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Model ring after rupture test with a breaking stress over 1500 MPa.
The pre-compression rings of the ITER magnet system will tightly hold the toroidal field coils on top and bottom with a radial force of 7,000 tonnes per coil. The most suitable material to withstand such high loads and avoid circulation of currents during machine operation is glass-fiber/epoxy composite.

Most metals at the stresses generated in the composite of the rings would break. And yet the role of the pre-compression rings is essential, since in their absence the ITER toroidal field coils would fail by fatigue before the 30,000 plasma pulses expected during their design life of 20 years.

The ITER pre-compression rings are possibly the most massive composite structures ever attempted. More than one decade of thorough R&D work at ENEA (Frascati) managed to overcome all the initial technical challenges.

At ENEA, a purpose-designed machine stressed model pre-compression rings to test their strength and observed a rupture point at approximately four times the expected operational stresses of ITER.

However, the possibility of degradation over time (creep) was a concern. The team established a curve describing long-term performance of the rings' material with small test specimens continuously loaded at different stresses over a span of three years.

ENEA's purpose-designed machine was then used to assess the long-term behaviour of the rings. Due to the non-linear behaviour and different material properties along different directions of composites, a correlation between tested specimens and model rings was difficult to establish, since the model rings could only withstand stresses of around 70 percent of those observed for small specimens.

However, an intelligent handling of the available data carried out by the team of Paolo Rossi at ENEA by plotting together the percentage of the breaking point of the long-term tests of small specimens and model rings over the known rupture stress, shows a correlation that predicts that the rings under ITER's operational stresses (<30 percent of the rings' measured and specified breaking point) would maintain their tension for many years, much more than the life of ITER.

The 760 metres of toroidal field copper dummy conductor spooled on a transport solenoid.
August 2011 turned out to be a hot time for Russian cable manufacturers who were able to honour an important milestone in the production of toroidal field conductors for ITER: the Russian Scientific Research and Development Cable Institute JSC VNIIKP completed the manufacture of 760 metres of toroidal field copper dummy conductor.

The conductors for ITER's magnet system are at the "heart" of one of the key elements of the future Tokamak and, as such, are receiving much attention from the Russian and ITER Organization experts who regularly inspect the conductor manufacturing processes in Moscow, Glazov and Podolsk.

To pass this critical milestone, the Russian Domestic Agency (RF-DA) team had to come a long way. To prepare for the manufacture of superconducting cables for ITER, the RF-DA reconfigured Russia's industrial infrastructure under the guidance of the Bochvar Institute (Moscow) and JSC VNIIKP. The development of the JSC ChMZ production facility in Glazov, beginning in 2004, required the purchase and installation of the equipment and technology necessary to fulfill extraordinary complicated, filigree work operations.

The manufacture of 760 metres of toroidal field copper dummy conductor is definitely a significant step forward, showing that with time and effort ... fine results can be achieved! This first copper dummy unit length will be used to qualify the conductors' manufacturing processes, including qualification of cabling, jacket welding, cable pull-through for an assembled jacket length, compaction, and spooling of the conductor. The final steps of process—compaction and spooling into a 4-metre transport solenoid—were completed in August.

With acceptance of the copper dummy conductor comes the finalization of jacketing line commissioning and the beginning of mass production. The dummy will be transported to Italy where it will be tested and qualified, after which we will be able to state that Russia is completely ready for producing toroidal field conductors for ITER ... which sounds really good! 

Eyewitnesses in the JET control room following the first plasma in eighteen months.
Wednesday afternoon, the control room at the heart of the JET installation in Oxfordshire, UK was crowded and full of expectation. After an eighteen-month shutdown to upgrade the machine and four months of careful commissioning, the scientists were waiting to see the first plasma on the screen. The biggest part of this upgrade was to change the 4,500 tiles lining the vessel. The non-metal carbon was replaced by the metals beryllium and tungsten. The new materials are in accordance with the materials-mix chosen for JET's successor, ITER.

