Subscribe options

Select your newsletters:

Please enter your email address:


Your email address will only be used for the purpose of sending you the ITER Organization publication(s) that you have requested. ITER Organization will not transfer your email address or other personal data to any other party or use it for commercial purposes.

If you change your mind, you can easily unsubscribe by clicking the unsubscribe option at the bottom of an email you've received from ITER Organization.

For more information, see our Privacy policy.

News & Media


Of Interest

See archived articles


Yong Hwan Kim, ITER Deputy Director-General
In the oriental calendar 2009 is the year of the Ox, which is regarded as being the sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work. May I wish success to all those who are involved in the project in 2009.

The Department of Central Engineering & Plant Support (CEP) was busy in 2008 building up manpower, reviewing the baseline design, estimating resource requirements, etc. CEP is currently responsible for 31 procurement packages totaling some EUR 900 million across various plant support systems.

The basic plant support systems such as the electric power supply, the cooling water system, the cryogenic system and the hot cell should be ready for use before the assembly work starts on site. Therefore, Procurement Arrangements for both the cooling water system and electric power distribution systems will be signed in 2009. In parallel, to accommodate the recent design changes and regulatory requirements, recalculation of user requirements for several main systems is in progress. The result will be utilized in finalizing the design of plant support systems.

Last December, the first kick-off meeting of the pilot Integrated Product Team (IPT) for the power supply was held with the participation of ITER Organization and Domestic Agency experts. Key tasks were identified at the meeting and six task leaders were selected for their successful implementation. There will be a regular pilot IPT meeting every month and weekly task-level meetings to check the progress and facilitate collective problem solving. The relevant experts from both the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies are focused on the success of the electrical power supply. Efforts will be concentrated on the areas of AC/DC converter technology, standardization of power distribution and the integrated power control system for the ITER magnets. Moreover, a dedicated expert group will soon be operational to review the baseline design of AC/DC converter under the framework of the IPT for the next six months.

Last week the final design review for the ITER vacuum vessel's in-wall shielding was held in Cadarache. Experts from the ITER Organization, Europe, Korea, Russia and India participated in this meeting that was chaired by Brad Nelson from the US Domestic Agency. Participants discussed the design of the shields and identified outstanding issues that needed to be finalized before signing of the Procurement Arrangement, which is scheduled to happen next month.

The in-wall shielding for the ITER Tokamak is composed of modular blocks made of borated and ferritic stainless steel plates that fill the space between the double walls of the vessel structure. The main function of these inserts is to provide neutron shielding and to reduce field ripple. Water flow channels provide the cooling of the material.

Field ripple along the outer edges of the plasma can produce potentially damaging hot spots to the first wall. This effect can be reduced by increasing the size or number of toroidal field coils or by installing ferromagnetic inserts between the plasma and the toroidal field coils. Due to cost and space restraints, the use of ferromagnetic steel plates looks like the most viable solution. Five different materials will be used in ITER: for the neutron shielding steel of types 304B4 and 304B7 has been chosen, and for the ferromagnetic inserts chromium stainless steel plates of type 430.

The Indian Domestic Agency will fabricate and deliver more than 6,000 shielding blocks for installation into the vacuum vessel sectors in Korea and Europe, while some blocks will be delivered to ITER for installation in the field joints regions when the vacuum vessel sectors are assembled at Cadarache. The weight of each neutron shielding plate can vary between 50 and 500 kg with an average size of 50 cm x 20 cm x 43 cm depending on its location.

Other topics discussed in this final design review ranged from risk assessment, scheduling and manufacturability to physics considerations including electromagnetic analysis structural analysis and neutronics.

A report based on findings by the design review board members will shortly be presented to ITER.

Fabienne Kazarian
Some people think that communication material, glossy brochures and leaflets are useless. They shouldn't, as communication material, sometimes, can change a person's life.

Take for instance Fabienne Kazarian, who just joined ITER as a radio frequency engineer with the CHD Department.

