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Of Interest

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Emphasis is shifting to industrial activity

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The last few months have been a very important time for the Tokamak Department and the project as a whole. In November, during the ITER Council meeting, four more Procurement Arrangements for the Tokamak were signed. These included the main vacuum vessel and the ports that are allocated to Korea, and the toroidal field magnet windings and the toroidal field magnet structures allocated to Japan. This brings the number of signed Procurement Arrangements to a total of 12, which is less than the goal we had set ourselves for this year, which was for more than 20.

During the last 12 months we have learned a lot about the procurement process and how challenging and time-consuming it can be for both the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies. We are constantly discussing this process and how it should be modified or improved, since the effort must continue in earnest in 2009. An important activity for the coming months is to prioritize the Procurement Arrangements for 2009. This process has started and will have important implications as to what each of us does during the year.

Since it is clear that the vacuum vessel is so critical to the project schedule, another important activity that is currently underway is the review of systems that interface with the vessel. The first meeting was held in early November and a follow-up meeting is planned before Christmas. The objective of this activity is to review these interfaces and assess the maturity of the interface design and risk of change. Many interfacing systems are being discussed but the most important are with the blanket and the coils controlling the edge localized modes (ELMs) and the vertical stability of the plasma. It is very important to confirm that these interfaces are sufficiently mature before the call-for-tender for the vessel is placed. So this process has high priority for the project.

I also wanted to mention important activities and results related to the conductor qualification and production. Both the Korean and the Russian conductor qualification samples for the toroidal field coils recently tested in Sultan have been accepted. This activity has been a big success and is nearly complete. Emphasis is now shifting to industrial activities and the ITER Organization is supporting cabling trials in Korea, Japan, and the Russian Federation. These and other toroidal field conductor industrial activities are directly related to the supply of ITER components and they mark the beginning of an important new step for the project.

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