For ninety years since the establishment of the World Energy Congress (WEC), global energy issues have revolved around national politics, technology, the economy and—over the past four decades—the price of the oil barrel. Today, as can be felt here in Daegu, Korea, where the 22nd edition of WEC opened this Sunday, there's an added urgency to the matter: discussing energy in 2013 is discussing the future of our planet.
"Energy is a daunting challenge that must be addressed by the international community," said Korean Prime Minister Jung Hong-won as he spoke to some of the 6,000 delegates from 140 countries who have assembled here until Thursday. "It is vital that we form a coherent, long-term framework within which to plan and implement future investments," added WEC Chairman Pierre Gadonneix, the former CEO of the French utility company Electricité de France.
Never before has energy been so high on the agenda of world leaders. Every nation and the world as a whole must face what WEC has identified as the "energy trilemma" of the decades ahead—energy security, energy accessibility and environmental sustainability.
While WEC is about self-promotion, where the largest companies, state-owned power operators, ministries and regulatory agencies compete for the largest and most spectacular exhibition stand, it is also about inventing a vision and drawing scenarios for the future. Gadonneix said he expected "true engagement" from the many policy makers present here in Daegu.
Now, can tomorrow's scenarios include fusion as a significant contributor to the energy mix and as an answer to the energy trilemma?
Early Monday 14 October, during a session entitled "Fusion: Betting on a different future?" participants ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima, former President of the Korean National Fusion Research Institute (NFRI) Korea Gyung-Su Lee and Minh Quang Tran, Director-General of the Centre for Plasma Physics at Ecole Polytechnique, Lausanne (Switzerland) replied yes—provided political commitment matches the talent and resources that fusion can already command and provided too that, once the DEMO stage is reached, the competition jumps in to accelerate the passage to fusion commercialization.
"ITER is a power amplifier," said Director-General Motojima. "DEMO will be a money amplifier ..."
Several experts drew an interesting parallel between fusion and the Apollo project in the 1960s. For Nebojsa Nakicenovic, a professor of energy economics at the Vienna University of Technology, "the fusion challenge is much bigger than that of Apollo fifty years ago. It's like going from the first flight of the Wright brothers to the first commercial jet."
Director-General Motojima suggested a more poetic image: "Then, people could look at the Moon and dream of walking, which created massive support for Apollo. The Sun is another dream but you can't look at it for more than a couple of seconds..."
He also pointed out another connection between the two projects: "Helium 3
was discovered in great quantity in the rocks that were brought back from the Moon. And Helium 3 is the future fuel of fusion..."
View more images of the two first days of WEC here.
Part of the Neutral Beam Test Facility, the SPIDER
test bed is designed to finalize the development of the ion sources required for the ITER neutral beam injectors and to test all essential aspects of the diagnostic neutral beam accelerator.
Together with MITICA, a full-scale test of ITER's heating neutral beam injector, SPIDER will help resolve challenging physics and technology issues and validate concepts before the neutral beam system is built at ITER. Europe, Japan and India are contributing components to the Neutral Beam Test Facility, which is under construction
in Padova, Italy.
On 29-30 August, the Indian Domestic Agency (ITER India) hosted the final design review for the acceleration grid power supplies for SPIDER and also the diagnostic neutral beam
. The acceleration grid power supplies for both systems are similar with respect to their technical specifications (system rated for 96 kVDC, 75 A) and intricacies. However, one will be installed at the Neutral Beam Test Facility (SPIDER), while the other will be installed directly at ITER to power the diagnostic neutral beam.
Under separate Procurement Arrangements, India is responsible for the design, procurement, supply, installation and integration of the acceleration grid power supplies for SPIDER and the diagnostic neutral beam. To fulfil its commitment, ITER India concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with a leading manufacturer in India—the Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL). Under this arrangement, ITER India has placed contracts for design, manufacture, supply and testing.
Late August, experts from India's Institute of Plasma Research, the manufacturer ECIL, industry and ITER India participated in the final design review, with the remote participation of experts from the ITER Organization, the European Domestic Agency, the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) and Consorzio RFX (host to the Padova test facility).
The review panel appreciated the untiring efforts of all involved in the development of the design. Only one category 1 chit and 13 other category chits were raised during the final design review; experts gave very useful suggestions that will be taken into account by ECIL. The closure of the final design review on 16 September with the resolution of the category 1 chit and ten others now paves the way for initiating manufacturing activities.
Colleagues from US ITER, ITER Korea, and the ITER Organization gathered in Ulsan, South Korea on 25-27 September at the premises of Hyundai Heavy Industries to participate in the Manufacturing Readiness Review for the ITER steady state electrical network (SSEN) high voltage substation transformers.
This successful review is a crucial step towards powering the ITER facility.
The four transformer units, each rated 400/23.1kV, 75MVA, serve to connect the ITER site's 400kV Prionnet substation, operated by the French operator RTE, to the ITER SSEN AC distribution system. The SSEN, together with the PPEN (pulsed power electrical network), provides all electrical power to the ITER facility.
