ricard, three times more than the closest competitor Pastis 51.

The founder of "Société Ricard" was more than an entrepreneur. A repressed artist, he had ideas on almost everything from architecture to environment preservation, public administration, politics and social organization.

In order to implement his theories—and also to exhibit the innumerable paintings he produced throughout his life—he acquired two small islands, Bendor and Les Embiez, off the coast of Toulon, as well as a large rural domain (Méjanes) in the Camargue.

The islands bear witness to Paul Ricard's utopias. They are little kingdoms of kitsch from which motor vehicles are banned—a bit like the seaside "Village" in the 1960s TV series "The Prisoner." There, with the help of a glass of pastis, visitors can experience the kind of ideal life, in an ideal setting, that Paul Ricard created for them.