The present Australian research and development activities in fusion are currently concentrated on plasma theory and modelling. Experimental plasma physics research is conducted on H-1 at the Australian National University in Canberra, and inertial electrostatic confinement and dust in fusion plasmas at the University of Sydney. There are also active collaborations with a significant number of international laboratories.
While there has also been recent growth in international program participation, Australia is not yet formally part of the ITER Project. In 2004, a group of Australian fusion scientists and engineers in various organizations and universities formed the Australian ITER Forum, with the goal of achieving Australian participation in the ITER program.
Subsequently, the ITER Forum, with Government support, met with representatives of the ITER Members at a workshop called "Towards an Australian involvement in ITER" in Sydney, in October 2006. Post-workshop, the Forum conducted a strategic planning exercise to outline a participation route to ITER and develop a sustainable domestic capability for fusion demonstration reactor (DEMO) timescales. The strategic plan, which was released in August 2007 and now has widespread institutional support, proposed an Australian contribution of an ITER subsystem, strategic fellowships, and enabling research infrastructure upgrades. Australia has not only scientific and technological expertise to offer the ITER Project, with the ability to train more, but also the backing of specialist industrial firms, and raw materials of fusion relevance, namely for lithium, vanadium and for niobium superconductors.
Most recently (February 2009), two representatives of the ITER Organization visited Canberra for discussions concerning some plasma diagnostics for ITER which have been identified as necessary, but are, as yet, uncredited.
Last week, the National Fusion Research Institute in Daejeon, Korea, hosted the second meeting of the Energetic Particle Physics Topical Group of the International Tokamak Physics Activity (ITPA). Taking a break from the energetic particles, the group took the chance to visit the new Korean superconducting tokamak KSTAR situated in Daejeon. On the first of May in France everything comes to a halt. Newspapers no longer roll off the presses, and schools, businesses, factories, local stores, and government offices all close for the day.
The holiday, which most countries adopted as "Labour Day," has its origins in the history of the American workers movement. On 1 May 1886, in Chicago, hundreds of thousands of workers went on strike to demand the adoption of a standard eight-hour workday. The riots that ensued were particularly violent and resulted in several deaths, both on the police side and on the demonstrators' side. May Day was established by the European trade unions to commemorate these tragic events and later evolved into a celebration of labour and workers.
Since the early days of May coincide with the flowering of lilies of the valley, the flower soon became associated with the celebration. It is a tradition in France to offer small bunches of "muguet" to friends and loved ones. Up until recently, porters at the Halles market in Paris would walk in their traditional costume to the Elysées Palace and present lilies of the valley to the President of the French Republic.
But first and foremost, "Premier Mai" is a day for massive and peaceful demonstrations in France. This Friday, the "Premier Mai" should be exceptionally "unitaire"—which means that, for once, all the main trade unions will march together through the cities' streets.
On 23 April, Mr. Sandip Kumar Mazumder, nuclear engineer and Minister of Science at the Embassy of India in Paris, visited the ITER site. Mr Mazumder is an interface on all the scientific and technology issues with France and he belongs to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL). He was hosted and accompanied by Mr Dhiraj Bora, Deputy Director-General for the CODAC & IT, Heating & CD, Diagnostics (CHD) Department. M. Thierry Brosseron, Head of Administration in Agence Iter France gave them an overview of the construction activities. |
The ITER Magnet Division recently welcomed an eminent newcomer: the internationally known expert on superconducting applications, Yanfang Bi, from the Institute of Plasma Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ASIPP) in Hefei, China.
As Deputy Engineer-General, Professor Bi was in charge of the design for the superconductors and the cryogenic system of the EAST tokamak. He also had responsibility for the research and development conducted in China on the 45/68 kA high temperature superconductor (HTS) current leads for the ITER Project. HTS current leads are necessary to transmit high power currents from power supplies, operating at room temperature, to the superconducting coils, operating near absolute freezing point—and this with minimum heat loss. A prototype of these 68 kA HTS leads was successfully tested at ASIPP last December.
Besides his extensive design work and research on EAST, Yanfang Bi spent two and a half years in Hamburg, Germany, where he conducted measurements on the superconducting magnets at HERA, the accelerator at the DESY laboratory. He also led the effort to design and build the cryogenic system for the HT-7 tokamak, a superconducting fusion device that was rebuilt from the Russian T-7, formerly operated at the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, and which served as a reliable experimental device for Chinese scientists for more than 14 years.
Professor Bi will be working as an expert consultant for ITER. "We feel honoured to have the support of the ASIPP cryogenic expert who significantly contributed to the success of the EAST tokamak," said Arnaud Devred, Section Leader for ITER's superconducting magnets, on the occasion of Professor Bi's arrival in Cadarache last week.
As of April 2009, the ITER Organization employs 392 staff members: 248 Professional and 145 Support.
On Thursday 23 April, M. Kim Joo-Wan, an Executive Auditor from the Korea Power Engineering company, visited the ITER site.