A brilliant student at the École Nationale Supérieure de Physique (ENSPM, Marseille) in the early 1990s, she was still undecided about her future. One day, she had to do a presentation on a scientific subject for her English class. "I got at it two days before it was due. I was wondering what would be nice to present. I really had no idea..." By chance, her elder sister had visited CEA-Cadarache some time before and had brought home a brochure—in English—about fusion and the newly completed Tore Supra tokamak. "This was completely new to me and I was totally fascinated. What a great concept! A clean, safe and sustainable source of energy! And the machine looked fabulous, so big and so complex. The very positive impression I experienced that day decided my career."

But how did one study fusion in Marseille in the early 1990s? "I inquired here and there, eventually called the people at Tore Supra who directed me to a little-known Master's in plasma physics. I worked on my thesis at Tore Supra—I was so impressed the first time I saw the machine!"

The "machine" was to become very familiar to Fabienne, who was hired to work in the CEA Fusion Department in 1997. "What I loved at Tore Supra was how fundamental physics and technology go hand-in-hand. I learned a lot from the technical staff." By 2006 she was heading the CIMES project, a major upgrade of the lower hybrid current drive (LHCD), which took the total settled LHCD heating power of the tokamak from 4 to 10 MW.

Two years later the inevitable question arose. "ITER had a strong appeal, not only as a decisive step in fusion research but also as a demonstration that the whole world could join forces to face a global challenge. To me, this was something huge and it was just natural to apply."

A job description on the ITER Organization's website fitted her profile perfectly, and Fabienne officially joined the Organization on 1 January, 2009.

On her office desk in 519, Fabienne keeps her Tore Supra construction helmet—she will definitely wear it "working on the ITER machine."

Taking a joint approach: The cooling water teams from the ITER Organization and the US Domestic Agency.
The ITER cooling water system is on the critical path; the Procurement Arrangement is scheduled to be signed this spring. To prepare all the necessary steps for launching the Procurement Arrangement and to further discuss the plans for contracting with US industry for design, procurement, fabrication, testing and delivery of the components, the teams from the ITER Organization and their US counterparts recently met in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where the US Domestic Agency is based.

COMPASS, the tokamak that made a spectacular move in October 2007 when it was lifted out of its bed at the UKAEA site in Culham, UK, to be sent to Prague in the Czech Republic, has proven that it works just fine by reaching its first plasma.

Bryan Taylor's (left) unique contribution to plasma physics for more than 50 years ...
Professor Bryan Taylor FRS celebrated his eightieth birthday by inviting fusion researchers, old and young, for a day workshop at Culham on 14 January.

The theme of the workshop was Bryan's unique contribution to plasma physics over some fifty years. In his introductory remarks, Culham Director Steve Cowley referred to him as one of the giants in theoretical physics, along with Rosenbluth and Kadomtsev. Bryan played a huge role in "inventing" plasma science and putting it on the firm footing that underpins fusion research today. His seminal papers on bootstrap current, ballooning theory, scaling theory and gyrokinetics, among others, are not only essential to the current, and future, fusion experiments including ITER, but have won him an international reputation, Fellowship at the Royal Society, and the highest awards of the American and European Physical Societies. Now officially retired, Bryan can still be found working at Culham part time on fusion theoretical problems.

Many cooks spoil the broth, they say. That does certainly not hold for this kitchen!
In May 2009, 28 primary school pupils and 3 of their teachers from the International School of Manosque will take off for a four-day hands-on learning experience at Meolans-Revel (Alpes de Haute Provence). There will be nature trails, treasure hunts, orienteering activities, bread baking and a guided tour in the Mercantour National Park.