With its new ITER-like wall, JET is the first fusion experiment to test beryllium and tungsten—which will be used inside the next-generation international experiment—together.

Click here to read more.

Click here to download the Press Release.

A mock-up of the AC/DC converter that will be manufactured by the Korean firm Dawonsys.
The Korean Domestic Agency (KO-DA) signed a contract with an industrial consortium for the ITER AC/DC converters on 12 August, 2011, following a call for tender launched in June. The Procurement Arrangement for these components was signed back in March. A representative of ITER Organization participated in the technical evaluation meeting for the supplier selection process.

The selected consortium is formed by the converter firm Dawonsys Co., Ltd. and the transformer firm Hyosung Corp. The contract is expected to run for seven years. The converters for toroidal field, central solenoid, vertical stability and correction coils including master controllers, a dummy load, and spares are deliverables of the contract that covers the design, fabrication, site assembly and installation, and technical assistance during the circuit integrated test.

Korea has now awarded contracts on more than 80 percent of its in-kind contributions to the ITER project.

Dawonsys is specialized in the power supplies for fusion, accelerators, traction and heavy industries and has provided large-current power systems for superconducting magnets as well as the high-voltage power system for neutral beam injection, electron cyclotron heating, lower hybrid current drive and electron cyclotron current drive at the KSTAR Tokamak.

Hyosung is a global-solution power system supply company and a leading manufacturer of power transmissions and transformers. It recently reinforced its capacities with IT-based power automation and Smart Grid including power monitors and prevention system. On the basis of various technical skills and experience, Hyosung supplied Ultra High Voltage (UHV) power transformers for KSTAR.

Within the next months, ITER will turn into one of Europe's biggest engineering sites.
The contract that will transform the ITER platform into one of Europe's biggest engineering sites has been signed between the European Domestic Agency, Fusion for Energy (F4E), and COMSA EMTE, a Spanish company with a proven track record in the field of construction. The objective of the contract, expected to run for at least one year and doted with a budget of approximately EUR 11 million, is to make the necessary adaptations to the ITER site in order to develop roads for the transport of material and equipment, extend power supply and water distribution, deliver the required amenities for a workforce of 3,000 people, and streamline all protocols for safety, security and access to the site.

It is envisaged that over the next eight years, 39 buildings and facilities will be built on the ITER site. Work began last year on the Poloidal Field Coils Winding Facility and the excavation of the Tokamak Complex involving a combined workforce of 275 people. By late 2012, the personnel directly involved in construction is expected to grow roughly four times—to over 1,000 people—and by mid-2014 it is expected to triple to 3,000. Redeveloping the ITER site to accommodate the needs of the rapidly growing workforce and to guarantee an optimal use of space for the different companies operating on the ground is necessary in order to carry out the construction of all facilities in parallel and on time.

A road network connecting traffic lanes, bus routes, pedestrian ways and parking is expected to be one of the first noticeable changes on the site, covering an estimated 35,000 m². A parking area for 700 vehicles, together with brand-new fencing, gates and external lighting, will also be part of improvements made. An integrated management system for access to the site, putting an end to different protocols, will be deployed together with a new safety and security system. Increased distribution networks for power supply, potable water and provisions for both surface and waste water drainage are also planned.

In order to meet contractors' requirements in terms of provisional office space, amenities, dining rooms and storage for equipment and materials, COMSA EMTE will be in charge of redeveloping these areas. The work site will also be equipped with a central canteen serving up to 1,500 meals per day, an infirmary, and a helipad (in line with health and safety recommendations).
here to download the F4E Press Release.

A global particle-in-cell simulation uses Weixing Wang's GTS code to show core turbulence in a tokamak. Image courtesy of Stephane Ethier, PPPL
A research team led by William Tang of the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) is developing a clearer picture of plasma confinement properties in an experimental device that will pave the way to future commercial fusion power plants.

Tang, who is also a professor at Princeton University, focuses on advanced simulation capabilities relevant to ITER, a multibillion-dollar international experimental device being built in France and involving the partnership of seven governments representing more than half of the world's population.

Click here to read the full story.