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Strategies for a closer collaboration

Norbert Holtkamp (Click to view larger version...)
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.

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