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Of Interest

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Tests are run in Korea on the prototype of the AC/DC power converter for the ITER correction coils ...
"Dear Kookie, please fill out and forward. Thank you." (9:00 a.m., France)
"Dear Caroline, could you confirm... appreciate it" (4:00 p.m., Korea)

It's not always highlighted, but the behind-the-scenes work for a successful ITER design review takes endless patience, organization and collaboration across long distances. For Caroline Moller, part of ITER's Electrical Engineering Division, and Kook-hee Moon, part of the Korean Domestic Agency—as well as their colleagues—this often means days that begin very early, or end very late ...

Last week, the Final Design Review for ITER's AC/DC magnet power converters took place from 28-31st May at ITER Headquarters.

"Both the Electrical Engineering Division and the Korean Domestic Agency team have made a big effort to get this Final Design Review to go well," says the Technical Responsible Officer for this system for ITER, Hao Tan. "I was impressed by the fast response and good cooperation between the two teams, including working at midnight! It was the first time we prepared the design review meeting according to the new procedure*. Achieving success was possible through strong support and tight collaboration both inside and outside the ITER Organization—a true expression of the Unique ITER Team—which should be a valuable experience for the future."

"A Preliminary Design Review for the AC/DC magnet power converters was held exactly one year ago, part of the Procurement Arrangement signed by the Korean Domestic Agency in March 2011. The scope of the Procurement Arrangement includes the detailed design of the AC/DC power converter units for the ITER correction coils and vertical stabilization coils. During the preliminary review, interface requirements were clarified, key electrical design parameters were carefully evaluated, factory acceptance test (FAT) items were fully discussed, and site installation procedures and tooling were well investigated. This month, after one year of hard work, everything was ready for the Final Design Review for the correction coil and vertical stabilization power converters. (The Final Design Review of the central solenoid and toroidal field coil power converters is planned for the end of this year). 

The new design review procedure applied to the Final Design Review was a challenge for the joint team composed and the industry consortium comprising Dawonsys and Hyosung. Led by Hao Tan, all parties have been working closely together since March when the interface review meeting was finished. Within 80 days, an internal Final Design Review was organized by the Korean Domestic Agency in order to ensure success during the ITER review. The ITER Organization technical team reviewed all of the review documentation in advance before its official submission to make sure all the key points of the design were presented clearly and precisely. 

"We were all inhabited by the same desire to succeed at this Design Review," says Caroline. "We exchanged many emails and phone calls to better manage the logistics of the event and to plan for the unexpected. Good team work and communication, the power to listen and respect different cultures ... these are the things that create a positive dynamic and that allow us to move forward calmly and confidently."

Kook-Hee, who acted as meeting secretary, agrees: "For the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies, communication is primordial. All participants worked hard for many months in the interest of the project. I cannot deny that the week was very intense, but satisfying. Believe it or not, I miss being at ITER already!"

* New tools are available through the ITER Collaborative Platform (ICP) that aid in the management of a design review, such as a new design review portal and a "Echit" application that facilitates the management of chits.

PPPL scientists, engineers, technicians and other specialists contribute to the international project. © Elle Starkman/ PPPL Office of Communications
The US Department of Energy's (DOE's) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) is a key contributor to ITER. PPPL provides hardware, fabrication and R&D for ITER under contract to the US Domestic Agency US ITER, a DOE Office of Science project managed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "It is very exciting to work on such a challenging global science project with the potential for so great a global payoff," said PPPL physicist Dave Johnson, who heads the development of diagnostic tools for US ITER.

The PPPL tools will provide essential data during experiments on the donut-shaped, 10-story tall ITER Tokamak. PPPL also is procuring the bulk of the electrical network that will deliver steady-state, or constant, power across the sprawling 445-acre ITER site. PPPL contracts for these and other hardware components of the USD 17 billion-plus machine could total about USD 180 million, some USD 90 million of which will flow to subcontractors.

PPPL is conducting experimental and theoretical research relevant to ITER as well. For example, experiments planned for the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX), PPPL's major fusion facility, could contribute to understanding how plasma will behave and perform in ITER. The NSTX is currently undergoing an upgrade that is doubling the strength of both its electric current and magnetic fields.

Read more on PPPL website

HT-7, the world's fourth—and China's first—superconducting tokamak entered service in 1995 and has fulfilled all of its scientific missions, nurturing three generations of Chinese fusion scientists.
Next time you want to see HT-7 you will have to go see it in its new home, ASIPP's new energy centre in Huainan (80 km west of Hefei). It will ultimately become a museum exhibit, showcasing an important period of history and bearing witness to fusion research developments in China over the past two decades.

