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The winning team: from left to right, Wolfgang Werner, Elisabeth Storath, Yoan Cuvillier, Tristan Sarot and Bastien Bezol.
When CAD Designer Yoan Cuvillier was faced with endless months of work virtually positioning thousands of tiny components on the vacuum vessel shell 3D model, he thought that maybe there was a better way to do it than one by one.

Yoann and his colleague Tristan Sarot had already spent four months positioning the clamps that hold the electric loops in one sector of the vacuum vessel shell (these electric loops are part of a diagnostic system that measures the energy of the plasma). Each loop needs about 30 to 470 clamps; there are some 40 loops in each sector and there are eight sectors that need to be equipped.

Do the math: almost three man/years of work were required just to position the clamps...

Following the required procedure, Yoan created a "CAD/ENOVIA ticket" suggesting the task could be automated (CATIA is the software used by CAD designers at ITER, ENOVIA is the database).

Tackling the issue along with the young the 21-year-old CAD designer, IT and the CAD Infrastructure & Applications Team (namely CAD Support Technician Bastien Bezol; CAD Development Coordinator Elisabeth Storath and CAD Responsible Officer Wolfgang Werner) soon produced a "macro" (a set of repetitive instructions) which not only allowed for the automatic positioning of the clamps but which could be applied to any repetitive action on components.

"There are of course software developments that accelerate this kind of work," explains Wolfgang Werner. "But this was the first time the idea, and the suggestions, came from a CAD Designer."

The "CATIA Macro for Clamps Positioning" that Bastien Bezol conceptualized, and that IT implemented, "produced almost perfect results on the first try-out," says Wolfgang. It now takes 10 to 30 minutes to clamp a loop, when an average of one full day was required previously.

A mere hundred lines of code had done the trick—no more dull, repetitive work for Yoan, Tristan and their CAD designer colleagues, and a substantial savings in manpower and time for the ITER Organization.

Conference kickoff began with a Native American blessing and dance. The blessing was to celebrate the work of fusion researchers to learn from the wisdom of the Earth and the Universe in harnessing natural energy to create a clean energy supply.
Nearly 1,000 of the world's preeminent fusion researchers from 45 countries gathered last week in San Diego to discuss the latest advances in fusion energy. The 24th International Atomic Energy Agency Fusion Energy Conference, organized by the IAEA in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy and General Atomics, aims to "provide a forum for the discussion of key physics and technology issues as well as innovative concepts of direct relevance to fusion as a source of nuclear energy.''

Those in attendance in San Diego included Nobel Prize-winning physicist Burton Richter; Physicist Steven Cowley, CEO of the United Kingdom's Atomic Energy Authority; Frances Chen, a plasma physicist and UCLA professor emeritus who wrote the book An Indispensable Truth: How Fusion Power Can Save the Planet; and keynote speaker William Brinkman, director of the Office of Science in the US Department of Energy.

ITER Director-General Motojima gave the overview talk in the opening scientific session on Monday 8 October and ITER played centre stage throughout the conference, with more than 20 members of staff present providing as many scientific papers and posters (the ITER Domestic Agencies, for their part, contributed 54 papers to the conference).

While acknowledging the difficulties in the implementation of the project which the ITER Organization and Domestic Agencies are tackling, delegates to the conference welcomed the significant technical progress in ITER design and construction activities which were reported in the ITER presentations.

At a "Town Meeting" on the prospects for burning plasma studies at ITER that was arranged by the local organizers of the conference, presentations by Rich Hawryluk (Deputy Director-General and director of the Department for Administration) and David Campbell (director of the Plasma Operation Directorate) were particularly well received.

Overall, the atmosphere was highly supportive of the ITER Project and a substantial fraction of the presentations made at the conference were linked in one way or another to addressing ITER's R&D priorities.

Significant progress was reported in areas such as the use of all-metal plasma-facing components and the associated plasma-wall interaction issues, disruption mitigation, ELM control, H-mode access, and confinement. Plans presented for future R&D activities in the major fusion facilities continued to reflect a close link to physics areas which are key to ITER's success.

Click here to view the conference coverage on KUSI local news channel.

Personnel from CEA's Research Institute for Magnetic Fusion (IRFM), Agence Iter France and the ITER Organization participated in the Fête de la Science in Aix-en-Provence.
The annual Science Festival (Fête de la Science) was established in 1991 on the initiative of the then-Minister of Research who considered it important to "take the scientists out of the Ivory Towers of their laboratories and institutions" and engage in a dialogue with the general public.

