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Ju Jin, the new Head of the Directorate for General Administration.
His father was not very pleased when he learned that his son Ju was to head for a career in administration. Being a chemical engineer himself, he thought that Ju should rather pursue something more tangible, some craft that followed the strict and understandable laws of science. "But I was young and did not listen," says Ju, all smiles. By now his father, aged 92, will have revised his opinion over his son's decision. From this week on, Ju Jin will lead the Directorate for General Administration within the ITER Organization, one of the world's largest scientific endeavors.

Ju Jin was born in Beijing in 1959, which proved to be good timing. By the time he made it to university in 1978, the ten-year Cultural Revolution had just come to an end. He was among the first batch of undergraduate students since the re-establishment of the national examination system in 1977. That didn't mean, however, that Ju didn't get his share of "agri" culture. "During my school years I was sent to work in the fields several times, but looking back today I think this was not a bad thing but a valuable experience. It taught me to respect and cherish what we eat and drink every day because it requires hard and physical labor to produce."

Ever since graduation, Ju Jin's career has been dedicated to facilitating international scientific collaboration. He was in charge of the joint activities between China and other international organizations, and also between China, Asia and Africa, at the Chinese Commission of Science and Technology. He started a bilateral fund between China and Israel and a similar fund between China and Australia. His career brought him and his family to the US, Australia and back to the US again where he was minister-counselor for science and technology at the Chinese Embassy for the past six years.

Asked about his interest in promoting scientific collaboration across borders, Ju answers: "Big science projects need not only a great number of talented people from around the world but also huge investment. Scientific cooperation can play an important role in pooling the necessary resources and can be of mutual benefit because both partners have their own comparative and complementary advantages."

Joining the ITER Organization has been a bit of a homecoming: back in 2002 Ju Jin lead the Chinese initiative to join ITER. "Our first attempt to convince the government to join the project was difficult," Ju remembers. "Although it was recognized as an investment in high-technology, fusion seemed to be too far away on anybody's timescale. So the minister and vice-ministers of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) had to be convinced first."

In 2003, Ju Jin led the governmental delegation to Japan to begin the discussions with representatives of ITER. "There were very intense discussions ... and not only because of the large investment needed. There was debate within the Chinese fusion community about whether we were backing the 'right horse' by going for the tokamak, or whether the stellarator or even inertial fusion was the better option." Due to a concerted effort between the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology and the Chinese fusion community, the State Council finally agreed to formally start the negotiation for China to join ITER.
Now Ju Jin is very much looking forward to his new challenge. Although still on a steep learning curve in his first week, one of his main goals is set: "I want to improve the efficiency of work." Instead of emails, he'd like to encourage his staff to talk to each other. And, as far as this author can tell, talking to Ju Jin is a real pleasure!

Forty-three participants from all seven ITER Members came to Cadarache this week to review the progress on joint experiments and collaborations carried out during the past year.
This week, 5-7 October, the ITER Organization hosted its first topical group meeting within the International Tokamak Physics Activity (ITPA) since the ITPA began operating under the auspices of ITER in February 2008. The Transport and Confinement Topical Group investigates various properties of the core plasma such as particle and energy transport, plasma rotation and evolution of the plasma current. As with the other six topical groups, it identifies opportunities for joint collaboration between experimental programs, theorists and modelling groups; this collaboration is then executed through various international agreements under the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Discussion of physics issues at this meeting focused on validation of transport models during the ramp-up of the plasma current and transport properties in the core (plasma edge transition regime, three-dimensional effects of magnetic perturbations, and impurity transport). Most of the meeting, however, was devoted to reviewing progress on joint experiments and collaborations carried out during the past year, and to proposals for new and continuing proposals for next year. These will be reviewed by the ITPA Coordinating Committee in a joint meeting with representatives of the Cooperation on Tokamak Programs

Back to school: The Doctoral college provides 40 doctoral scholarships for work in the field of fusion research.
A new International Doctoral College in Fusion Science and Engineering (Fusion DC) has been launched under the auspices of Erasmus Mundus, the European program to promote training schemes. The doctoral college is being supported with about EUR 5 million and provides 40 doctoral scholarships for work in the field of fusion research.

The Fusion DC is a three-year joint doctoral program in nuclear fusion science and engineering offered by a consortium of 19 European partner institutions from eight European countries, the ITER Organization and nine associated partners from China, Japan, Russia and the USA.

The Fusion DC provides a sustainable, integrated and coordinated education at the doctoral level in the framework of a worldwide network of excellence in magnetic confinement fusion. The doctoral college puts special emphasis on international exchange of experience: During their three years of funded doctoral work, the top students selected will do research at different institutions and spend at least six months abroad in order to make optimum use of the complementary research focuses of the institutions involved.

The world-wide fusion research network spun by the partners of the doctoral college comprises the universities of Ghent, Lisbon, Madrid, Nancy, Padua and Stuttgart as well as the fusion branch of the CEA at Cadarache (France). As associated partners there are a further eleven European and nine non-European research institutions from the ITER member states China, Japan, Russia and USA. This network offers doctoral students an almost unsurpassable variety of topical subjects in fusion research: during their training the young scientists will tackle the essential physical and technological challenges being faced on the way to a fusion power plant.

From mid-October physics and engineering students from all over the world can apply for scholarships. "They will then be profiting not only from the financial support, but also from the wide range of topics and experience afforded by the network," states Jean-Marie Noterdaeme, who is responsible at the Max-Planck Institute in Garching, Germany for the doctoral college. "For their special research objectives students can, for example, select the most suitable experimental facility and supplement this with theory know-how available elsewhere. Furthermore, they will have the opportunity to become familiar with different science cultures.

