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The 2013 edition of IBF, in Toulon, attracted over 700 industry representatives from 24 countries. © Agence Iter France
One of the principal objectives of the ITER Business Forum is to promote industrial partnerships for ITER in Europe and abroad between primo-contractors to the project (Level 1), and potential subcontractors (Level 2 and beyond). The 2013 edition of IBF, held on 21-22 March in Toulon, attracted over 700 industry representatives from 24 countries.
Two weeks after the event, it's interesting to step back and assess the Forum's success. Were the companies that attended already known to the project? The statistics are now in. Of the 386 firms or organizations represented at IBF/13, a third (115) are Level 1 project contractors and another 97 have worked as subcontractors (Level 2, ...). When questioned, over 80 percent of companies expressed their objective to become (or remain) primo- or sub-contractors for the project.
We asked participants whether, in their view, the Forum was an efficient medium for companies to form business relationships and partnerships for the ITER Project. 

Pascale Dauguet, Scientific Market Manager and International Expert for Air Liquide Advanced Technologies (France): "The exchanges we had with members of the ITER Organization and the European Domestic Agency F4E were fruitful, and gave us a good idea of the current status of the project. IBF/13 also offered our purchasing and project responsible officers the opportunity to meet new potential suppliers. We will now analyze the capacities of these suppliers with a view to optimizing our outsourcing. The contacts we formed are potentially very valuable to us, for our work for ITER but also for other Air Liquide Advanced Technologies projects. Having all of these actors in one place for several days was very useful!"

Kyung-Ho Park, Project Manager for Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (Korea): "It was very significant for the representatives of Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. (HHI), the largest industrial company in the world, to be present at the IBF/13, which was quite well organized. HHI is manufacturing two sectors of ITER vacuum vessel as contractor to the Korean Domestic Agency and also the toroidal field coil structures which was awarded by the Japanese Domestic Agency. In the progress of manufacturing these core components of the ITER Project, HHI has prepared and equipped various facilities and workshops tailored for ITER. HHI has also experienced many trials and errors, which have resulted in the acquisition of important knowhow and technology. We hope this kind of experience and knowhow can be used for project improvement and development in order to achieve expected results in the nearest future."

Jean-Luc Borel, Regional Director for KSB SAS (Germany): "Now in its third edition, IBF has become indispensable for the actors of the ITER Project, especially the industrial companies. We were able to hear the latest on the project from the ITER Organization, from the European Domestic Agency, and from representatives of diverse areas of industry who are potential clients for an equipment supplier like KSB. The information we learned from the presentations was of a practical nature and immediately exploitable in terms of potential opportunities. The IBF/13 event brings together and federates the suppliers engaged in this complex scientific and industrial project. What's more, the communication tools developed by the French Industrial Committee (C2I) allow us to remain in touch with the project between two editions of IBF. As a potential Level 2 actor of the project, we were favourably surprised by the success and the quality of the one-to-one meetings that we participated in. Two examples: a meeting with an important French group—already a contractor for ITER (and a client of KSB's for valves )—became the opportunity to learn about current tender offers and opened our eyes to new regional associations. Our exchanges have continued beyond IBF in Toulon, and visits are planned. A second meeting with a group based in the PACA region has resulted in possible pump activities for KSB beyond the scope of ITER. As a last note, I would have to mention the quality of all the informal discussions that I was able to have during IBF/13..."

Michèle Debret, Major Project Commercial Manager for APAVE (France)
: "For APAVE, already heavily involved in the ITER project through contracts with the ITER Organization and the European Domestic Agency, IBF/13 was an excellent opportunity to consolidate and develop our exchanges with industrial companies and institutions working with the project. The event stands out for the following reasons: the quality of contracts, the international dimension of the Forum, the presence of high-level representatives of the ITER Organization and Industrial Liaison Officers, and excellent organization. In effect, a number of the industrial firms present had well-defined expectations for the partnerships they hoped to form for contracts underway or tender offers to come. Our exchanges were oriented toward practical opportunities for doing business together. Also, it is rare to find such an international selection of top industrial companies in one place—our interaction with them was extremely valuable, even beyond the scope of ITER. The movement around ITER is accelerating; component fabrication is underway all over the world. For APAVE, specialized in quality and risk management, important opportunities are ahead. IBF/13 acted as a galvanizer for industry around ITER and we are pleased to have participated."

