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Conferences


Norbert Holtkamp
Preparations are in full swing for the third ITER Council meeting taking place here in Cadarache from 19-20 November. At its last meeting, the Council requested the ITER Organization (IO) to prepare, in close cooperation with the Domestic Agencies, proposals for minimizing costs and risks for the project implementation "through measures of enhanced integrated actions". Talking about integrated actions, the IO-DA meetings with representatives of the ITER management and the Domestic Agencies constitute an essential tool to manage this multi-national endeavour called ITER.

At the recent IO-DA meeting held in Moscow, the IO and the Domestic Agencies took a big step forward by agreeing on a common approach on how to deal with the various technical and logistical adaptations that have become necessary after the ITER Design Review and how to share the tasks amongst the IO and the seven parties. In addition, several cost mitigation and risk reduction proposals were discussed. For both topics fast implementation is essential to benefit from them as much as possible. In addition a strategy for the implementation of so-called Integrated Product Teams was presented. Obviously the successful procurement of high-tech one-off components requires a close collaboration - may be even call it coaching - between the design team and the industry. The common teams consisting of IO and DA member would follow designs all the way from producing 2-D manufacturing drawings through delivery and installation on site, ensuring that all interfaces are defined, etc... The establishment of Product Teams will help to share the responsibility and the work load between IO and the DAs involved and will integrate the organizations spread across the globe as requested by the Council.

After this tough but very productive IO-DA meeting, the review group led by Frank Briscoe met for the second time in Aix-en-Provence last week to continue their examination of the project's investment costs as well as the IO's resource needs.

Right before that I presented the status of ITER at the SOFT conference. a wonderful opportunity to show the significant progress that ITER has made since the last conference in Warsaw. In a meeting between industry representatives and IO and DA members from EU and Japan great interest was shown in the procurement plans of ITER and potential involvement.

Using this occasion I would like to clarify some comments I made at a press conference at the SOFT conference in Rostock last week regarding pending adaptations stemming from the recent Design Review. Taking all the necessary modifications into account plus the cost increases for materials such as steel or copper, I said that some of the ITER components could face increases between 10-100%. The comment was immediately picked up by the media who interpreted the statement as referring to the overall cost of the project. I did not say or seek to imply that these ranges of increases apply to the overall cost of ITER. I apologize if this misunderstanding has caused confusion.

Norbert Holtkamp talking to industry at this year's SOFT conference in Rostock. Photo courtesy IPP.
Rostock is a charming town with cobble stone courtyards and red brick facades situated on the shores of Germany's Baltic coast. Once a member of the Hanseatic League, Rostock has a long tradition, it also hosts one of the oldest universities in Europe founded in 1419.

This week, Rostock moved into the academic focus as it hosted the 25th Symposium on Fusion Technology (SOFT 2008) organized by the Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics in Greifswald. The symposium is held every two years and presents a detailed survey of the most recent progress in fusion research. The ITER project with its demanding requirements was certainly a major topic of this year's event.

As keynote speaker, Octavi Quintana Trias, Director for EURATOM in the Directorate General for Research in the European Commission, summarized the achievements and challenges of the European fusion energy research programme. Trias was followed by the ITER Principal Deputy Director General, Norbert Holtkamp, giving an update on the project's progress and an overview of the latest technological achievements such as the successful performance testing of the ITER magnets, the development of sophisticated diagnostic systems, new wall materials and the control coils for plasma stabilization. In total more than 20 talks and presentations dealt with specific ITER related research and development.

The presentations and poster sessions were supplemented by a Fusion Technology Forum with 40 exhibitors promoting the exchange between industry and research. The same objective was the subject of a panel discussion entitled "ITER and Industrial Development".

A verbal award was issued to two of the most notable works presented during the conference. One of them was the talk on the ITER Remote Maintenance Management System on the basis of "message clarity and its importance for the correct execution of the ITER components", the conference organizers stressed. The other award went to a work on magnetics carried out at the RFX Project in Padova. "I would like to share this reward with all of you, since you all participated and contributed to this work", Leader of the Remote Handling Section, Alessandro Tesini, said.