So what does this have to do with a recipe book? Well, French teacher Karine Meger came up with the idea of her 8, 9 and 10 year old pupils producing a multilingual recipe book to help finance the trip. "I asked each child to write a recipe from their country of origin and to provide a picture/photo of the dish," she says. "Not only did they enthusiastically live up to the task, some brought in the real thing for us to try." Piyush from India for example brought in mint sauce and Alu Wada small savoury cakes (a typical Indian dish); Lysiane got straight down to preparing roses des sables, and Julien made a delicious blanquette de veau.

Printing and putting the finishing touches to the book required a lot of work in a short space of time. It arrived from the printers just three days before the Christmas holidays were to begin. "With the children's help, we sold 80 copies in three days but before that we had just one hour to bind each book with raffia. Twelve of the children helped to do this in record time. The joint effort was enormous."

If anyone is interested in a copy of the children's book, please contact

The new Visitors Centre towering over the construction site is now up and running and ready to welcome people who are interested in ITER. As a result, people just keep on coming. Last week, Neil Calder, Head of ITER Communication, welcomed members of the local Council of Meyrargues. Meyrargues is one of many communities in the vicinity of ITER that has taken advantage of the opportunity to receive information on the project's progress first hand.

Want to go scuba-diving off the coast of Cassis, play tennis after work at the CEA facilities or join a ski-trip one of these weekends?

It has all become possible now that ITER has signed an agreement with the CEA Cadarache sports activities structure (ASCEA). This agreement makes it possible for ITER staff (directly employed and seconded) to sign up for the different sports sections proposed by the ASCEA under the same conditions as the CEA staff.

The ASCEA proposes 27 different sports including skiing, golf, dance, skeet shooting, motorcycling, diving, mountaineering, cycling, football, tennis, squash, sailing, aikido, yoga and many other disciplines.

If you are interested and want to join, just go to one of the two canteens where you will find registration forms as well as the ASCEA catalogues next to the stairs.

Fill in the form (tick the box that says "membres conventionnés - AREVA NC") and include a passport picture and ten euros and send it back to Laurence Asplanato, tel: 04 42 25 26 74, email:, at the ASCEA Secretariat, building 103.

Once you have your ASCEA membership card, you can then join any of the member associations. Your card will allow you a 30 percent reduction on the normal membership fees of the associations.

If you prefer to take wine-tasting courses, go to the theatre or to concerts, learn about astronomy and many other activities, you can also join the ACC (Art & Culture Cadarache), the arts and culture association of the CEA. ITER has no agreement with this association so the annual membership card costs 30 euros. For more information regarding these activities, please contact Laurence Asplanato.

One of the last pictures of Jean Giono, who died in Manosque in 1970. (© Jean Dieuzaide)
When CEA-Cadarache was established fifty years ago, a man in Manosque got very upset. He was one of France's most illustrious writers, a celebrant of peasant civilization and of nature's mysteries; an explorer of the darkest reaches of the human soul.

Jean Giono was always at odds with his time. He never liked the "modern world" and its "mechanic madness"; he loathed the automobile ("a machine which uses men to ride around"), lamented the disappearance of windmills and plough horses and, of course, hated the notion of an "atomic plant" being built "ten kilometres from [his] house as the crow flies." As CEA-Cadarache was coming out of the ground, he wrote: "Since it is supposed to be such a blessing, why don't they build it in the Elysée Palace gardens?"

Giono was born in Manosque in 1895, the only son of a cobbler and a laundress. He began writing in the late 1920s, while working as a clerk in a local bank. His first novels Colline (Hill of Destiny), Regain (Harvest) and Un de Baumugnes (Lovers are Never Losers) brought to literature a pagan, almost magical approach to an otherwise familiar environment. In his novels and short stories, reality is rarely what it seems. And sunny Provence is a land of obscure dealings and deadly passions. Reading Giono, wrote Henry Miller, one of his fervent admirers, is a "cosmic delight."

Save for the years he spent in the trenches in World War I, and an occasional trip to Marseille or Paris, Giono almost never left his hometown. At the time of his bickering with CEA-Cadarache, although long acknowledged as a literary giant, he was still living in the same modest house he had acquired in 1930 with the royalties from his first published books.

