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The new extension will be architecturally compatible with the main building—five-stories, the same height and width, and the signature vertical slats on the public facade.
Staff and contractors hadn't yet taken possession of their offices in the brand-new ITER Headquarters building last autumn and already planning was underway for the second round of works. Between spring 2013 and spring 2014, if all goes according to schedule, the Headquarters building will be extended to the west by 35 metres, providing space for an additional 350 employees.

The original architectural design of the building called for office space for 460, with two options for extension (for an additional 250 desk spaces per option). As early as June 2008, the ITER Organization reported to the Second ITER Council that at least one of the two options would be required: projections for the Construction and Operation Phases of ITER placed manpower requirements at between 1,000 and 1,100 desk spaces.

"Despite the rationalization of the building's internal layout, which increased its capacity to 500, and another 300 existing desks in the former Headquarters building, the insufficiency of available space for the long-term needs of the project was evident," explains head of Building & Site Infrastructure Tim Watson.
As construction began on the 20,500 square-metre Headquarters, BSI conducted a study of the potential options for additional desk space. One consideration prevailed: in the interest of efficiency, any new office space should be as close as possible to the Headquarters building. Could pre-fabricated buildings be a solution? Or would a permanent extension be more cost efficient in the long run?
"It turned out that all indicators pointed to a permanent extension as the most rational and cost-efficient solution," says Tim. "Pre-fabricated buildings have higher operational and maintenance costs, and in the longer term they have to be replaced. By adding onto the Headquarters building we will be able to capitalize on existing infrastructure such as lifts and some of the heating and cooling system capacity. We'll also save time by not having to submit a new building permit and by working with the architect and building designers that just completed the ITER Headquarters."

The proposition of a permanent extension to the Headquarters Building was submitted to the ITER Council in June 2012 and endorsed.

The new extension will be architecturally compatible with the main building—five-stories, the same height and width, and the signature vertical slats on the public facade. Walking along an interior corridor, it won't be evident where the "old" building ends and the new begins. The building will be equipped with the usual services, meeting rooms and offices for two to four, and also a large proportion of "open space" offices hosting up to 24 people. One unique feature will occupy an inner room on the ground floor: a 3D virtual reality room that will be used for design and engineering activities.

Since January 2012, BSI has worked closely with the architect and building designers to establish the technical specifications for the extension. Preliminary specifications were distributed through the ITER Domestic Agencies to inform potentially interested construction firms of the upcoming tender to be issued by the ITER Organization. This phase has now ended and the tender offer is on the point of being launched.

For ITER staff, extension works should become a daily reality beginning this summer. Following the award of the extension construction contract, BSI estimates that 12 months will be necessary for building works—an "aggressive but achievable" schedule.

Thanks to Erwan Duval, Facility Management Officer, for his contribution to this article.

Each element has its own colour, corresponding to the gaps between its electrons' energy levels. The human classification of today's plasma colour as salmon, or peach, or burnt sienna is quite irrelevant. But a fun discussion to have, nonetheless.
Something that surprises many people when they see their first plasma pulse on a screen in the control room, is that the plasma is invisible. There is a bit of glow around the edges, and the divertor—the bottom area of the vessel where the plasma touches the tiles—glows red hot. But the core of the plasma, at something like 100 million degrees, is completely transparent.

This is a desirable characteristic — it means that there is no energy being lost via radiation. It comes about because the atoms of the hydrogen fuel have been completely stripped of their electrons, or ionised. When attached to a nucleus at lower temperatures, these electrons absorb and emit light as they jump between the energy levels, but once they are detached that mechanism is disabled, so no light is absorbed or emitted.

To become this transparent, of course all the electrons must be detached. There is a pink glow around the edges because the plasma is cooler and so some electrons are attached, but generally for deuterium and tritium atoms, their single electron is easily removed. But for all other elements, with more electrons, it is harder to remove every last one and therefore to completely prevent energy leaking out through in the form of radiation.

Read the full article at EFDA.

The annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is quite unique in its breadth and scope. © Seattletimes
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest scientific society and one of the oldest (founded 1848), held its annual meeting on 14-18 February in Boston.

The meeting, which a US newspaper described as "the largest aggregation of pointed heads anywhere," is quite unique in its breadth and scope. The topics range from biology to cosmology and from elementary particle physics to science communication, covering the whole range of science research and knowledge. This year the meeting also addressed science policy issues, with panel discussions on the "Role of Science in the American Democracy: Roots, Tensions, and Paths Forward" and "European Science Policy Issues on the Move."

