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Of Interest

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Every working community must concern itself with safety, quality, security, occupational health and—more and more so—with environmental issues. The specific nature of nuclear activities makes this demand even more imperative: errors and approximations are not allowed in our trade.

With respect to these issues, Article 14 of the ITER Agreement states that the ITER Organization "shall observe applicable national laws and regulations of the Host state in the fields of public and occupational health and safety, nuclear safety, radiation protection, licensing, nuclear substances, environmental protection and protection from acts of malevolence."

Last October, the Director-General approved a top-level Integrated Safety, Quality and Security Management Policy summarizing the ITER Organization's commitment to the observance of this very important Article.

This policy will be our guideline for the years to come. To that end, we have devised and formalized an integrated management system to make sure that the policy is applied at every level of our Organization's activities, and that performance, in regard to these objectives, keeps improving over time.

The policy is the starting point for every part of the integrated management system: it is the reference document for the definition of individual accountability as well as for the definition of procedures that all employees shall take into account in their daily activities for consistent prevention of all work-related injuries, accidents and pollution.
That said, the challenge of safety, quality, security, occupational health and environmental protection reaches far beyond the mere observance of a set of laws and regulations, however detailed and stringent. It must become a matter of personal commitment and duty for each and every one of us.
Whether we belong to ITER or to a Domestic Agency; whether we are a supplier or a contractor, we are all active members of the ITER nuclear installation. It is our common duty, hence, to make sure that this policy cascades down to all levels of our supplier chain.

As of 1 July 2013, the new version of the French government's Quality Order (Arrêté du 7 février 2012 fixant les règles générales relatives aux installations nucléaires de base) will be applicable: this includes a clear requirement to implement an integrated safety policy and management system that, beyond nuclear safety, encompasses fields that were not previously included in its scope, such as occupational safety and health, environment and security.

By integrating all these aspects this is precisely what the new ITER policy does, well ahead of the French government's deadline.

The spooling of the jacketed conductor at the High Energy Physics Institute in Protvino.
Manufacturing the toroidal field conductors for the ITER magnet system is a sophisticated, multistage process that was pioneered in Russia in summer of 1997.
Earlier this year, the specialists at JSC VNIIKP Podolsk cables a 760-metre cable made from 900 niobium-tin strands and 522 copper strands assembled in five stages around a central cooling spiral—the second product of this kind manufactured in Russia.
Late February, at the brand-new jacketing line at the High Energy Physics Institute in Protvino, this cable was pulled through a stainless steel jacket assembly.
The successful cable pull-through process, which required the most advanced Russian technical know-how, was accomplished with representatives of the Russian Domestic Agency and the ITER Organization present. The jacket itself, reaching nearly one kilometre in length, is composed of more than 70 austenitic steel tubes, butt-welded by gas tungsten-arc welding technology. Each orbital weld was subjected to stringent quality control tests, including X-ray, local helium leak tests, and dye penetrant.
This insertion stage was followed by the compaction and spooling of the conductor (cable plus jacket) on a four-metre-diameter solenoid—a process that will take approximately two weeks. The product will then be transported to the Kurchatov Institute where it will undergo vacuum and hydraulic tests and await shipment to Italy, where the conductor will be wound.     

We wish to thank Arnaud Devred, Superconductor Section Leader, for his contribution to this article. 

The higher-than-average percentage of women in this field shows that high power technology is not necessarily only attractive to men.
Following the signature in April 2011 of the Procurement Arrangement for ITER's AC/DC converters and the reactive power compensator and harmonic filters, the Chinese Domestic Agency awarded contracts to two domestic suppliers for these systems.

The first face-to-face meeting between responsible engineers from the ITER Organization, their counterparts from the Chinese Domestic Agency and suppliers ASIPP (for the AC/DC converters) and Rongxin Power Electronic (for the reactive power compensator and harmonic filters) was recently held at ITER Headquarters.

The Procurement Arrangement is based on functional specifications describing the technical requirements of the system; the challenge now is to jointly develop the detailed design. "The meeting was very successful and efficient," said Ashok Mankani, Power Converter Project Engineer. "It should be considered a good start on the road to developing a better understanding of the scope of this Procurement Arrangement, the interfaces and the next milestones that have to be achieved."

The AC/DC converters components are essential for supplying DC power to ITER's poloidal field coil circuits with the operating requirements of 55 kA and 1.35 kV to 4 kV. The large capacity of 3x250 Mvar reactive power at 66 kV is essential for the stability and performance of ITER's power system.

Putting theoretical knowledge to the test and "driving" a real machine.
Participants in the French Master's in Fusion Science program have been hard at work since early February at the nearby IRFM (l'Institut de Recherche sur la Fusion Magnétique), participating in hands-on workshops and attending specialized lectures on magnetic fusion (see Newsline 208).

For the 2012 edition of this annual intensive program a new hands-on project was proposed: taking control—remotely—of the Czech tokamak GOLEM.

The GOLEM Tokamak, formerly CASTOR, was re-installed in 2009 at the Czech Technical University (CTU) in Prague by Dr. V. Svoboda and his students. The Czech team has implemented a reliable and user-friendly interface with the tokamak control and data acquisition systems, allowing graduate and post-graduate students to become acquainted with the operation of a small tokamak and to propose and perform experiments.

Under the supervision of Dr. Svoboda, GOLEM was (almost) exclusively in the students' hands for one week. More than 100 plasma pulses were performed. By groups of two or three, students studied plasma parameters' roles on performance and worked to optimize parameters to achieve the longest plasma. They also investigated conditioning techniques, ion mass number effects, and energy confinement time. Following data analysis and questioning, students presented the scientific results of their experiments at the end of their hands-on session.

The Master des Sciences de la Fusion is a collaborative training program sponsored by major French institutions of higher education (Aix-Marseille, Bordeaux, Nancy and Paris-Sud Universities, Ecole Polytechnique and CEA-INSTN). Next year's February gathering is expected to draw 40 students, including students from the pan-European Erasmus Mundus Master program.