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ITER NEWSLINE 53
At the same time, identifying all possible means of reducing the project's cost remains the distant beacon. One of the instruments that help us navigate our ship is the Briscoe Committee that is running an independent assessment of the ITER resource estimates. The board recently convened for a second meeting in Aix-en-Provence and will present its findings to the ITER Council in November.
It is the objective of the ITER Organization and all Domestic Agencies to integrate the Domestic Agencies more effectively into the project as it gains momentum and moves into the phase of very large procurements. This made the ITER Organization/Domestic Agency meeting held in Moscow in September particularly important. In this meeting it was decided to set up new bodies, called integrated product teams. While execution still waits for the endorsement of the ITER Management Advisory Committee (MAC), it was decided to immediately form three pilot teams for the vacuum vessel, the blanket and pulsed power supplies.
ITER is still a young organization and important steps were taken to refine our administrative and financial procedures. DIAMS, the SAP software based, Dynamic ITER Administrative Management System, was launched in September in the Human Resources and Finance divisions. From now on, payroll calculations, personnel data, job description data, finance, budget, procurement, and travel operations will be managed through SAP.
Finally, this week, the worldwide fusion community is gathering in Geneva to exchange the latest results in fusion research. The conference takes place in exactly the same building, the Palais des Nations, and exactly 50 years after the historic declassification of fusion research in 1958. Much has happened in the field of fusion during that period but now all eyes are on us, on ITER, reminding us of the importance of our mission in search of new energy.
The ITER superconducting magnet system is made up of four main sub-systems: toroidal field coils, the central solenoid, poloidal field coils and correction coils. The poloidal field coil system consists of six independent coils. Due to their sheer size, the actual winding of coils 2 through 6 will take place in a special dedicated coil winding building in Cadarache. The smallest coil, PF1, will be manufactured offsite and delivered finished.
The cable-in-conduit (CICC) conductors for the poloidla field coils rely on twisted, multifilament, nickel-plated, niobium-titanium (NbTi) based composite strands. Two types of strands, depending on their high current and high temperature behaviour, are used on three different conductor concepts for different operating requirements. Strand type 1 will be used in the conductors for PF1 and PF6 that will face currents of up to 19 MA, while type 2 is used in the other coils.
In order to guarantee the high quality standards required for the ITER strands and conductors, all suppliers have to perform a comprehensive qualification procedure and acceptance testing.
The main components of the poloidal field conductor are (1) nickel-plated, Nb-Ti-based strands, (2) Sub-cable stainless steel wrap, (3) Sub-cable or petal (includes sub-cable wrap), (4) Stainless steel central cooling spiral, (5) Cable stainless steel wrap, (6) Stainless steel jacket.
When his friends there read in a recent issue of teh ITER Newsline that "no one, mountain climber or archaeologist, (had) ever been able to explore" the mysterious recess in Les Mées' highest "Penitent," they rushed to restore the historical truth.
On All Saints Day 1968, almost 40 years ago to the day, Claude Deck was among a small party of young mountaineers who had been invited by the local town council to climb the rocks and report on what they would see there.
Not only did they reach the "Abbot's cross" and shoot photographs, they also took two small samples of the wooden beams—one to be offered to the Les Mées Council, the other to be entrusted to a laboratory and dated through carbon 14. "I gave it to a lab at CEA-Saclay," says Deck, sipping a cafe-creme at his favourite roadside cafe in Aix. "A couple of months later, they told me that my sample was too small to be properly analyzed."
The "Abbot's cross" sample is now lost, and its mystery remains. "I cannot find any rational reason which would explain the presence of this cross. We didn't find any trace of human work up there, nothing like a passage or an opening. Quite puzzling ..."
No one, since then ... well no, let's be careful from now on.
The Procurement Arrangement includes the improvements coming from the Design Review 2007, which were approved as part of the technical baseline design by the last Council. One major result of this update was the development of in-vessel coils to provide control of the plasma's vertical stability as well as Edge Localized Modes (ELM) that otherwise could dump large amounts of energy into the plasma-facing components. Obviously the technical integration of these new features has an impact on the detailed design and the cost.