Most of Giono's novels have been translated into English. A good way to get acquainted with his work is to read Jean le Bleu (Blue Boy), a fictionalized autobiography published in 1932.

In Manosque, the Centre Jean Giono, near the entrance to the old town, has a rich library of manuscripts, rare editions and videos, and organizes regular exhibitions on Giono's life and work.

ITER at the polls. Here Jerry Sovka, Head of the Civil Engineering Department, is going to give his vote.
Last week, on 22 and 23 January, the ITER staff elected their new Staff Committee. This Committee represents the professional interests of all ITER staff—including employment, working, safety and welfare conditions—and facilitates communication between the Director-General and the staff on these matters.

Some 176 members voted last week out of a total of 308 ITER staff on the electoral list (57.14 percent) and the elected candidates are:

For Professional Staff: KIM CHANG SHUK (Test Blanket Section, TKM), staff rep. BEAUMONT BERTRAND (Heating & Current Drive Division, CHD), staff rep. DARBOS CAROLINE (Heating & Current Drive Division, CHD), staff rep. BARNSLEY ROBIN (Diagnostic Division, CHD), staff rep.

For the Support Staff: PRESCOTT BARRY (Technical Coordination Section, PRO), staff rep.

For the Seconded Staff: TAYLOR CRAIG (Tritium Plant Section, CEP), staff rep. SANNAZZARO GUILIO (System Analysis Section, PRO), alternate

Good luck to them in their new roles in 2009.

If you have any questions, remarks or suggestions for the Staff Committee, please feel free to email them at the following address:

Monday last week the rotogate connecting the ITER offices on the CEA site and the new Headquarters rotated for the first time. The new pedestrian walkway reduces the travel time from one building to the other substantially. To celebrate this connection, ITER staff was invited to try it out and to come and visit the Headquarters building on the other side, where traditional French cake—the "Galette des Rois"—and hot wine were served.

Director-General Kaname Ikeda at this year's "voeux."
"Les voeux" is an old tradition in France, and so it is in Cadarache. On 13 January, the local authorities from the region gathered at the Château to welcome the New Year. Amongst the speakers this year was ITER Director-General Kaname Ikeda whose message was as simple as it was clear: "Merci"!

"We came here from all parts of the world to work and live among you," Ikeda continued. "You have welcomed us with warmth and have given us efficient and gracious support. On behalf of ITER, I want to thank each and every one of you."

Ikeda insisted on the crucial role played by CEA-Cadarache and its Director Serge Durand: "The human and technical help you are providing us is very precious. ITER will owe you a significant part of its success."

The year 2009, Ikeda stressed, would be a decisive one for ITER, which is to enter the industrial phase and intensify international collaboration. "Together," he concluded "we are engaged in the great task of preparing the energetic future of our planet. And together, we will accomplish it."

Prof Yuanxi Wan (left in front row) receiving the award from Premier Wen Jiabao (left in second row).
Professor Yuanxi Wan, one of the fathers of the EAST Tokamak and Vice-Chair of the ITER Science and Technology Advisory Committee (STAC), received China's 2008 State Top Scientific and Technological Award.

The prize was presented to Professor Wan by Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing on 9 January. In his keynote speech, the Premier underlined that scientific and technological strength decided the country's destiny and its modernization would depend on the development of science and technology.

In a letter congratulating Professor Wan, ITER Director-General Kaname Ikeda offered his warmest congratulations: "This official recognition is richly deserved and underlines the international respect that already exists for the world class science that is carried out at EAST."

Van Gogh and fusion energy are two things that you wouldn't naturally link together. Yet journalist John Mangels sees some connection between the artist's famous painting "The Starry Night" and the ITER quest. "Perhaps Van Gogh saw the future... More than a century later, on a Provence hillside barely 50 miles from where the artist produced his masterpiece, scientists are building a giant machine to bring the stars to Earth."