Jean-Claude Cercassi, Business Development Manager / ITER & Large Scientific Instruments for CNIM Industrial Systems (France): "IBF/13 was particularly rich in people contacts—the five representatives of CNIM attended quite a number of conferences and obtained more than 40 meetings with ITER actors, partners and potential suppliers. I was impressed by the efficiency of the one-to-one meetings—the subjects were well defined, well prepared and a concrete plan of action resulted from most. It's true that the ITER Project has reached maturity: 3D models are now being replaced by components and companies like CNIM have concrete projects to share and offers to build based on industrial partnerships. The ITER Business Forum has accompanied the project since its beginnings and the maturity can be felt—the conference program was consequential and the business meetings well organized. Perfect! Thanks to its implantation in Toulon and the fact that it was awarded the radial plate contract by the European Domestic Agency, CNIM was in the spotlight during IBF/13—for this I'd like to thank the organizing team. The ITER Business Forum is now a "must" for CNIM, because it contributes directly to the expansion of our activities for ITER and for fusion."

Ruben Moreno Zubelzu, Business Development, ENSA (Spain): "Participation in IBF/13 was a success for ENSA. After the conferences, the number of contacts with potential subcontractors or potential partners for new business opportunities increased significantly. The contract with ITER has been an opportunity for ENSA to participate in a project with international repercussions, working together with top-level technological companies."

Thomas MARTY - Project Manager ITER, ASTARE - Engineering Services, Westinghouse Electrique France (France/USA): "This year was the second time I attended the ITER Business Forum. Once again, the event was very fruitful. It was a great opportunity to get an update on project progress and learn about the future calls for tender planned by the ITER Organization but also the European and other Domestic Agencies. Westinghouse had many requests for one-to-one meetings and we were not able to answer all of them positively, although we established several very interesting contacts which I hope will lead to future cooperation around ITER or for the other activities of Westinghouse in France and the rest of the world. The previous IBF in Manosque led us to win the ITER Organization framework contract for design engineering and CAD services. We hope the contacts we have established and the information we have collected this year will also turn into similar achievements. In the context of such an active procurement phase for the project, I think many of this year's attendees are looking forward to another IBF next year."

Mission accomplished: The completed first section of the NSTX-U center stack capped months of demanding preparations and close teamwork.
"If we had a script, I couldn't think of a better outcome." That's how Ron Strykowsky, head of the NSTX Upgrade, described recent results for a critical stage of the project's construction. Riding on the outcome were months of work on the first quadrant of magnetic field conductors for the tokamak's new center stack, which forms the heart of the $94 million upgrade.

The crucial stage called for sealing and insulating the first quadrant through a volatile process known as vacuum pressure impregnation (VPI). Preparing the nine 20 foot-long, 350-pound (150 kilo) copper conductors for this step required the coordinated efforts of engineers and some dozen skilled technicians. The multiple tasks included soldering cooling tubes into the conductors under the direction of Steve Jurczynski, and sandblasting, priming and wrapping the units with fiberglass tape in operations led by Mike Anderson.

Read more on PPPL website.

One can never know what will inspire an artist. Take sculptor Tim Sandys, for instance: his latest work, soon to go on on display at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh, draws from ... nuclear technology.

For the self-taught 38-year-old Scot, things nuclear have a beauty of their own. Many of his sculptures, like "Crossroads Baker," were named after some of the experimental detonations of the 1940s-1970s. Don't look for "Crossroads" on a map—it was just a 23-kiloton hydrogen bomb test on Bikini Atoll in 1946.

Sandys even did a "Portrait of Edward Teller," a polyester resin, iron and vinyl abstraction that expresses the dark torments of the father of the H bomb.

When, in the course of his research, he encountered the tokamak, the artist knew he'd found something that he could elaborate on artistically. "The classic D-ring tokamak really resonated with me," he recalls. "I have a kid's appreciation of this donut structure, as if you could walk around inside the reactor. Aesthetically, the symmetrical precision of the torus has an elegance that's hard to ignore."

To realize his tokamak-inspired pieces, Sandys dug into the "visual goldmine" of tokamak drawings, cutaways and diagrams that are available on the Internet. "Then," he explains, "I sat down with a calculator and tried to summon my high-school geometry to plan the work. It was often exhausting—my last tokamak sculpture consisted of over 1,400 individual pieces of wood."

Sandys' interpretation of the tokamak is minimal. "I try to depict a cross-section or a segment emerging from a wall and then looping back into it. If I can get across a sense of mathematical rigour or simplicity then I'm happy."

The artist refuses to theorize his work. "I'm wary of artists who deliberately confuse or preach," he says. "Personally, I'd far rather find some kind of common language using mathematics or physical properties—one that doesn't need to be explained."

Wood and petroleum-jelly tokamaks, displayed on art gallery walls, is a first step in that direction.

For more information on Tim Sandys' work, click here.