So the ITER Organization, together with its partners from the European Community and Korea, who will respectively supply 80 percent and 20 percent of the vessel, are assessing any possible means to mitigate risk, cost and schedule impact. In a one-day review with video participation from the involved Domestic Agencies in Barcelona and Seoul, the various options were discussed and a first evaluation presented. With value engineering in mind, an alternative design proposal for the vessel and the blanket has even been reviewed.
"As a result we proceed with the Procurement Arrangement for the vacuum vessel as planned, based on the present design, while in parallel we follow up on some of the ideas to be able to address manufacturability, risk and cost. This is the right time to go ahead in these directions, since feedback back is coming in from first contacts with potential vendors and we want to be prepared," says Norbert Holtkamp, Principal Deputy Director-General of the ITER Project.
One of the main features of an alternative proposal under discussion sees the inner wall of the vacuum vessel moved out by 150 mm, which would reduce the space between the two shells and thus allow more space for the installation of the ELM coils. Another is a simpler design of the support structure for the blanket housing that would require less welding time and thus could result in some cost reduction at the expense of schedule.
In the first week of November, a series of reviews will follow in order to address remaining open issues on the baseline design and develop a work plan to close them out by the beginning if next year. This is one of the first tasks the project's new Systems Integration Head, Gunther Janeschitz (see article in this issue), has to lead.
The "initial speculation list" that came out as a result of the two-day brainstorming workshop is indeed long, with more than 51 recommendations. But they may not be as crazy as you would expect after Watson's introduction. Focusing on the three major buildings that make up approximately 80 percent of the total construction cost—the Tokamak Complex, Hot Cell Facility, and Assembly Hall—seven of these 51 proposals were selected and recommended for further evaluation.
Proposal number one, for example, is to investigate whether the diagnostic building needs to be constructed on seismic pads like the Tokamak and tritium buildings. Another proposal is for an alternative design for ITER's bioshield: can it be manufactured as "moveable concrete blocks" supported by a prefabricated steel frame structure rather than by "cast in place" solid concrete? As in the previous example, the advantage here would be a more flexible construction method and a shorter construction time. Also, with this approach, the bioshield installation could be deferred to a later date.
Another proposal is to investigate the space allocation for the 60-metre-high Assembly Hall. "Here again, a lot of concrete could be transferred into a steel structure," Tim Watson says. "Instead of the whole building supporting the huge bridge cranes, why not consider gantry cranes for the Tokamak and the Assembly buildings?
A first estimate of the cost reductions stemming from these recommendations ranges from EUR 94 to 104 million. In order to confirm the figures, Civil Engineering is in the process of seeking external technical assistance to review the outcomes of the value engineering exercise in detail and to prepare a first schedule and resource plan on how to proceed with the proposals on the table. "One month later, we will hopefully bring in a larger team to develop the alternative designs," Watson explains. "The time to do this is limited as we have to freeze the design of the buildings to meet the deadline for the Architect-Engineer Procurement Arrangement signature in March 2009."
The European Domestic Agency in Barcelona that is in charge of the buildings has already given agreement in principle to investigate some of the cost saving ideas in further detail. Europe, hosting the ITER Project, will pay for the buildings.
The meeting was attended by approximately 250 fusion scientists and engineers from around the world. The technical program included 272 presentations, with 136 oral presentations and 146 posters during the two poster sessions.
ITER was strongly represented at this year's meeting chaired by Jeff Latkowski from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The lead-off plenary talk by Stefano Chiocchio (on behalf of Norbert Holtkamp) gave an overview of the ITER Project. Michael Loughlin and Neill Taylor from the ITER Organization were also selected for plenary talks covering the ITER nuclear analysis strategy and the preliminary safety analysis, respectively. There were two oral sessions devoted to ITER and many posters. The meeting concluded with a special plenary session that featured talks by representatives of ITER Domestic Agencies from the US (Ned Sauthoff), Europe (Gianfranco Federici), Japan (Ryuji Yoshino), and Korea (Jung-Hoon Han).
