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Norbert Holtkamp, ITER Principal Deputy Director-General
The design review process for the 32 ITER buildings has reached a major milestone. This week we finished the last big package in a series of detailed design reviews: the nuclear buildings including the Tokamak Complex, the Tritium Plant, the Diagnostic Building and the seismic isolation basemat. Engineers from ITER Organization and the European Domestic Agency (in charge of constructing the ITER buildings) worked together with external experts to go over detailed designs prepared by Jacobs Engineering, an external company that had been working for the last nine months towards this date.

This is an important moment for our Organization: we are now getting ready to lay the first foundation stone. Three corresponding Procurement Arrangements—one to select the Architect/Engineer, one to begin the excavation of the Tokamak Complex basement and the support structures, and one beginning the procurement process for the anti-seismic bearings—are scheduled to be signed at the end of March.

From this point on, the call for tenders will be handled by the European Domestic Agency. The office for Civil Construction & Site Support from the ITER Organization will provide further assistance to the European agency wherever possible to progress together towards tender preparation as fast as we can.

We all want to see ITER take shape, evolving from paper to steel and concrete. The future construction is documented in 37 design description documents, 10,000 pages of paper, and more than 800 drawings and fully developed 3D models.

Very soon the huge scrapers and rock crushers that have dominated the scene on the site for the last year will disappear and we will see construction activity, and steel frames and walls going up. The first building to appear will be the manufacturing facility for ITER's huge poloidal field coils that form part of the machine's magnetic confinement system.

In order to facilitate the work between the European Domestic Agency and the ITER Organization we are supporting the initiative for the construction of a new office building next to JWSII, our present Headquarters. This building, termed JWSIII, will be constructed by Agency Iter France (and funded by the European agency), and will allow for close day-to-day coordination among the several hundred staff necessary to oversee the construction of the ITER complex.

The members of the Export Control Group Paul-Henry Tuinder, John Glowienka, Michael Roberts, Akko Maas, Leslie Meyssonnier (Logistics) and Hiroshi Matsumoto (from left).
As a nuclear installation, the control of sensitive information at ITER is an important issue. A steady flow of information about technology and materials is exchanged between the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies—be it by Blackberry, computer, on paper, or in conversation. Control of this information is the task of the Export Control Working Group, established by the ITER Council at its second meeting in June 2008. Michael Roberts from the United States was nominated and appointed as the Group Chair. He has been involved in the ITER Project since its conception.

Last week, Dr. Roberts met with ITER Organization staff closely involved with export control in preparation for the Working Group's next meeting in Washington in early April. Together, they also participated in the first export control awareness training for ITER Organization staff. Thirty people from the ITER Organization participated in this training. "The aim of the working meetings was twofold," reported Michael. "The first aim was to look at the progress being made by the ITER Organization on export control in anticipation of the upcoming Washington meeting, and to give a sharper focus to those preparatory efforts."

The second aim was to begin the process of creating awareness about export control. How should the issue be managed within the ITER Organization in terms of culture, awareness, attitude and level of concern? "We need to understand how we identify and handle sensitive items of information, technology, and equipment that the Members will be providing to the ITER Organization as part of their Procurement Arrangements. Each Member has its own export control regulators," Roberts said. "We're looking at a great challenge. The lively discussions we have had over these past three days have shown that we are on the right track in understanding how to deal effectively with this challenge."

Members of the European Domestic Agency's building team taking a break during last week's design review marathon: Maria Ortiz De Zúñiga, responsible Planning Officer; Rafael De La Calle, Electrical Engineer; Enrique Rodriguez, Civil Engineer; Laurent Schmieder, Head of the Division for Site, Buildings and Power supplies at the European Domestic Agency; and Ben Slee, Civil Engineer.

"We are happy to have been invited to this meeting and to see the meticulous work done by the ITER Organization's Office of Civil Construction and Jacobs Engineering," said Laurent Schmieder. "It certainly marks the beginning of an intense and constructive cooperation between the ITER Organization and the European Domestic Agency." The result of this design review will be used by the European agency to open calls for tender in order to realize the detailed designs. A presentation of these first contracts will be made this week with the "First Meeting on buildings for ITER," organized by the European Domestic Agency in Cadarache.

As of 28 February 2009, the ITER Organization employs 356 staff members: 235 professional and 121 support. All seven Members are represented amongst the professional staff: 141 originate from the European Union, 10 from India, 19 from Japan, 15 from China, 16 from Korea, 17 from Russia and 17 from the US.

The ITER Vacuum Group and their colleagues from Barcelona  discussing the ITER pre-production cryopump.
To maintain a vacuum inside the ITER vacuum vessel and the surrounding cryostat, ten cryopumps will be needed. During plasma operation, the pumps will draw exhaust from the plasma in order to keep it clean and allow the fusion reaction to be sustained.

The ITER cryopumps will be required to function in a fast cyclic mode—continuously pumping and recirculating the exhaust of the burning plasma, including the helium produced as a result of fusion. With such a specific mission to perform, a pre-production cryopump will be manufactured to test its functionality before the construction of all ten begins.