"The clear goal of the various symposiums and panel discussions is to illustrate to scientists who are working in other fields, as well as to members of the press, the progress and the beautiful work that has been done. Some of these talks were just wonderful," says ITER Deputy Director-General Rich Hawryluk who participated in the symposium on "Worldwide Progress Toward Fusion Energy" and gave a talk on "ITER: A Magnetically Confined Burning Plasma," completing his presentation with examples of fusion power production and alpha-particle physics studies at JET and TFTR, and stressing how ITER will dramatically extend these results.

ITER was also prominently featured in "Advances in Burning Plasma-Related Physics and Technology in Magnetic Fusion" by MIT's Amanda Hubbard. A Fellow of the American Physical Society presently working on the Alcator C-Mod tokamak, Hubbard stated that ITER is a priority for the international fusion program, which has focused attention on the critical issues for fusion-scale plasmas. She described progress in simulations of core turbulence and transport, validated by detailed measurements, predictions of the edge transport barrier, and the development of means to control or avoid large edge instabilities.

The final two talks in the symposium were focused on steps beyond ITER.  Hutch Neilson from PPPL gave a talk entitled "Issues and Paths to Magnetic Confinement Fusion Energy," stressing that a new phase of magnetic fusion R&D has now begun. While the success of ITER is the first imperative, nations are already planning roadmaps to DEMO, moving ahead on DEMO R&D, and planning integrated fusion nuclear facilities. There are multiple approaches to fusion development but broad agreement exists on the goals, critical tasks, and the value of international collaboration.

The symposium also addressed the progress accomplished in inertial fusion, with presentations on the National Ignition Facility and the path to laser inertial fusion energy, and on alternate approaches for laser inertial confinement fusion. Mike Dunne, from LLNL updated the audience on the design study of the next-step inertial fusion device LIFE.

Although the AAAS meeting addresses a science-educated public, "most, if not all speakers in other areas of science that I am less familiar with made efforts to be accessible, and they did a very good job," says Rich. "I learned a great deal from the other talks about the importance and impact of clearly communicating the importance and beauty of the work."

ITER's new Internal Auditor, Dhiren Mathur. Not just checking that the figures match, but also auditing organizational performance, procurements and contracts, and understanding technical needs and expectations.
It is going to be busy times for Dhiren Mathur, ITER's new Internal Auditor, who arrived from India only two weeks ago to succeed Sandy Holt who returned to the US at the end of last year. Talking to all of ITER's Departments and Directorates to learn about the project—how functions work and interact, what the procedures are, and also to understand the issues—is going to take all of his time in the weeks to come.

Because auditing is not just about checking that the figures match, but also about organizational performance, procurements and contracts, and understanding technical needs and expectations.

And understanding the larger picture of the way in which an organization functions is what Dhiren has a long experience in. A mechanical and mechanical design engineer by training along with other auditing qualifications, he has spent a number of years in the engineering consultancy companies of India and with overseas multinationals in the gas/oil and nuclear industries.

About 20 years ago he joined the Indian Audit & Accounts Department under the Comptroller and Auditor General of India; in this capacity he audited multiple projects and organizations both inside as well as outside India, among them the FAO (Rome), UNICC (Geneva), WHO-TDR (Geneva) and other audit assignments in more than ten countries.

When the opportunity arose to join ITER, Dhiren did not hesitate a moment and took a sabbatical from the Indian Auditing Department. "ITER is such a unique project, built by so many different countries and breaking all known technology barriers to demonstrate to the world that fusion is a viable energy source," he says. "Being part of something so complex, something that has never been done before, is a challenge that I would not have wanted to miss."

The key missions of Dhiren at ITER concern the cost and schedule: ensuring that effective cost containment measures are in place for the project to remain on track, reinforcing controls, implementing measures against cost slippage, assessing procurement and contract processes and timeliness of payment, but also carrying out independent auditing and management reviews in other areas. 

He will perform a 2013 risk assessment for the ITER Organization in relation to the ITER audit charter with an aim to further align the work of internal audit with ITER business goals and objectives.

This very busy agenda will not leave much spare time to Dhiren, whose family will not be moving to France just yet. But whenever he gets the chance, he plans to be on the seaside practicing his favourite water sports and adding a couple of new words each day to his school French.