A good place to hold the latest in the series of DivSOL TG meetings: the EAST tokamak is being equipped with an ITER-like, full tungsten divertor in the upper part of the vacuum vessel.
With the EAST tokamak in the middle of an extended maintenance period—during which the ASIPP team in Hefei, China will take the audacious step of installing an ITER-like, full tungsten divertor in the upper part of the vacuum vessel by the end of this year (see box below)—what better place to hold the latest in the series of regular meetings of the International Tokamak Physics Activity (ITPA) Topical Group on Divertor and Scrape-Off Layer physics. Known in ITPA circles as the DivSOL TG, this group focuses on issues of importance to ITER in the area of heat and particle exhaust from the tokamak plasma and the unavoidable plasma-surface interactions which occur at the plasma-materials boundary. 

Plasma and materials physicists work together within DivSOL to address a host of questions, from movement of material by the plasma and tritium trapping in surfaces, to turbulent transport of heat in the plasma boundary and plasma-facing component lifetime under intense heat fluxes. In common with all ITPA groups, DivSOL is reactive to urgent ITER physics R&D issues and works to find answers to specific requests.

One such example is the flurry of activity stimulated by the ITER Organization proposal in autumn 2011 to eliminate one of the two divertors planned for the first years of ITER operation, up to achievement of burning plasmas. The idea is to go the whole way with a single unit in which tungsten (chemical symbol W) would be the only material intercepting the majority of the tokamak heat exhaust. A single divertor would be a major cost saving to the project, but it is a calculated risk: W is a harder material to work with from the plasma point of view than the carbon fibre composite in originally planned first divertor.

Finding out just how much of a risk, and making sure that a workable design with qualified technology can be ready in time for procurement which must begin next year, was the task set by the ITER Council to the ITER Organization, with a reporting deadline near the end of 2013. All the ITPA groups are lending a helping hand by trying to assess the physics risks of "beginning full-W." DivSOL has a major role to play given that most, but by no means all, of the issues concern the plasma-materials interface.

Not surprisingly, living with tungsten was a major theme in the 18th DivSOL meeting, hosted by ASIPP from 19-22 March. It was also a record breaking meeting that reunited over 90 representatives from the ITER Members, including about 50 Chinese participants representing universities and technology institutes from all over China. Such high attendance reflects the importance of plasma-materials interaction not just to ITER, but to the long-term future of fusion as a viable energy source. The meeting was also a good example of the less visible, but essential, role which ITPA fulfills in addition to supporting ITER as a vehicle through which newcomers can take part in lively discussions and presentations, in a workshop atmosphere, with experts from across the ITER Members.

The success of any workshop or conference depends to a large part on organization. Our Chinese hosts led by Houyang Guo of ASIPP (and ITPA DivSOL co-chair), provided a seamless environment for the first DivSOL meeting ever to be held at the Institute. The next DivSol TG will be held in Japan in January 2014.

The KSTAR Program Advisory Committee (PAC) has provided critical analysis and constructive counseling for KSTAR's experimental campaign since 2009. The PAC members convened in Daejeon, Korea from 20-22 March.
The National Fusion Research Institute (NFRI) held its 5th KSTAR Program Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting in Daejeon, Korea from 20-22 March 2013. The KSTAR PAC was first established in 2009 and has provided critical analysis of each year's experimental campaign and constructive counseling to the KSTAR campaign ever since.

This year, eight world-renowned fusion scientists and researchers, including Hartmut Zohm (IPP, Germany), Mickey Wade (General Atomics, USA), and Joseph Snipes (ITER Organization) were invited as PAC members and reviewed the 2012 KSTAR campaign results, 2013 research plan and beyond. PAC members shared their critical views and comments with KSTAR management and researchers; this input can now be utilized to steer the upcoming campaign and as a basis for long-term KSTAR research planning.

The chairperson of the KSTAR PAC meeting, H. Park (POSTECH, Korea), stated that the PAC found that the 2012 KSTAR campaign had achieved remarkable progress in spite of short run time and scarce resources.

It is recommended that KSTAR research should fully exploit its unique innovative research tools such as IVCC and 3D imaging systems to explore new research areas which are not accessible in other devices while pursuing the goal of steady state, high beta operation.

"It is widely expected that KSTAR will meet the expectations of world fusion communities since it has produced far better results than originally envisioned. In order to ensure the path for forefront KSTAR research, it is critical to have the PAC check on the progress and results of the campaign and provide the counseling necessary to establish an efficient experiment," commented President Kwon of NFRI.

KSTAR will run its 2013 campaign from June until October, including collaborative experiments for the two months of August and September.