In order to prepare the corresponding design work, a major meeting was held recently at the ITER site in Cadarche with the responsible officers from the European Domestic Agency and the manufacturing firm Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (FZK). "The design is based on significant complex modelling," the leader of the Vacuum Section, Robert Pearce, explained. "But if it is proven to be good, the pre-production pump may even be used on ITER for the hydrogen start-up phase."

Do you have a few thousand dollars to spare, some basic machine and welding skills, and the ability to follow directions without getting fingerprints inside your equipment? Then you, too, can build a baby fusion reactor, or fusor, in your garage.

The next safety training for new arrivals will take place on Tuesday 10 March, at 11.00 in room P22 (Headquarters building). Everyone who could not participate previously is most welcome, but should contact Alain Le Bris (alain.lebris@iter.org) ahead of time in order to allow for enough space.


The German television station ZDF visited ITER on 25 February, spending a full day on site. The crew filmed the manoeuvring and installation of the four-tonne blanket prototype now standing in front of ITER Headquarters, before moving on to the ITER platform, where they interviewed Principal Deputy Director-General Norbert Holtkamp. Later in the afternoon, the crew set up their cameras in the ITER Design Office, and received an update on progress toward construction. The 30-minute documentary on fusion and ITER will air on German television this month. The exact date will be posted in Newsline as soon as it is known.

Marc is a primary school teacher, Romain works as a nurse, Marcel is a maintenance technician in the oil industry, Thierry is an optician and Laurent an engineer. They live and work in Aix and the Étang de Berre area.
"Beatles" and "Rolling Stones" were already taken. So when Marc Gallimard was deciding on a name for his rock band in 2005, "Tokamak" came to mind. The three-syllable word sounded just right and fit the band's musical style—"progressive rock with a touch of metal."

A primary school teacher in Marignane, Marc had encountered the word "tokamak" in a science-fiction thriller called The Stone Council. It was the number one best-selling French book of 2000.

In the book the tokamak was a stone ring, located deep in the Mongolian steppe. The ring managed an improbable mix of fusion and psychic experiments that ended in utter chaos.

Still, "Tokamak" was a promising name to Marc and the band's original line-up: Marc on guitar, Thierry on drums, and Marcel, Marc's father on guitar. "We started by playing standards and it took us some time and a lot of work to begin writing our own stuff and finding our identity."

Tokamak is not a big name yet, but on the local rock scene the band has built a following. Their first concept album, "Evolution," is scheduled for release in April. "It's about the history of mankind," says Marc.

Now that they've heard more about what a "Tokamak" is, Marc and his partners Romain, Thierry, Laurent and Marcel have found new reasons to justify their choice. Says Laurent, an engineer in microelectronics and the band's singer: "We all have different musical backgrounds and experiences, which we fuse in Tokamak... and onstage, let me tell you, we get almost as hot as a fusion plasma!"

Juliet Palmer (Vice-President), Joyce Borgmann (President), and Jo Worth (Secretary) are just three of the dedicated members of the Inter Parents Manosque.
Whoever thought that the ITER Project was the only mammoth multicultural undertaking in Provence was mistaken. Inter Parents Manosque (IPM), the multicultural parents' association of the International School Manosque, started operating in March 2008 and since then it has accomplished one ambitious goal after another.

Joyce Borgmann, President, Juliet Palmer, Vice-President, and Jo Worth, Secretary, are just three of the dedicated members who put in many hours and great energy to make this association the success it is. As Joyce explains, "We want to help make the school community a place of international culture and exchange. We also want to help people feel at home here."

With these objectives in mind, they have organized many social events for the school community, from Halloween and Christmas parties to a summer fête, potluck picnics, and Burns Night in memory of Scottish poet Robert Burns with poetry recital, Scottish food and dancing. They also organize weekly coffee mornings where parents can get to know each other and provide support to recently-arrived families; guided tours of Manosque and a Welcome Information Package.

Fundraising is a priority too: "Funds raised so far have been spent on supporting educational projects and setting up a dark room for photography," says Joyce. "This year we'll continue to subsidize school trips and exchanges and as a solidarity project, over the next few months we hope to establish a sister-school project in Uganda."

However, their most ambitious fundraising event so far is the day-long Vide Grenier "Car Boot Sale" and Promises Auction due to take place on Monday 13 April in the car park in front of Lycée Les Iscles. There will be an international carnival with national stands and games, and entertainment in the school gym. "Promises," such as cookery courses or a ride in a glider, will be auctioned and sold to the highest bidder. There will also be a "Carnival of Culture" fashion show.

Currently, about half the families with children at the school have become IPM members and the association would like as many others possible to get involved in the way that best suits them. As Joyce points out, "Each parent has something to give. Some people feel they cannot bring anything into the school but they can."

When asked what motivates them to put so much energy into the IPM, Juliet summed it up like this, "It's a feeling of helping to build an international community, not just taking the children to school."

Using innovative magnets that should confine plasmas for minutes rather than seconds, the Korean fusion device KSTAR is poised to become a premier testbed for fusion research.

Director-General Ikeda meets Vice Minister Kim Jung-Hyun and Assistant Minister Lee Sang-Mok of the Ministry of Education, Science & Technology of Korea on 27 February.
Director-General Kaname Ikeda meets Vice Minister Kim Jung-Hyun and Assistant Minister Lee Sang-Mok of the Ministry of Education, Science & Technology of Korea on 27 February.