The SSEN provides power to all of the conventional "steady" loads of ITER, including the cooling water systems, the cryoplant, and all other loads demanded by the site infrastructure up to and including the HVAC and lighting of the buildings. The PPEN provides power to the "pulsed" systems of ITER, including the magnet power supplies and plasma heating systems. Considering the critical role of SSEN, the quality and reliability of the transformer units is key to the high availability of ITER operations.
The four units will be delivered one at a time, with the first arriving at ITER in the fall of 2014 and the last in early spring of 2015. The relatively early delivery needs of the SSEN 400kV substation components, including the transformers, is based on the need for power delivery from the SSEN substation beginning in the fall of 2015 to provide for the gradually increasing level of power required at the site during the ITER system commissioning phase.
Following the review resolution process, Hyundai Heavy Industries will submit a revised documentation package that will reviewed and approved by US ITER and the ITER Organization; then, a Manufacturing Release will be issued and fabrication will begin.
Hyundai Heavy Industries is among the leading power transformer manufacturers in the world, with an annual production capacity of 120,000 MVA, and unit ratings up to 765kV and 1500MVA. The transformer manufacturing facility is part of the massive Hyundai industrial complex located adjacent to Ulsan harbour.
The ITER Organization was represented by Joel Hourtoule, head of the Electric Power Distribution Section, and Supriya Nair, the Technical Responsible Officer. Following the tradition of good cooperation within the ITER Electrical Engineering Division, Jong-Seok Oh, the ITER Korea power supply technology team leader, attended the review to facilitate communication between review participants and to gain experience relevant to transformer procurements for the ITER AC/DC converter system. Additional participants from US ITER included Ajoy Das, the lead engineer from the URS Corporation (under contract to PPPL) serving as the SSEN Engineering Support Subcontractor, and Paul Russman, a seasoned power transformer consultant who has served clients at over 25 design reviews at the Hyundai Heavy Industries Ulsan factory.
High Temperature Superconductor (HTS) current leads are the components that transmit the large currents from room-temperature power supplies to very low-temperature superconducting coils. HTS current leads use a short segment of high temperature superconductor that can sustain much higher current densities than even good conductors such as copper, allowing the reduction of the material cross-section and the related heat conduction by about tenfold. Power and installation cost savings with HTS current leads are estimated at approximately 20 percent of the total heat extraction capacity of the ITER cryoplant.
The current leads for the ITER Tokamak have come a long way: from the original 60 kA proposals from the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute (JAERI) and European partners (KIT's "demonstrator"), to the first prototypes fabricated
in China at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Institute of Plasma Physics (ASIPP), and now on to the presentation of the HTS current lead mockups at the 12th HTS working group meeting that took place in ASIPP (Hefei, China) held last week from 10-11 October.
The HTS working group, which brings together experts from institutes in Japan (NIFS), Europe (CERN), China (ASIPP) and the ITER Organization, has been supporting the development of the HTS current leads for ITER since 2008. Yuntao Song, the project manager for the ITER feeders at ASIPP, gave the 12th working group a warm welcome, stressing that "the HTS current lead team in ASIPP has spared no effort and no expense to deliver the HTS mockups on time."
The current lead mockups presented this week were fully endorsed by the working group, thereby giving ASIPP and China the ITER Organization stamp of approval for the manufacturing process and technology for the 60 large-scale HTS current leads that ITER will need.
"The development and manufacture of the HTS current lead for ITER goes significantly beyond the present state-of-the-art of those used for the Large Hadron Collider or the stellarator project Wendelstein 7-X," says Arnaud Devred, leader of the Superconductor & Auxiliaries Section at ITER. "Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the young team at ASIPP and the support provided by the ITER Organization and its experts, a significant milestone has been achieved, paving the way to the manufacture and testing of prototypes of each HTS current lead type."
Procurement Arrangement specifications required that, following the development of the designs
of ITER's three types of current leads, targeted trials of specific features were required from each supplier to prepare fabrication and testing of prototype units in ASIPP. Five different types of mockups were made to develop the most critical technologies in preparation of series manufacturing (insulation, electron beam welding, heat exchanger manufacturing, low temperature superconductor end assembly, and instrumentation).
To ensure the high standards of quality required for these Quality Class 1 components, significant preparation was mandated by the ITER Organization; the fabrication and testing of the mockups was the final stage in qualifying the design and procedures. (Many of the procedures required extensive testing on sub-features of the mockups.)
In preparation for mockup manufacturing, 80 quality documents had been submitted by each of the suppliers; these were reviewed by the ITER Organization and the HTS working group. This documentation represented the basis against which the actual manufacturing process had been assessed by the suppliers' quality assurance staff. The ITER Organization dispatched quality inspectors to the suppliers to witness the most critical operations.
