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Of Interest

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In charge of ITER construction: Jerry Sovka
Heavy machines rumbling, rock-crushers snarling, jack-hammers pounding, chain-saws whining: the distinctive sounds of organized chaos! The ITER Project construction is well underway. The site clearing work for the platform that will hold the office buildings is completed and the contractor areas are being leveled and compacted for the temporary construction facilities. By the end of March, 400 workers will be busy with the planned site preparations: electric power, water supply, storm drains, fencing and the construction of the offices for the new Joint Work Site. Platform leveling civil works, contracted with the Valerian joint venture, are to start this month. Geotechnical investigations are underway to confirm the soil and rock characteristics, to determine how to best use the two million cubic meters that are planned to be leveled.

Also last week, as part of the construction approval process, updated documentation for the "Permit de Construire", the official request to the French authorities to allow the construction of ITER, was signed by Director General Kaname Ikeda and submitted to the Mayor's office of St. Paul-Lez-Durance.

In addition, last Friday, 1 February 2008, the tender process for the Pre-Architect/Engineer Contract has moved another step forward with a "Call for Tender" to the four joint venture companies that qualified to participate in the preliminary engineering. Heavy gear dominates the ITER site from now on. During the selection process, some thirty European engineering consulting and/or construction management companies were invited to express their interest, fifteen responded and the selection criteria produced the short-list. The contracts are planned t be awarded in April this year. As these construction-related activities are progressing on schedule, means of course, "good news" for the project. However, the "bad news" is that all systems designs plus the buildings and site layout must now be frozen so that the contractor can execute his part of the engineering quickly, efficiently and economically. Some philosopher once said: "There is no rest for the wicked...."?

The US Delegation at the first IO-DA Meeting.
In order to enhance the cooperation within the ITER Organization and its seven Domestic Agencies, a three-day meeting with the leading representatives from each party. The IO-DA Conference was set up as a platform to directly address complicated issues, i.e. issues "that are important for the project's execution," as the Head of US ITER, Ned Sauthoff, said. Or, as the Director of the European Agency, Didier Gambier, put it: "To speak with one voice."

In the opening session each Domestic Agency gave a short status report, including an extensive report on the situation within the US Domestic Agency after the Congress' budget cut (see interview). Summarizing the sitiuation, all seven Domestic Agencies are now established and busy recruiting staff.

Packing up the ITER construction files.
Last Thursday, the documents that comprise the "Permis de Construire", the formal request of the ITER Organization to build the fusion test facility, was signed, packed and finally sent off to the French regulatory authorities.

The documents had been updated and augmented since their first submission in September 2007 in accordance with the Direction Départementale de l'Equipement (DDE) and the recommendations made by Mission ITER, the Agence ITER France, Jacobs Engineering, 2Y Architecture (T. Raynal) for buildings, and the Atelier ALEP (P. Deliau and L. Fraisse) for the landscape.

It is done! Carlos Alejaldre watches ITER DG Kaname Ikeda signing the Safety Files.
On Thursday, 31 January 2008, the so called DAC files (Demande d'Autorisation de Création) which include the Preliminary Safety Report (Rapport Preliminaire de Sûreté, RPrS) were signed by Director General Kaname Ikeda and sent off to the French Nuclear Authorities. The RPrS together with the Impact Study are the principal documents supporting the application for the licensing of the ITER construction.

The roadworks have started near Meyrargues (Photo: Agence Iter France)
Transporting ITER components from the port of Berre l'Etang to Cadarache with minimal disruption to traffic is a real challenge. Some of the elements will be three times heavier than the biggest elements of the Airbus A380! The nine components of the vacuum vessel will weigh 600 tonnes and the eighteen toroidal field coils, aimed to confine the plasma, will weigh 530 tonnes. The biggest convoys will be 11 metres high.

Taking these characteristics into consideration, a special itinerary involving a combination of new construction and existing infrastructure was begun in January.

