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The ITER assembly crane (top) is actually two 750-tonne cranes working in tandem. The system will be complemented by two smaller 50-tonne auxiliary cranes (bottom).
If one excludes such monsters as the Taisun crane at the Yantai Raffles Shipyard, in Yantai China, capable of lifting 20,000 tonnes, the ITER assembly crane, with a lifting capacity of 1,500 tonnes, can be counted among the strongest in the world.

The ITER assembly crane—actually two 750-tonne cranes working in tandem—will provide synchronized lift and millimetre-scale positioning for the ITER Tokamak components. The system will be complemented by two smaller 50-tonne auxiliary cranes.

In July, the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy awarded the contract for the design, certification, manufacturing, testing, installation and commissioning of the four cranes to a German-French consortium, NKMNOELL-REEL, formed by NKMNoell Special Cranes GmbH, Germany and REEL S.A.S., France. The contract, worth approximately EUR 31 million, also includes the 120-tonne capacity Tokamak cargo lift that will move activated components from the Tokamak to the Hot Cell facility during the Operation Phase.

The Final Design Review for the assembly cranes, which started off at ITER on Monday 30 September with the presentation of the design, generated only minor comments.

However the review, chaired by ITER's Central Engineering and Plant Directorate head Sergio Orlandi, strongly stressed the necessity of integrating the cranes in respect to the wider context—a "double" integration taking decommissioning requirements into consideration in the crane system design, and integrating the crane system into the structures of both the Assembly Building and the Tokamak Complex Building (two constructions that differ in almost all aspects).

"Decommissioning the installation once the ITER scientific program is completed some thirty years from now is the responsibility of France," explains Sergio. "However, it is rational for the ITER Organization to design a system that will be used for both the assembling of the machine and for its dismantling. To me, integration for both phases is the key point. And this, as the design review pointed out, can be done with later minor refurbishing"

The design review also addressed what Sergio calls "a critical point": the connexion between the Assembly Building and the Tokamak Complex whose combined length will be travelled by the cranes as they move from one building to the other to position the pre-assembled components of the ITER Tokamak.

Central to the connexion challenge are the seismic joints that must allow for the progressive settlement of the 360,000-tonne Tokamak Complex. "After five or six years," explains Orlandi, "the building will have 'sunk' some 7 to 10 millimetres relatively to the Assembly Building which is much lighter. This is normal but it is something we have to take into consideration."

We are still two years away from the beginning of assembly operations. "The crane is a very good crane. We have absolutely no worry about it. But integration has to get deep into our culture. Integration will insure that we have a safe and functional behaviour of the whole system in all conditions."

As a first step, the staging support beam were lifted by custom designed handling tools and brought into position.
In a small warehouse in Peyrolles, about 10 km south of the ITER construction site, a key access structure for ITER in-vessel assembly is currently undergoing trials. It's a 30° degree prototype of ITER's in-vessel staging: a structure made of aluminium grating that will enable the assembly workforce to install components and tooling on the inside of ITER's vacuum chamber.

While Michelangelo had to rely on a shaky wooden structure to paint the frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, the people in charge of mounting ITER's in-vessel components to walls of the steel structure will have something more robust. Four levels of staging will be installed during the assembly process to provide access to all interior surfaces.

The staging has been designed to allow safe, fast and easy access to four levels inside the vacuum vessel. Its modular design will be adaptable to the different tasks that will take place in parallel in the vessel.

The staging will be used mainly for man access, but the structures have been designed to be strong enough to also support machinery and equipment such as weld sets and manual hoists. The staging can accommodate 70 workers at the same time during assembly. However, the number of persons at the same time in the vessel will be determined by the safety officers.
On 7 October, at the CSTI workshop in Peyrolles, where the prototype was manufactured, a small delegation from the ITER assembly team visited the company to test the installation of the staging and accept the prototype.

Step by step, the delegation witnessed a 10° section extended to form the 30° prototype. Staging support beams were lifted by custom designed handling tools and positioned on adapters that—in situation—will be attached to the vacuum vessel wall via blanket support housings. The beams in place, the grating panels were then lowered one by one with the help of the same handling tools. This is the sequence of tasks that, within the vacuum vessel, will be repeated to form a full 360° section of staging.

For Mark Norman, who led the design work for ITER, the requirements to produce a design that was safe, lightweight, modular and adaptable to vacuum vessel tolerances was "quite a challenge" for the machine assembly design team. "The prototype shows that a good compromise was achieved and that the final design will provide a safe working environment to carry out the many installation tasks." Witnessing prototype assembly was also the occasion to highlight some potential problems with the supply of the floor panels, according to Myriam Le Page, Technical Engineer within the Assembly Section.

The fabrication of the full staging floor is part of a package of in-vessel assembly tools for which the tender process is ongoing.

The ITER Tokamak and KSTAR mockups as well as conductor samples provided by ITER Korea and ITER Japan drew many visitors to the stand. ITER Communication also organized a press conference and presentations of the ITER Project.
Shortly after World War I, Daniel Dunlop, a visionary working in the British electricity industry, decided to bring together leading energy experts for a World Power Conference to discuss the energy issues of the day.

Held in London in 1924, the First World Power Conference attracted 1,700 delegates from 40 countries. The meeting was so successful that those attending decided to establish a permanent organization to pursue the dialogue on a regular basis.

From those auspicious beginnings can be traced the origin of the 22nd World Energy Congress (WEC), which gathered more than 6,000 delegates last week in Daegu, South Korea.