Recently the HT-7 Tokamak was officially endorsed for retirement by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Ministry of Environmental Protection after a three-month review of the feasibility of retirement and the retirement plan that included an assessment of scrap equipment and environmental impact. This is the first mega-science device that has ever been taken out of service in China.

HT-7, the world's fourth—and China's first—superconducting tokamak entered service in 1995 and has fulfilled all of its scientific missions, running nearly 20 rounds of experiments, discharging 11,800 plasma shots, nurturing three generations of Chinese fusion scientists and achieving a 400-second record in long plasma discharges.

Its story dates back to early 1990 when Academician B. Kadomtsev, the former director of the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, expressed his Institute's willingness to transfer the T-7 Tokamak to ASIPP as a gift.

After discussing logistical, management and technical considerations with his colleagues, as well as the engineering and physics challenges, Academician Huo Yuping (the director of ASIPP at that time) made a quick and bold decision to accept the offer. This decision received strong support from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and other government authorities.

From 1991 to 1994 T-7, together with its subsystems, was transported to Hefei. Despite economic hardship at that time, ASIPP—with the participation and assistance of Russian scientists—pooled its human and financial resources to rebuild the T-7 Tokamak, which was renamed "HT-7" (the "H" stands for Hefei).

After commissioning in March 1995 HT-7 was put into operation the same year, a milestone marking the entry of China (after Russia, France and Japan) into the circle of nations possessing a superconducting tokamak.

In order to conduct long-pulse high-performance plasma operation and related physics research on HT-7, ASIPP developed dozens of systems and technologies such as radio frequency wall conditioning, a water-cooled graphite limiter, a1.5 MW/20-110 MHz radio frequency heating system, real-time multi-variable feedback plasma control, 2.45GHz/1.2MW lower hybrid current drive, and a 30 MW thyristor convertor in same phase anti- parallel connection with 4-quadrant circulating current operation mode.

In total, 11,8000 shots were discharged in nearly 20 HT-7 experiment campaigns, which explored graphite limiter operation mode, high parameter plasma characteristics with wave heating and drive, and long-pulse high-performance operation modes. On 21 March 2008, HT-7 achieved a 400-second plasma record with central electron temperature of twelve million degrees and central plasma density of 0.5×1019m-3.

Because of HT-7 construction and operation, ASIPP has greatly enhanced its R&D capabilities and cultivated a team of engineers and scientists willing to brave hardship and challenges, a trustworthy "team of accomplishments." In addition, ASIPP has promoted extensive international cooperation.

The valuable experience and manpower training resulting from HT-7 exploitation paved the way for the successful construction and operation of EAST and has laid a solid foundation for China's contribution to ITER. It is also a valuable source of information for the future fusion research and projects.

To those who have worked for and on HT-7, the tokamak represents a huge part of their lives—a legend of tears and laughter. The day of 12 October 2012 will always be a day to remember for ASIPP staff: three generations of ASIPP scientists gathered in the HT-7 tokamak control room to witness the last plasma discharge of this beloved machine and to say goodbye. HT-7 did not let them down, putting a beautiful full stop to its career by giving a mighty and last shot amid thunderous cheers and applause.

At last! Time to rest, old pal.

A unique occasion to visit the PF Winding Facility before it's equipped for the winding and assembly of ITER's poloidal field coils, the huge circular coils that will be positioned horizontally around the toroidal field magnet system. The circular spread beam, overhead, will transport assemblies of up to 40 tonnes.
Spring 2013 may have been the coldest in southern France in over 25 years, but luckily Saturday 1 June, the first day of the meteorological summer, was warm and sunny and the weather conditions were perfect for the third ITER Open Doors Day.

To give the public an overview of the progress on site since the last time ITER opened its doors, visitors were first driven up to the ITER Visitors Centre which offers a panoramic view of the 42-hectare ITER platform. In addition to explanations provided by ITER guides, visitors had access to a short film explaining the background and the challenges of the project, mockups of the ITER Tokamak and the construction site, a 3D video of the inside of the machine, and a workshop on the biodiversity of the site. 

Bus tours left every 20 minutes from the Visitors Centre for the second part of the program: a guided tour of the worksite. The highlight of this year's site tour was a stop inside the 257-metre-long Poloidal Field Coils Winding Facility where five of the six ITER poloidal field coils will be manufactured. The huge 40-tonne circular spreader beam overhead particularly impressed the visitors.