"This was the first Manufacturing Readiness Review for one of the main magnet systems and represents a clear step forward for ITER Construction," commented Neil Mitchell, Magnet Division head, with satisfaction. "In this two-day face-to-face meeting we were able to confirm the quality of manufacturing development and our readiness to launch the prototype."
Competitive cyclists develop stamina, discipline and determination—all strengths that will assist ITER Chief Engineer Joo-Shik Bak as he takes on new and additional responsibilities as head of the Project Control & Assembly Directorate.
"ITER is changing phases," said the newly named Director, "and we need to change too. After years of focusing on completing the design, we are now transitioning to manufacturing and very soon to assembly and installation. The work we do now to prepare for assembly is of extreme importance."
The Project Control & Assembly Directorate was created by the ITER Director-General earlier this year to direct resources to preparing for this critical phase of ITER construction, for which the ITER Organization has full responsibility. "We are determining now how to treat assembly in the most efficient manner. As a first-of-a-kind project it's not easy to capture industry experience. We need to think now about how best to select the most capable contractors for assembly works."
Joo-Shik, who has been acting director for the Directorate since March, already has the experience of building four large-scale projects in Korea. "Based on my previous experience, I know that our success in this endeavour will be based on two principles: working together and keeping our promises."
"Together," he explains, "we can achieve what no one person could achieve alone. In a project, the 'we' must supersede the 'I'—that is to say that the team is more important than any one person, including myself."
And for him, the notion of "promise" is best expressed by the Chinese character for the word, which is made up of two faces—confidence and binding. "It means that we make promises that we can keep and we keep the promises we make. We have many important decisions to make together as a team."
Before coming to France for ITER, Joo-Shik was a ranked cyclist in his age category and it's an activity that he enjoyed in Provence ... before a serious accident slowed him down last June. "It used to help me release work-related stress and wind down on weekends." Now, recuperating from a broken shoulder and a broken collar bone—and with his additional responsibilities—Joo-Shik will be sticking a little closer to the office.
Two new video clips have been released by the European Domestic Agency, Fusion for Energy, that highlight the advantages of participation in ITER for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and industry.
In Europe alone, EUR 2.7 billion in contracts have been awarded for ITER since 2007—of which an estimated three-fourths has been directed to industry, trickling down through partnerships to the second and third-tier level. Industrial Liaison Officers (ILOs) have been established throughout Europe to facilitate contact between companies and the ITER Project.
In the first clip, "ITER: A unique collaboration with business potential," we hear from some of the ILOs who were present last March at the ITER Business Forum where over 700 industry representatives interested in ITER attended from 24 countries.
In "ITER: Direct benefits for industry, laboratories and SMEs," representatives from European companies that have already signed contracts for ITER share their experience of the Project's challenging requirements.
Soren Bang Kors, ITER ILO in Denmark (Clip 1, 4ʹ08"): "[ITER] is not just any other business opportunity. There'll be both conventional deliveries but also very high tech, very specialized technologies required—technologies that are on the brink of what is possible today. The first major challenge for SMEs and industry in general to get involved in a project like ITER is that they should be able to see themselves and their competencies as being relevant to ITER."
Christian Dierick, ILO in Belgium (Clip 1, 5ʹ00"): "It's not only an [opportunity] for big players in the field; on a second-tier level—contracting—there are also possibilities. We have many technical companies which have niche competencies and which have to find their place ..."
Paolo Bonifazi, Business Development Manager at Walter Tosto, Italy (Clip 2, 1ʹ42"): "Let me say that ITER was for us like a [rocket booster] because I think that we reached the level of know-how and the level of capability in a very, very short time."
Michael Peiniger, Managing Director of Research Instruments, UK (Clip 2, 0ʹ42"): "ITER technical requirements are really very, very demanding, cutting-edge ... as a cutting-edge company it is still very challenging for us. We are excited to get to this level of technology ... and to get into a new business area."
Maria Teresa Dominguez, Director of Advanced Projects at Empresarios Agrupados, Spain (Clip 2, 3ʹ18"): "Having been involved in ITER we have had the opportunity to work in consortiums with international companies, and work with SMEs. For us, it was not the case before. We are able to work with the young generation, and transfer our nuclear experience to the young generation. There are a lot of benefits to our being involved in the ITER Project."
Henrik Bindslev, Director of the European Domestic Energy, F4E (Clip 1, 0ʹ47"): "In ITER, we are creating something that is absolutely unique. It's hugely challenging and it hasn't been done before. This, of course, means that we're going to be pressing technology to the limit of what we know today. In fact, we're going to be inventing new technologies and much of this invention will take place in industry, but also in partnerships with other high-tech technology areas such as companies and in public research organizations. So our expectation is that SMEs, which are where much of the innovation takes place in society, will ... help us address this very challenging, very difficult task of making fusion a reality, but also be part of improving the competitiveness of our economy, of ensuring job creation..."
View the video clips on the European Domestic Agency website.