"This will be good training for the work on the modern fusion devices, particularly the ITER international test reactor, now being built as a world-wide cooperation. The construction and operation of ITER will bring together at Cadarache engineers and scientists delegated from their home laboratories all over the world," he adds.

Click here to download the press release published by IPP.
This link leads you to the European education network Fusenet

The Test Blanket Module Program Committee gathering this week in Cadarache.
ITER will provide a unique opportunity to test prototypes of tritium breeding modules in a real fusion environment. Within these Test Blanket Modules (TBMs), viable techniques for ensuring tritium breeding self-sufficiency will be explored. Charged with the governance of the implementation of these modules into the project's scientific agenda, the ITER Council TBM Program Committee came together this week in Cadarache to discuss the program's status and outstanding issues such as intellectual property rights and liability matters, and waste management.

Special focus at this sixth meeting of the Committee was placed on the comments received from the ITER Members relevant to the ITER Organization's proposal for a generic TBM arrangement that was presented at the previous meeting. The generic TBM arrangement will be used as a guideline to prepare each specific TBM arrangement that has to be signed for the procurement of a Test Blanket System (TBS). A specific TBM arrangement would serve as the legal, administrative and technical framework for the implementation and procurement of each of the six TBS that will be tested on ITER.

One important conclusion of this meeting was the agreement to share the experimental results and the information on basic design, materials composition and instrumentation. It was further noted that the installation of the TBS has to be performed in coordination with the assembly plan for the other ITER systems.

For this reason, it was pointed out at the meeting that the cooling system connection pipes of each TBS should be installed as soon as the nuclear building is completed. The main consequence is that such pipes will have to be delivered in 2015 ... some years in advance of the other TBS components.

These drain tanks, produced by Joseph Oat Corporation in New Jersey, are similar in scale to what will be fabricated for ITER.
The US Domestic Agency (ITER Project Office, USIPO) at the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory has awarded a $13.2 million Task Order to AREVA Federal Services for the fabrication of five drain tanks for the ITER tokamak cooling water system.

Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, AREVA Federal Services was competitively selected for award of a basic ordering agreement for the design and fabrication of the tokamak cooling water system in 2009. The tanks will be manufactured in Camden, New Jersey, by the Joseph Oat Corporation, a privately held family business founded in 1788.

The drain tanks will be among the first equipment installed inside the ITER Tokamak Building. The tanks must be delivered by January 2014 to the ITER construction site in southern France in order to ensure installation access. Because of the size of the tanks—up to 20 feet in diameter (6 m) and 29 feet high (9 m), with a volume of over 60,000 gallons each (227 K litres)—they can not be installed after the building walls and floors are completed.

The early deadline for delivery of the drain tanks creates an opportunity for US ITER and industry contributors to test procurement, safety, regulatory compliance and fabrication processes used in managing this international project. To date, US ITER has awarded more than USD 260 million in contracts to US industry, laboratories and universities in 38 states and the District of Columbia.

Click here to read the original Press Release.

This image of Comet Hartley 2 was captured by NASA's EPOXI mission between 3 and 4 November, 2010, during the spacecraft's flyby of this 2.25-kilometre-long, 300-million-tonne, peanut-shaped chunk of ice. The deuterium fingerprint in the comet's ice perfectly matches that of terrestrial waters.
The water molecule, as every primary school student learns, is made of one atom of oxygen and two atoms of hydrogen. But water as we know it, whether in a glass, in a lake or in the ocean, is not exclusively composed of H2O molecules. It also includes a tiny fraction of D2O, a molecule in which hydrogen is replaced by its heavy isotope, deuterium—the very deuterium that will be used as a fusion fuel in ITER.

The D2O fraction in water is invariable. It is the same in the Durance River as in the Amazon, in the Indian Ocean or in the Mediterranean.

Now, this rule applies only to terrestrial waters. Elsewhere in the Universe, the proportion of D2O molecules in a given volume of water can be quite different: astronomical observations and measurements have determined that in comets, for instance, the proportion of D2O is twice what it is on Earth.

Comets, often dubbed "dirty snowballs," are a mixture of ice and dust. They are the lonely wanderers of our solar system whose orbits sometimes cause collisions with larger bodies. Such a spectacular event occurred in July 1994 when Comet Shoemaker—Levy 9 collided with Jupiter.

Billions of years ago, such cosmic crashes were much more frequent. It has long been an accepted theory that comets, whacking into the infant Earth, played a significant role in creating our planet's oceans.

However, because of the difference in the deuterium ratio of comets' ice and oceans' water, comets alone could not be credited with delivering the total amount of water that presently covers 70 percent of the Earth's surface. Hence, current theories considered that less than 10 percent of Earth's water originated from comet—the remaining 90 percent still somewhat of a mystery.

That is, until the European Space Agency's (ESA) infrared space telescope Herschel focused on Comet Hartley 2, a 2.25-kilometre-long, 300-million-tonne peanut-shaped chunk of ice.

"Comet Hartley's deuterium-to-hydrogen ratio is almost exactly the same as the water in Earth's oceans," says Paul Hartogh, of the Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, who led the international team of astronomers in this work.

Hartley's deuterium fingerprint perfectly matches that of terrestrial waters. If the comet has siblings, then, one of the most discussed issues in Earth's early history could be close to being solved.

Click here to see the news story on the ESA website.