The European Domestic Agency (DA) has just delivered five "high heat flux units" within the Divertor Qualification program. The release of these parts represents a major milestone in the overall divertor qualification phase, since this means that the most demanding parts of the so-called Qualification Prototypes have been successfully manufactured.
Equally important is the fact that this has been achieved well ahead of schedule.
"In particular, I was impressed by the extremely good quality of all the units, which are practically defect-free, and, therefore, well above the quality requirements specified by ITER", declared Mario Merola, Divertor Section Leader in the ITER Organization. "Such a full-success goes above my most optimistic expectations and it is the consequence of the dedicated effort of the EU DA and, specifically, of Plansee company, in carrying out this important step towards the divertor procurement."
As stated in the Final Report of Negotiations of the ITER Joint Implementation, a qualification "...will be needed for the critical procurement packages shared by multi-Parties...", including the divertor plasma-facing components. This means that each Party allocated one of these critical procurement packages must first qualify by demonstrating its technical capability to carry out the procurement with the required quality, and in an efficient and timely manner. This is achieved via the successful manufacturing and testing of medium-size "Qualification Prototypes" (QPs). In the case of the Divertor this work is the subject of the Divertor Qualification Task Agreements.
After manufacturing is completed, the QPs, which include all the most technically challenging features of the corresponding ITER divertor design, will be subject to performance tests in the Tsefey Facility at the Efremov Institute (RF) to assess their heat flux load carrying capability. The Russian and Japanese DAs are also involved in this qualification program, which is due to be completed by the end of 2008, thus allowing the start of the divertor procurement in 2009.
Dinesh Gupta, 37, is a mechanical engineer from Ahmedabad in Western India. He has 17 years of experience in the petrochemical, textile and pharmaceutical industry. For the last seven years, until May last year, Dinesh worked at the Institute for Plasma Research on Cooling Water Systems. Then he moved to France, his first step abroad, to work for ITER. Here he works in the Department for Central Engineering and Plant Support headed by Yong Hwan Kim. Dinesh is married and has a three-year old son called Divyansh who goes to the International School. His family joined him last summer, they now live in an apartment in Manosque where a small Indian Community has established. "It is funny but all of my Indian colleagues seem to live in Manosque and we spend much of our time off work together exploring the French landscape and — carefully — also the "French cuisine." Last week, the ITER Project Office launched a Seminar on "Introduction to In Kind Procurement and the Preparation of Procurement Arrangements". The seminar was headed by Barry Miller and Ina Backbier. The objective of the seminar was to give an introduction on the concept and the practical implementation of In Kind Procurement and Procurement Arrangements to all IO staff. In kind procurement is a relative unique business concept and requires a special approach. Items covered in this seminar were the process to place Procurement Arrangements, documentation requirements, planning and reporting.
The construction of the ITER facility is devided into 94 Procurement Packages which are split up into 150 Procurement Arrangements.
Laurent Patisson is one of those new arrivals at ITER who has actually been in the ITER loop, one way or another, for quite some time now. Laurent, who is a Civil Engineer, specialized in seismic building techniques. When he started working in nuclear building design at the CEA six years ago, his main project was to conduct site studies for ITER at Cadarache with respect to the seismic risk of the Tokamak Complex building. In 2005 he then conducted additional studies related to the Tokamak Complex and as one thing led to another, Laurent became an ITER employee three months ago in October 2007.
Within the Civil Construction and Site Support Office, Laurent and his colleague Yoshiyuki Mita are responsible for the design of the Nuclear Buildings, which include the Tokamak Complex and the Assembly Building, the Hot Cell, the Radwaste and the Control buildings. They are also coordinating the various systems interfaces.
Talking to Laurent, one quickly gets impressed by the sheer magnitude of what will be the "safe" that will contain the Tokamak. The building dedicated to contain the machine, with walls that are 1.5 metres thick, will have a surface of 110 by 80 metres, approximately the size of soccer field, and will be 75 metres high (about a 20 floor building). To support this megastructure, the concrete foundations will be up to 5 metres thick, about the height of a 2-floor building, and will be supported by 700 aseismic pads, to make sure the Tokamak Complex is earthquake-proof.
All connections in and between buildings will also have to be flexible to support possible seismic activity. The levelling to create the platform for the building will start in March or April of this year. The Tokamak Complex will be placed in an 20 metre deep hole, for which excavation works will begin early 2009. The building is planned to be ready by 2013 even though, because of its sheer size, some of the Tokamak elements will have to be fitted in even before the building is ready. "Working on this project is a once-in-a-lifetime challenge," says Laurent, because we are actually breaking new ground and setting the standards for something that has never been done before."
It is done! The safety files have been delivered to the French authorities. For the team that helped producing the 2500 page document this was a welcomed chance to celebrate another big step forward.