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European Physical Society focuses on ITER Design Review

The 35th European Physical Society Conference on Plasma Physics was held in Hersonissos, Crete, Greece last week. Of particular interest to all those following ITER progress was the presentation by Dr. Paul Thomas "After the ITER Design Review" in a special ITER session Tuesday evening. Paul — who chaired Working Group 1 (Physics and Requirements) and is now with the European ITER Domestic Agency (Fusion for Energy) in Barcelona — reviewed the organisational and managerial background to the Design Review (DR).

After the DR in November 2007, a number of the more complex and/or controversial recommendations were picked up during the second meeting of the Science and Technolgy Advisory Committee. The committee requested that work continued until the issues were resolved. The work on these has continued with a major review by STAC at the end of last month. At this time there has been a satisfactory outcome for most, if not all, issues. In some cases where the solutions have not been finalized, plans have been established to resolve the issues.

Looking forward, he noted that a first draft of the ITER Research Plan (IRP) has been issued for consideration by the STAC-4 and MAC-3 meetings. One of the objectives of the DR was to enhance the members' recognition of their 'ownership' of the project. The DR and follow-on activities have made a good start in achieving this objective, but this will be a continuing process.

Examples of the commitment of the parties' programmes to address ITER issues were plentiful. For example, Dr. George Sips reported on the verification of the requirements for the ITER breakdown and current rise phase in dedicated experiments at JET, ASDEX Upgrade and others. These new results show that it is possible to stay within the ITER design parameters, provide some additional heating is used to assist the breakdown phase and current rise. There were many other reports on modelling of all ITER reference scenarios, H-mode access and pedestal characteristics, progress on exploring ELM and disruption mitigation techniques, tungsten operation, etc. The challenge for the IO will be to digest all of this information. This effort will be strengthened by the new partnership between ITER and the International Tokamak Physics Activity (ITPA).

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