The Low-Level Radwaste Facility (LLRWF) houses various processes regarding both low-level liquid and solid radioactive waste generated from various ITER process systems. The current configuration for the LLRWF is based on the 2001 design and proposed as follows:

-Basement: dedicated for the storage (in tanks) and treatment of contaminated liquids and resins;

-Ground level: dedicated to solid waste including storage before and after treatment, treatment, packaging and a special area for the mobile unit. This floor also includes a hot chemical and radiological laboratory.

Upper level: dedicated to technical utilities. This facility includes sufficient storage capacity for both liquid and solid waste to ensure that the operation of the ITER facility is not affected by the removal of waste generated by operations and maintenance.

In order to freeze the design and layout of this building, two meetings were organized recently: A first two days workshop 10/11 September allowed the European Domestic Agency "Fusion for Energy" (F4E) and the ITER Organization to review the input data as well as the requirements for this facility, and to then assess impacts on layout and design. The main outcome of fruitful discussions was an impressive reduction in the amount of liquid and solid waste based on robust assumptions. This enabled a preliminary layout to be drafted last week that could meet the 2001 envelope for the building size.

Secondly a design briefing meeting was held in the frame work of the pre A&E activities last week. This enabled the radwaste building to be included in the pre A&E activities. Now the IO team is carrying out consolidation and optimization work to check that the full chain of storage and treatment can meet the ITER waste management requirements.

The ITER Finance & Procurement Divisions celebrate after completion.¶
After a challenging period of trial and training, the ITER finance department now runs the integrated DIAMS SAP system. Setting up this new administrative tool meant an enormous work load that had to be squeezed out at the end of the day to make it happen. Well done - and cheers!

Photo courtesy ITER Korea
On 16 September, Gyung-Su Lee, former Head of ITER Korea, was appointed new president of the National Fusion Research Institute. The photograph shows him (centre) on the day of his inauguration together with senior staff of the NFRI plus invited guests from affiliated institutions, such as Prof. Dr. Friedrich Wagner, president of the European Physical Society.

Forty miles to the west of Cadarache, near Apt, the village of Lacoste sits perched on a hill facing the Luberon to the south and the mountain range of the Vaucluse to the north. Silhouetted against the setting sun, the jagged ruins of a monumental castle tower over the village: this place was once the home of Donatien Alphonse Francois, better known as the Marquis de Sade (1740-1814).

Yes - the very Sade from whom we have derived the words "sadism", "sadist" and "sadistic". Scholars will tell you that this is quite unfair: Sade wasn't a sadist - it's just that he had a lot of imagination. What led him to spend most of his life in prison or in lunatic asylums, was not so much the wild parties he organized in Paris and, later in life, in his chateau in the Luberon, but his unwavering stand for freedom, both political and personal.

Lacoste's 500 or so residents have always harboured mixed feelings about their former lord. During the French Revolution, they looted and burned his castle and today, except for a "Cafe" and a "Moulin de Sade", nothing reminds the visitor of the village's most illustrious figure - no Boulevard de Sade, Rue Justine or Place Juliette are to be found in Lacoste.

But the "Divine marquis" - this is how poets in the 1920's surrealist movement referred to him - is still haunting the place. His sad and eerie presence can be felt on the Castle's esplanade where his caged bust stands lonely guard over the ruined walls.

It took a "stranger", a Parisian, to try to salvage what was left of Sade's memory: In 2001, French fashion designer Pierre Cardin acquired the castle, along with several houses in the village, and has been busy restoring them ever since. Each July, Cardin organizes a music and theatre festival in the nearby quarries. In the summer at least, Donatien Alphonse Francois is not alone anymore.

Work on installing the hydraulic networks for the discharge of water (rainwater, cooling water, sewage) from the ITER site started at the end of August. Underground pipes are being laid alongside the D952 between the ITER site and the roundabout in front of the main entrance to CEA Cadarache. The work is due to finish around March 2009 and should not cause any traffic problems.


ITER Russia ...
In their last meeting at the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies took a big step forward in regards to "enhanced integrated actions" as they were requested by the ITER Council in its last meeting. For more information on the outcome of the three-day meeting see this week's Director's Corner.