Thirteen hundred visitors participated in the third Open Doors Day. Feedback on the day's events was again very positive, so rendez-vous next year at Open Doors Day #4!

Click here to view a selection of photos of ITER Open Door Day.

In France, a national debate has been launched on energy transition. How to reduce consumption? What energy mix for the future? The ITER Organization was invited to participate in a conference on the subject in Troyes on 29 May.
Earlier this year, France launched a wide national debate on energy transition. The aim is to prepare the ground for a new law to be passed in 2014 which will define quantitative objectives for each energy source and allocate specific means and funding to reach these objectives.

The debate is currently organized in the French départements through local initiatives such as public conferences, exhibitions and meetings. André Dorso, national secretary of the National Debate initiative, explains the importance of public consultation: "It is the first time that a national debate is organized in a decentralized way. This is because the regions do not have the same needs and there are significant regional disparities in energy supply. Also, the energy transition is not a mere technical issue. It is also related to public attitude and human behaviour."

On 29 May, a conference was organized in Troyes (near Paris) by the Syndicat Départemental d'Energie de l'Aube, which owns and manages the energy infrastructure of the Department. The conference was attended by 400 representatives of the cities and local governments. Several presentations described the current energy situation, as well as forecasts and plans for 2030 and beyond. According to ADEME's optimistic projections, the total energy consumption in France, currently at 151 Mtoe (million ton of oil equivalent) is expected to go down to 123 and 82 Mtoe, respectively in 2030 in 2050. At the same time, renewable energies are expected to provide 35 percent of the total needs by 2030.

The ITER Organization was invited to present the status of the ITER project at the conference. A specific presentation was prepared, aimed at a non-specialist French-speaking audience. While I stressed from the outset of the presentation that no commercial development of fusion is expected before 2040 the contribution of ITER to the discussion was appreciated. Once more I was able to observe that, although France is host to ITER, a large part of the French population discovers the project through our presentations.

The people I spoke with after the conference were enthusiastic and impressed by the project, its scale and its objectives. They appreciated our efforts to reach a non-scientific public. This is, in my opinion, a key communication objective as it is crucial that ITER be endorsed by the local, and national, community.

Download the general ITER presentation (in French) here.

Former DDG Bora: "The outside world still needs to understand the differences and complexities of executing such an international scientific project, as compared to any other large project."
After five years as Deputy Director-General (DDG) and Director of the CODAC, Heating & Diagnostics Directorate at ITER, Dhiraj Bora returned to the Institute for Plasma Research in Gandhinagar, India in December 2012. In February, he was appointed Director General of the Institute. Newsline recently asked him to say a few words about his return to India, and his vision of the ITER project.
How does it feel being back in India after five years in France? Has there been a period of re-adaption?
I feel good to be back at the Institute for Plasma Research (IPR) in India after six years at the ITER Organization. Working style here is not exactly the same however; therefore, I needed a bit of time to readapt. I am also trying to implement some of the good practices from ITER.

Is there anything you miss about France?
Oh yes, my family and I miss a lot of things. As ITER is in its Construction Phase, life at work was different and hectic and I enjoyed that. Aix-en-Provence is such a nice place to live and interact with people that we will always miss that life.

Looking back upon your time at ITER, what were the most important moments for you—those you will remember, good or bad ...
Learning to manage an international group of experts in the ITER Directorate for CODAC, Heating & Diagnostics was a very important experience for me. The good and the bad all came together for me at my farewell party last December: I was leaving colleagues with whom I shared all my time for six years, but I was happy to receive so many words and gestures of good will and appreciation for what I had accomplished in the CHD Directorate. 

Does now being on the "outside" change your perception of ITER? Do you feel that the outside world has a clear idea of the ITER project—its scope, stakes and challenges?
No, my perception of the project hasn't changed although I am now looking in from the outside. ITER is a unique project and the outside world still needs to understand the differences and complexities of executing such an international scientific project, as compared to any other large project. More people like myself returning from the ITER Organization and continuing still to support fusion and the project should be able to recount these differences to the public to further strengthen their support for the project.

You have recently been appointed Director General of the Indian Institute of Plasma Research, a familiar place to you. How do you see your position there and what are your main priorities as DG?
I have grown with the Institute for the last thirty years. It is the premier institute of India for fusion research and my priorities will be to help the national fusion program grow faster and increase our contribution to the international program.

You will be back at ITER as a Council member. What do you expect from this new ITER-related mission?
As a Council member from India, my priority will be to support activities at the ITER Organization to keep the construction completion date within the parameters  of the 2010 Baseline. I hope to help the ITER Organization in completing design work in all possible ways.