In addition to ITER, the meeting covered a wide range of fusion science and technology topics including: structural and breeding materials, test blanket modules, nuclear analysis, environment and safety studies, next steps, DEMO and power plants. The meeting also had excellent participation from the inertial fusion energy community with talks on target design, fabrication and injection; lasers and heavy ion drivers; chambers and power plants. Work on the US High Average Power Laser (HAPL) Program and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Laser Inertial Fusion-Fission Energy (LIFE) project were featured. Participants were given the opportunity to tour the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. NIF construction is nearly complete and experiments to demonstration inertial confinement fusion ignition and burn will begin in 2010. The NIF tour was followed by the conference banquet at Wente Winery, a historic winery in Livermore.
In addition to the excellent technical program and local accommodations at the Stanford Court Hotel, participants enjoyed the pleasant weather, beautiful sights and fine dining offered by San Francisco.
On 8 October more than 50 scientists from 27 European universities and research facilities met at the Max-Planck-Institute for Plasmaphysics (IPP) in Garching, Germany, to launch a new project called Fusion Energy Materials Science (FEMAS). The goal of FEMAS is to develop new materials for future fusion power plants.
For the effective operation of these fusion power plants, advanced low-activation and radiation resistant materials are required to resist the effects of high neutron fluxes, high surface heat loads and physical as well as chemical erosion.
The 27 FEMAS partners stem from various fields of research such as numerical simulation, irradiation facilities and modern analyses and test procedures. The three-year project is an integral part of the European Fusion Programme with a budget of EUR 3.25 million, of which the European Union is paying 65 percent.
Read the IPP press release... in German.
Gunter Janeschitz was born in Klagenfurt, Austria. He started his fusion career in the spectroscopy group of ASDEX at IPP Garching, Germany. He then joined General Atomics in San Diego for one year, before returning to Europe to join the JET team. There, Janeschitz soon became task force leader of the world's biggest tokamak. When in 1994 he was asked to become a Group Leader within the ITER team that was building up at that time, he didn't hesitate.
In 2002 Gunter Janeschitz was appointed Head of the Fusion Programme at the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Germany. In 2006 he took on the role of coordinator of the ITER Design Review Process. Since 1 October 2008 he has become the SSATI. His main task will be the establishment and coordination of the new integrated product teams.
ITER is a highly integrated device with all major components provided in kind by the Domestic Agencies, generating a large number of interfaces. Managing these interfaces—coordinating their analysis, documentation up to technical integration, and finally their manufacturing—requires close cooperation between the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies.
"With the introduction of integrated product teams, the design activities will become more decentralized," says Gunter Janeschitz. And this will only work if we act as one team. "From now on it is no longer them and us. It is us!"
The integrated product teams will be embedded in a new system structure aiming to forge ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies closer together. In its centre is the Product Management Board that is made up by the SSATI, Gunter Janeschitz, Team Leaders and the Domestic Agency Heads. The board reports to both ITER and Domestic Agency management, who will then take the information to the ITER Organization-Domestic Agency Project Board, the Director-General and finally to the Council.
While the execution of the integrated product teams still waits for approval by the ITER Management Advisory Committee (MAC), it was decided in the last coordination meeting held in Moscow to immediately form three pilot teams for the vacuum vessel, the blanket and pulsed power supplies.
After spending some time walking along the periphery of the ITER Project, Gunter Janeschitz is back. This time he sits right in the middle of it, in the heart of the matter.
In every CEA building there are bright orange boxes that hold masks and suits for emergencies, stored in sealed boxes. The equipment is only for use in case of evacuation after a radioactive release. The masks should not be taken out of the boxes unless explicitly advised by the buildings security supervisor (Alain LeBris) or via loudspeaker. Please bear in mind these items that are security equipment. Please inform the security team if you see that this material is missing.
More than 100 representatives participated in the ceremony, including high-ranking officials from the National People's Congress, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the State Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Finance, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Engineering, other Government Agencies, the ITER Organization, the diplomats of the Members' Embassies in Beijing, and other representatives from research institutes and industries.