Fiona Digby-Grant, Head of the ITER Procurement and Contract Division, did a much respected job representing the ITER project at this year's "Meet the Buyer" conference in the Royal Horticultural Halls, London. Doing Business with the World's Scientific Research Facilities is the subtitle of the conference, organized by the UKAEA Fusion and Industry section. This annual event is a "jour fixe" both for large scale science projects and industry.

Every year since 1985, the European Union chooses a city which, for one year, will be the continent's "Capital of Culture". Last Tuesday, the international jury gave their unanimous verdict: the European Capital of Culture for 2013 will be Marseille, France's second biggest city and by far the oldest one - it was founded as a Greek colony more than 2,600 years ago. Marseille will share this honour with Kosice in Eastern Slovakia.

What gave Marseille an edge over its French rivals - Lyons, Toulouse and Bordeaux - was the strong political and popular support the city's candidature had gained throughout the Provence region.

To be ready for 2013, the city and local governments plan to invest close to 100 million euros in various programmes such as the Cite de l'Image in Arles and, on Marseille' waterfront, the Museum of Europe and Mediterranean Civilisations (MuCem) - which Rudy Ricciotti, the architect of both the future ITER building and the Manosque International School, has also designed. Marseille expects considerable economic benefits from the operation. In the northern city of Lille, which was European Capital of Culture in 2004, six euros were reaped for each euro invested.

But what matters most to Marseille and its residents is the recognition of the city's spectacular transformation. Fifteen years ago, Marseille was looked-down upon as a rundown, unsafe and sleazy place. It is now a bustling "Euro-Mediterranean" metropolis - and it has become almost trendy to live or establish a business close to the Vieux-Port, the Joliette or the Canebiere.

Peide Weng
There must be something special about this fusion thing. Otherwise it is hard to understand why these people don't even think about retiring after their 65th birthday, simply enjoying life under that famous coconut tree or checking out the golf courses of the West Indies? "Well," Peide Weng explains, one charming representative of this species who has just signed a three-year contract with the ITER Organization, "what else should we do now that ITER is happening? Do you really think we can step back after all these years and watch what is happening here from the second row?"

Taking a closer look at Peide Weng's career, the answer is clear. Born in Shanghai, Peide graduated in mechanical engineering at the Beijing Institute of Technology. The Cultural Revolution put a sudden hold on his career, as he was forced to leave University and manufacture tools in a remote factory instead. When the first political storm had calmed down, Peide was allowed to continue where he had stopped. He picked up a job as engineer at the Institute for Plasma Physics at the Academy of Science in Hefei, where he worked on the early Chinese tokamaks, the HT-6M and the HT-7, one of the first superconducting tokamaks in China. "I had no clue about superconductivity when we started, but I was eager to learn," he says. And that not only holds for the holy grail of physics. Besides perfect English, Peide can speak a little Russian and German. The latter he learned during his two years spent at IPP in Garching where he worked on the ASDEX Upgrade.

In 1991 he was appointed deputy Director of the Institute in Hefei and when the Chinese Government decided to build EAST in 1997, Peide took on the role of Chief Engineer of the project. He was also involved in the negotiations for China's participation in the ITER project in 2003. So, ITER will be the fourth tokamak Peide, who is in charge of integration, has worked on during his career. Although Peide's job is strictly technical, it gets a diplomatic touch from time to time. People participating in the weekly Project Progress meetings will know what this means.

ITER is on the move again: As office space is still scarce, the ITER library was packed up and turned into an office for seven people. At the same time, meeting room 110 in building 519 is a meeting room again. The planners-team that was installed there for the past weeks were moved to building 525c.

The new Visitors Center from the outside...
The temporary visitors and training building is now open up on a hill on the ITER construction site, with a marvellous view from its roof-top terrace. Open access is not possible as the building is within the construction site itself, but visits can be made by appointment through ITER-Communications.

On 5 September archaeological excavations restarted after the discoveries of last Spring: artifacts from the third to fifth centuries AD had been found by the National Research Institute for Preventative Archaeology (INRAP) during archaeological surveys along the D952 between the main entrance of CEA Cadarache and the ITER site. INRAP will be carrying out further research for a month, concentrating on the tombs and artifacts uncovered in the Spring.