Over the next year and a half, ninety different engineering operations at work sites in and around the sixteen villages along the ITER route will commence.

On 15 January work began on the 6 km segment of the route between Meyrargues and Peyrolles, involving the set up of an agricultural irrigation system.

According to Nadia Fabre, Itinerary project manager at Mission Iter: "This is the first step among many works that will be carried out by mid 2009." The enlargement of roads and roundabouts, and a retaining structure are part of this work. Each step along the Itinerary has been carefully studied to respect the environment.

During the ITER construction phase, 200 convoys, in average one every two days, will roll along the especially designed roads at a "speed" of 5 km/h up to 30 km/h.

The costs for these roadworks - almost EUR 100 million - are financed by the department Bouches-du-Rhône. During the next months 400 workers will be engaged in the Itinerary.

For more information on the ITER Itinerary, go to: Rubrique « Sites Grands Projets »

The smell of tar indicates new space for 120 cars.
If you strolled around our buildings last Thursday, you must have smelled it: the smell of hot tar. That smell announced that the Extension 2 parking lot was being asphalted to welcome the first residents of the new temporary building in the coming days. The parking, which is just in front of the building, is planned for 120 cars. The new building will be delivered today and as from tomorrow a team of movers will be on-site to move computers, boxes and in some cases even furniture. By the end of the week, most of CEP (Department of Central Engineering and Plant Support) will have moved to their new offices. Starting next week the office space in building 519 will then partly be reshuffled to relieve some of the currently overcrowded offices.

On Monday, 21 January 2008, the Chinese Ambassador to France, Mr. Zhao Jinjun, visited ITER in Cadarche where he was welcomed by ITER Director-General Kaname Ikeda.

If you want to know if and where - ask Judith Campbell.
When Judith Campbell, an Australian-born Brit, graduated as a primary school teacher, little did she expect that instead of spending a quiet life teaching, it would be a hectic life learning, and not about something simple either but about something as complicated as fusion.

After a short stop in Germany, Judith started working at JET as a technical assistant in 1982 and has been part of the fusion community since. In 1997 she returned to Garching, Germany, where she worked for ITER until the site closed in December 2006. Early 2007, she was one of the first ones to arrive at ITER Cadarache to unpack the Garching archives she had so carefully packed herself. These archives will now have to be merged with those from Naka, Japan, to form "THE" ITER story, which contains all documents, final reports, decisions etc. that together form the history of the ITER project.

Fortunately one does not have to dive into the dark and cold archive rooms to have access to these documents. Many of the documents can be retrieved via IDM, the on-line ITER Document Management system. All of the ITER staff has access to this system and is also requested to put in all of the documents they are producing so that IDM is a living repository of the progress of the ITER Organization. For anyone needing help with using IDM, Judith is available to give assistance or advice.

At the same time Judith manages both the paper-and the electronic library. At present ITER has on-line access to a library of about 40 different scientific and engineering journals. Details of how to access these journals can be found in the "Project Integration, Administration & Services", "Document Management" section. There is also a paper library (building 519/21, ground floor), accessible to all staff. If you want to borrow a magazine, journal, standard or book, just take it and note down your name, date and title of the journal in the notebook at the library entrance.

John D. Lawson
John D.Lawson, well known for his derivation of the Lawson criterion, a fundamental criterion (or principle) in fusion research, originally trained as an engineer. Through a series of coincidences he became involved in fusion research from its early days, and made important contributions that continue to influence the design of proposed fusion reactors.

The Lawson criterion: The Lawson criterion states that the product of the particle density of a plasma in particles per cm3 and the containment time in seconds at or above its ignition temperature, such that fusion energy released equals the energy required to produce and confine the plasma. In other words, for a successful fusion reactor, the aim is to get more energy out than you have to put in. The criterion is a constant equivalent to the product of plasma density x confinement time. The aim in fusion reactor design is to satisfy the criterion.

The weight of the ITER Tokamak Complex will be 350.000 tons which is approximately the weight of the Empire State Building.