In his speech, Minister Gang Wan stated that participation in ITER was a very important decision China made in order to promote the sustainable development of energy in the future. The establishment of the Execution Center (the Chinese Domestic Agency) not only stated China's active and responsible attitude toward participation in ITER, but also demonstrated the full support of the Chinese government for the development of the ITER Project. The Center would play a full role as the Domestic Agency for the ITER Project while at the same time managing and fostering the development of the Chinese domestic fusion energy program.
In his remarks, the ITER Director-General Kaname Ikeda acknowledged the great efforts of the Chinese government, represented by the Ministry of Science & Technology of China, MOST, for its important contribution to the negotiations and the ratification of ITER Agreements and, of course, the formal establishment today of the new Domestic Agency. He pointed out that ITER needs China. "ITER needs the outstanding knowledge and ability of the Chinese fusion scientists. ITER needs the wider contribution of China's outstanding scientific community and of course the support of the vast high-technology industry base that flourishes in your country."
The plaque of the Center in English was jointly unveiled by Minister Wan and Director-General Ikeda while Vice Minister Li and former Minister Xu took care of the Chinese version.
After the unveiling ceremony, Director-General Ikeda and Jinpei Cheng, the Head of the new Domestic Agency, signed the first of three Procurement Arrangements for the ITER poloidal field conductors (see photo at upper left).
The IAEA has been closely involved with ITER since the very beginning. Early cooperation phases and the ITER negotiation phases, for example, took place under the auspices of the IAEA. The Director-General of the IAEA is the Depositary of the ITER Agreement.
The Cooperation Agreement signed today will join the two organizations even more closely "with a view to facilitating the effective attainment of the objectives set forth in the Agency's Statute and the ITER Agreement."
IAEA representatives will be invited to attend ITER Council meetings and—vice versa—ITER representatives will be invited in the annual conferences of the IAEA and its scientific and technical committees. If necessary, representatives of both IAEA and the ITER Organization will reciprocally attend other meetings of common interest such as the International Fusion Research Council (IFRC), Coordinated Research Projects and ITER Scientific and Technical Meetings.
The IAEA and the ITER Organization may also cooperate on training, joint publications and organization of scientific conferences, plasma physics and modelling, materials development and fusion safety and security.
The Agreement, entering into force today, will be communicated to the Secretary General of the United Nations for registration and publication.
On 9 October 2008, the ITER Organization and the Korean Company KOPEC signed a two-year framework contract. The subject of this contract is to provide engineering support to the ITER Organization in the field of electrical installations. The duration of the contract is two years with the option of extending it another three years.
KOPEC is to provide the engineering support for the design integration of the ITER steady state electrical network (SSEN) and the pulsed power electrical network (PPEN) components in the building and plant layout, including control and interlock for the components and connected systems. The contract also includes the development of tools required for the design of the cable database and routing (power and control cables) as well as the finalization of the baseline design and design criteria up to the level required for the preparation of the functional technical specifications for the procurement of the networks.
The contract was signed by the ITER Director-General Kaname Ikeda and the Senior Vice President Young Suk Hur on behalf of KOPEC.
This week, starting today, the world's fusion community will gather once again in the Palais des Nations in Geneva for the 22nd Fusion Energy Conference organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This year, the conference will not only bear witness to the most recent progress in fusion research and technology—more than 60 papers and presentation will deal with ITER relevant research and development alone—it will also take time to celebrate a very special moment in the history of nuclear science.
Fifty years ago, from 1-13 September 1958, about 5,000 scientists, government officials and observers from both East and West had come to the old League of Nations building in Geneva—and the nearby exhibition hall that had been constructed especially for this first nuclear world "fair"—to bear witness to the revelation of nuclear research.
Sponsored by the United Nations, the "Second United Nations International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy," better known as the "Atoms for Peace" conference, was the largest international gathering ever to focus on the potential of taming nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
Fifty years later, it is time to celebrate this event: "Fifty years of fusion ... entering into the burning plasma era," is the title of this year's anniversary fusion summit meeting. Newsline took this as a reason to talk to Valery Chuyanov and David Campbell, the Heads of the ITER Fusion Science & Technology Department, about the progress made in fusion over the past years and decades.
