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ITER NEWSLINE 41
KSTAR's task is to test and study various techniques and technologies that will eventually be involved in the commercialization of fusion energy. It is also part of the ITER project.
Although it isn't at the core of the ITER mission, KSTAR has still achieved several milestones in physics and fusion energy production. It is currently the largest tokamak type reactor in the world, and it is one of the first reactors to use fully superconducting magnets of the same type as those that will be installed in ITER. KSTAR will study the use of both hydrogen and deuterium for potential fusion fuel sources, but is not intended to look into the use of tritium, which will be studied by the main ITER reactor once it has been completed.
"We are very happy to announce the successful event of KSTAR's First Plasma", said GS Lee, Director General of ITER Korea. "We appreciate all the help and contributions offered by the ITER Team in Cadarache as well as by the Domestic Agencies." Read the press release here.
On behalf of ITER Organization, Director-General Kaname Ikeda congratulated Joo-Shik Bak, Director of the KSTAR Research Center. "Knowing your people and how you built KSTAR I have been confident of this success but truly I appreciate your announcement of today. ITER certainly counts on your achievement and your further cooperation with the international fusion community."
"Also", he stressed, "the vessel procurement is critical for the overall project schedule."
According to the leader of the ITER delegation, Arnaud Devred, the CMP was the twelfth and last potential superconductors' supplier to be visited by the IO. "We were amazed with what we saw." Mr. Devred stressed in particular the professionalism of the staffing in place, the tight quality control procedures, the modern equipment and the extreme cleanliness of the production facilities, a striking example of relying on the available experience in the nuclear fission area of the plant to provide an excellent synergy for the production of superconducting wires. "It's a key element for the manufacture of superconductors and ensuring the quality of the strands."
Arnaud Devred singled out the crucial advantage of the close ties that the CMP has with developers of the superconductor's technology VNIINM (Bochvar Institute for Organic Materials, Moscow) "We were also very impressed by the fact that the CMP purchased a lot of new equipment customized for fabricating the ITER strands and that would be adequate for commercial application. In principle this will allow an advantage in terms of schedule due to the supply chain optimization," said Mr. Devred.
There were 83 departements in 1790, by now there are 95, plus six overseas territories. License plates bear their number and, in several instances, this number is used in place of the name — you'll hear French people saying they live in "le 13" or work in "le 04"...
For almost two centuries departements were ruled by a "prefet", representing the Republic and the government. In 1982, the "decentralization laws" transferred the departement's executive to the elected President of the General Council (Conseil General). The Republic's authority remained in the hands of the prefet, but the General Council now had jurisdiction over roads, social services, transportation and middle-school, or junior high education — which is called "college" in French.
The four departements which meet at Cadarache are Bouches-du-Rhone, (#13), with a population of almost 2 millions inhabitants; Vaucluse (# 84, pop. 500000); Alpes-de-Haute Provence, one of the largest and least populated of all French departements (#04, pop. 146000) and Var (#83, pop. ~1 million).
The allegories of these four departements, salvaged from the 1935 bridge, stand guard at the southern entrance of the new Pont de Mirabeau, which was rebuilt in 1989.
The ITER Organization was represented with its own exhibition stand, as was the European Domestic Agency "Fusion for Energy". And the response was impressive.
In a special and well-attended session on Friday afternoon chaired by Friedrich Wagner, three leading experts on fusion tried to find an answer to the provocative question whether fusion will always be 40 years away. "Fusion was only seriously pursued as a result of an oil crisis", David Ward from the UKAEA replied. Given the necessary funding, fusion could deliver power to the grid in less than 30 years, he stated.
Great interest was shown in the introduction to the ITER project presented by David Campbell, ITER Assistant Deputy Director General, and the progress made in fusion material research presented by Hans—Harald Bolt from the Research Centre in Julich, Germany. Questions covered such subjects as how to extract energy from the Tokamak, the number of fusion power plants that would be needed to meet 80% of our future energy needs and the reasons for no private funding to date.
ESOF 2008 website
Superconductivity has been Devred's realm ever since he graduated from Supelec, one of the most prestigious and selective of French "Grandes ecoles". His first professional experience was with the ill-fated Superconducting Super Collider (SSC): "I worked for that program for 6 and a half years, first with the design team at Berkeley, then on site at Waxahachie, Texas. When the project was cancelled in 1993, the US had already invested nearly two billion dollars, and the first 12 miles of the projected 64 miles tunnel had been dug — this taught me a lot about how politics can ruin a very promising scientific project..."
Managing a European Activity on niobium-tin technology at CEA-Saclay, while commuting to CERN for more than 10 years to assist in the prototyping and the production follow up of niobium-titanium magnets for the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have made up for that first, unfortunate though enriching experience.
Arnaud Devred brings to ITER not only his expertise in superconducting science and technology but an acute perception of the industrial challenges to be faced: "Niobium-tin current production is in the order of 15 tons per year; ITER will need more than 500 tons. This means we have to help the industry develop considerable new capacities."
Recently, Arnaud Devred rode a train for 16 hours to get from Moscow to a large nuclear facility that has been adapted "at a great expense", to deliver superconducting components for ITER (see article in this issue). "The industrial machine is gaining momentum," says the French-born scientist. "Nothing is likely to stop it."