In a little under 90 years the "energy issues of the day" have changed drastically. During the early years, the World Power Conference (the name was changed to World Energy Congress in 1968) was all about assessing the "power resources" of the world and presenting the "inventions" that would help to exploit them.

In the last quarter of the twentieth century as the WEC focused on the fluctuations of the oil market, new players entered the field (nuclear), new preoccupations surfaced (the environment) and energy—due to economic, political and technological concerns—became a societal issue.

The 22nd edition of WEC aimed to focus attention on another drastic change in the global politics of energy. What is at stake today is the very future of our planet. "Energy security is one of the biggest issues that humankind faces," insisted Korean Prime Minister Jung Hong-won in his opening address. "Depletion of natural resources, environmental pollution, and climate change pose an actual threat to people's lives."

As WEC delegates debated the options for "Securing Tomorrow's Energy Today," fusion was, for the first time, included in the official agenda. In a dedicated session on fusion, experts—ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima and former MAC chair Gyung-Su Lee among them—argued that fusion could significantly contribute to the energy mix of the future.

"After ITER success around 2030, we can start the DEMO national projects. DEMO could produce energy by 2040 and feed fusion power to the grid," said Osamu Motojima.

As the curtain fell on the 22nd edition of WEC on Thursday 17 October, the "true engagement" called for by WEC Chairman Pierre Gadonneix to bring about "a sustainable energy future for people throughout the world" was virtually signed.

Below are excerpts from keynote speeches and interviews from the 22nd edition of WEC.

On general energy issues

Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General:
"Energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, environmental health, social fairness and opportunity."

Park Geun-hye, President of the Republic of Korea:
"We are now faced with the biggest challenge ever in relation to energy on a global scale [...] but if we gather our wills together, there must be a way and a solution."

Jung Hong-Won, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea:
"Energy security is one of the biggest issues that humankind faces, with a depletion of natural resources, environmental pollution, and climate change posing a threat to people's lives."

Maria van der Hoeven, Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA):
"Right now, a population four times the size of the US lives without access to electricity, holding back global economic development. Tackling this problem is a moral imperative, and we cannot afford to ignore it."

Khalid A. Al-Falih, President and CEO of Saudi Aramco:
"The inevitable, massive [global] growth in demand for electricity means nuclear will still form a significant part of the electricity generation mix."

Dan Roderick, President and CEO, Westinghouse:
"If you want energy security you can't do it better than with nuclear."

Yukiya Amano, Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency
"There will be an increase of nuclear power globally, but Asia will be at the centre of that, especially China, India and South Korea. Seventy new nuclear power reactors are being built at the moment—50 of them in Asia—in addition to the more than 430 already in operation worldwide."

On Fusion

Osamu Motojima, Director-General, ITER Organization:
"After ITER success around 2030, we can start the DEMO national projects. DEMO could produce energy by 2040 and feed power to the grid."
G.S. Lee, former President of the National Fusion Research Institute of Korea, former ITER MAC Chair:
"What makes fusion completely different is that it's a knowledge-based energy, not a resource-based energy."

Minh Quang Tran, Director-General of the Centre for Plasma Physics at Ecole Polytechnique, Lausanne, Switzerland:
"We have the talent and the resources. What we need now is the political commitment, but in parallel, not sequentially [...] We have arrived at the moment that Lev Artsimovitch had anticipated when he said, back in the 1970s, that fusion would be available when society needs it. Well, society needs fusion now."

Nebojsa Nakicenovic, professor of energy economics at the Vienna University of Technology:
"Fusion is both disruptive and inspirational—after all, it's about taming the stars... I'm convinced that fusion will change the whole energy paradigm by the middle of the 21st century."

The largest poloidal field coils—too large to be transported by road or sea—will be manufactured in a facility on the ITER site. In August, Europe awarded the first in a series of work packages related to their fabrication.
The first of a number of work packages for the manufacturing of ITER's poloidal field coils has been signed by the European Domestic Agency, Fusion for Energy (F4E).

The Engineering Integrator contract was awarded to ASG Superconductors (Italy) in August 2013. As Engineering Integrator, ASG will be responsible for issuing a manufacturing plan for ITER's poloidal field coils that defines the manufacturing layout and workflow, including manufacturing drawings and procedures for the production of all the poloidal field coils to be produced in the on-site Poloidal Field Coils Winding Facility. The manufacturing plan, developed in compliance of rigorous quality assurance, will establish the control of manufacturing activities and the production schedule.

ASG will also support F4E in the procurement of the tooling and equipment for component manufacture and supervise the manufacturing and cold test activities. A team of approximately 20 engineers will work under the contract, worth approximately EUR 27.5 million.

Europe is responsible for the fabrication and testing of ITER poloidal field coils 2-6 (poloidal field coil 1 will be supplied by Russia). Coils 2-5 will be manufactured and tested in Europe, while poloidal field coil 6 will be manufactured in China and cold tested in Europe. Cold testing will involve cooling the coils to low temperatures (80 K) in order to reproduce the thermal stresses that will be experienced during ITER operation.

In addition to the Engineering Integrator contract, work packages are under preparation by F4E to cover the tooling, site and infrastructure, manufacturing and cold testing of the poloidal field coils. Focus will now be on implementing the engineering contract and negotiating the next procurement, which is for the tooling necessary for winding operations.

Read more on F4E's website.