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Step by step

-By Norbert Holtkamp, ITER Project Construction Leader

Norbert Holtkamp, ITER Project Construction Leader  (Click to view larger version...)
Norbert Holtkamp, ITER Project Construction Leader
These past two weeks the ITER project has taken some important steps forward. First, the members of the Interim ITER Council came together in Tokyo where they expressed their confidence in the ITER IO, and approved almost all agenda items. The Council has agreed to easier recruitment and tendering processes and it supported the request for more manpower to support the ongoing Design Review. The Council also took note of the expressed interest of Kazakhstan in joining the ITER project and, second, of the collaboration agreement with the IAEA and CERN. With the latter we will immediately initiate a work program in the areas of cryogenics, metrology and magnets. Strong support was expressed for the quick integration of the design review recommendations into the new ITER baseline with the boundary condition to maintain cost and schedule.

This month we also saw the opening of the European Domestic Agency "Fusion for Energy" in Barcelona, as well as the ratification of the ITER Agreement by the Russian Duma. With that, six out of the seven ITER parties have either approved or ratified the agreement and we now expect China to follow this summer. So, we are moving forward, step by step.

Besides these major institutional decisions in the Council to optimize the operation of the ITER Organization, a major step towards finalizing the design of the ITER machine was taken this week when experts of the seven ITER parties and the heads of the eight design review working groups met at the Château in Cadarache for the first Design Review Integration Meeting, which was organized by the IO. The aim of this four-day marathon was to bring to resolution all outstanding issues cards that were submitted inside and outside of the ITER Organization at the beginning of the design review. It also attempted to integrate scientific research that has been done over the past six years since the last definition of the ITER baseline design.

At the Château we saw some intense and constructive discussions about what we have and what we can do in order to meet the scientific goals of this unique experiment. Summarizing this first Integration Meeting I am convinced that we are on a converging process and that by the end of this year we will be able to formulate the technical baseline design for ITER. Pending final approval, some of the major proposals to be integrated are the more extensive testing of the large Toroidal and Poloidal Field coils as well as the need to include large control coils for the mitigation of instabilities during ITER operation. A second meeting of this type will be held in the middle of September to finalize the remaining proposed changes.


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