Newsline: Looking towards Geneva, where would you say do we stand today?
Chuyanov: Talking about the physics development in fusion science, I would say that considerable progress has been achieved over the past decades. Just look at this graph that shows the progress in Plasma Confinement Quality expressed by the fusion triple product (neTτE), which is closely related to the Lawson Criterion. The first tokamaks developed about 50 years ago achieved a density of 1019 m-3, a temperature of around 102 eV and confinement time in the order of half a millisecond. This resulted in an neTτE of about 5 x 1014 keVsm-3.
Up until now we have achieved a plasma density of up to 1020 m-3, a temperature of around 5 keV and a confinement time in the order of a second, leading to neTτE of over 1020 keVsm-3. So, we made progress of at least 100,000 times, meaning that every ten years, plasma confinement performance increases by a factor of about ten. The rate of progress in magnetic fusion is thus comparable to that of other advanced technologies such as accelerators or computer memory (Moore's Law).
Campbell: As you can see, the plot, limited by the current technology, has sort of saturated. That is in fact why we are building ITER. Our goal with ITER is to achieve a temperature of about 20 keV and a Lawson product of about 3 x 1020 sm-3.
Progress in plasma confinement performance compared to that of other advanced technologies
Newsline: So, what are the chances that we will achieve this goal?
Chuyanov: In the beginning of this year we were handed a list of questions by the scientific community resulting from the comprehensive review of the ITER design carried out last year. I am very glad to say today that all the questions on that list are solved, the baseline document is finalized. We are ready to build a machine that will satisfy all the necessary requirements. We are thus coming to the IAEA conference with conceptual solutions to all the problems addressed by the Scientific and Technology Advisory Committee (STAC) based on direct modeling and experiments. Direct modelling of ITER discharges confirm our expectations in the best possible way that we will gain Q~10 and perhaps even more. We now have to find a way how to implement the resulting design changes in a most cost effective way.
Newsline: What were the main issues on the list to solve?
Campbell: One of the most important issues certainly was disruption control. Not for ITER, as ITER is designed to survive disruptions up to very high levels. Nevertheless we have to solve the problem if we want to develop fusion power plants. We know that a fusion reactor will never operate with Edge Localized Modes (ELMs), high energetic disruptions at the plasma edge. They would erode so much material from the divertor that the plasma could not be maintained. But this is the mission of ITER: to find out what is the best mean to operate a fusion reactor. What is the best way to deal with ELMs? Special control coils or pellet injection? But again, we have another ten years to go before starting ITER operation and in the beginning of this conversation we have discussed what a lot can happen within ten years. Maybe we will see other ideas arising.
HiPER is a proposed European High Power laser Energy Research facility dedicated to demonstrating the feasibility of laser-driven fusion as a future energy source. Designed to enable a broad array of new science including extreme material studies, astrophysics in the laboratory, miniaturized particle accelerators and a wide range of fundamental physics research, HiPER aims to provide the critical next step in moving from scientific proof of principle stage to a commercial reactor after the "proof of principle" of laser fusion is established in the next few years based on two very large scale lasers currently nearing completion in California (NIF) and Bordeaux (Laser Megajoule). Steve Cowley, Director of the UK's national magnetic confinement fusion program, gave a presentation at the inauguration entitled "Fusion—the bigger picture." "Fusion," he said, "is so vital we need to try every way of achieving it. Climate change and security of energy supply are too important to leave any stone unturned. HiPER is not a successor to conventional magnetic fusion but a parallel development."
On 20 September the Inter Parents Manosque (IPM), the association of parents with children at the International School, organized its welcome picnic.
Over 100 people enjoyed the sun and the food as they bonded with other parents. Both the newcomers and parents who were already members last year, as well as some of the teachers and the school management, mixed and mingled while their kids just played around and had fun.
And this is only the first one of a series of social gatherings to make sure parents get the opportunity to meet and socialize in an informal context. In October an afternoon tea will be organized and every Friday morning there is coffee in a cafe near the school. The IPM is also planning a number of other events this year which will be timed so that working parents can participate too.