Twenty-one years later, the Fête de la Science has become a national event that involves millions of participants (close to 100,000 last year in the PACA region alone).

Throughout the country, tent villages (Villages des Sciences) are set up in public squares where scientists perform "fun physics" experiments; large scientific projects present their progress in an entertaining and easily accessible fashion; conferences and exhibits are organized that aim to communicate the thrill and excitement of scientific research.

As they did last year in Marseille, personnel from CEA's Research Institute for Magnetic Fusion (IRFM), Agence Iter France and the ITER Organization participated in the event (in Aix-en-Provence this year), presenting the challenges of harnessing fusion energy and answering the many questions of an ever-curious and often fascinated public.

JET's initial results were summarized by Dr Francesco Romanelli, leader of the European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA) and JET leader, at the IAEA Fusion Energy Conference in San Diego, US on Monday 8 October.
Latest results from the Joint European Torus (JET) fusion device are giving researchers increasing confidence in prospects for the next-generation ITER Project, the international experiment that is expected to pave the way for commercial fusion power plants. Operation with a new lining inside, JET has demonstrated the suitability of materials for the much larger and more powerful ITER device.

JET, Europe's premier magnetic confinement fusion facility based at Culham, UK, has completed eleven months of tests to simulate the environment inside ITER and to prototype key components. For this purpose JET has been successfully transformed into a 'mini-ITER' with a wall made of the same materials—beryllium and tungsten—that ITER plans to use.

Read more on the EFDA website.

A cross section of the Russian toroidal field conductor that was recently tested in SULTAN.
Having recently celebrated its fifth anniversary, the ITER Project has moved steadily from negotiations to real manufacturing, and from dummy testing to production of the Tokamak's construction elements.

One of the first systems to be manufactured in line with the ITER Organization Integrated Schedule Plan is the superconductor for the ITER magnet system. Russia has demonstrated high stability and reliability during this process, fulfilling all its obligations in time. This has not only been acknowledged by the ITER Organization experts, but also by the international superconductor community.

The Russian toroidal field conductor with bronze route strands  was tested in the SULTAN facility by Centre de Recherches en Physique des Plasmas- Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (CRPP-EPFL) in late September-early October 2012. This is the fourth Russian sample to be tested in SULTAN but the first sample containing two sections of conductor made of real production length which will be used to manufacture real toroidal field coils for the machine. The left section of the conductor was cut from a side double pancake pre-production conductor (Phase III) while the right section was made from first production (Phase IV) of a regular double pancake.

The results obtained with the the TFRF4 (Toroidal Field Russian Federation #4) sample show very good agreement with results of the two last samples TFRF2 and TFRF3, which demonstrated the relatively good stability of the conductor during electromagnetic cycling, as well as its good durability during the warm-up/cool-down procedure.

Testing the TFRF4 sample was a very important milestone which completed the pre-production phase of the toroidal field conductor procurement process. This means we can now proceed to the final production stage. At the same time, it opens the way to start shipping the real conductors to the coil manufacturer so they can be used to make coils for the ITER Tokamak.

Posing in the daring architecture of the Visitors Building, from left to right: Sophie Jodar, Samantha Reynaud, Delphine Rusquart, Sophie Tourniaire, Delphine Huart and Laurence Palanque.
Every day, some 80 to 100 visitors are welcomed at the ITER Headquarters. Some might say that the formalities for being granted access to the ITER site are heavy and complex but they are necessary as the ITER site is both the "territory" of an international organization and a nuclear installation.

The logistics that go with issuing the temporary access badges are now centralized in the Access Control building—one of the three edifices, along with the Headquarters building proper and the Medical building, that form the ITER Headquarters compound.

Procedures for granting access to visitors is one of the responsibilities of the Security Coordination Section (SCS) who relies on a team of six hostesses placed under the authority of Australian-born "Greeter Manager" Samantha Reynaud.

"We now have two distinct services, performed by two different teams," explains SCS Section Leader Christophe Ramu. "Until now, the issuing of passes and the subsequent control of their possession was done by the guards. While guards will continue to make sure that everyone wishing to enter the ITER site has been issued with the proper badge, we now have a dedicated team to process the applications."