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ITER NEWSLINE 83
Before Gambier stepped forward to take the microphone, the Director of the Agence Iter France—Francois Gauché, who is in charge of the site preparation and levelling—had welcomed the staff of the ITER Organization and the delegates of the ITER advisory panels convening in Cadarache this week. "Everything around us has changed, except for the flagpole," Gauché said.
And indeed the picture on the platform has dramatically changed over the past two years. More than 40 hectares of wooded land have been cleared, more than 2 million cubic metres of soil and rock have been moved ... and all of this on-schedule. "I would thus like to thank Agence Iter France for the smooth and safe accomplishment of the site preparations," Kaname Ikeda, ITER Director-General, stressed. "We are now looking forward to the next stage when F4E will take over."
With the ball now in his part of the field, Didier Gambier is well aware of the "enormous amount of work" ahead for the European team. "But be assured of the dedication of everyone in F4E to get the job done," he said. "And then, about ten years from now, a different celebration will take place here where we stand today."
Click here to view photos of the event...
Now, as head of France's largest nuclear research centre which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in October, Serge Durand has "a dream"—a vision that encompasses the whole of the energy mix of the near future and goes well beyond the Centre's traditional activities and present enclosure. Serge Durand wants to make Cadarache a world-class facility: "the leading centre for all energy-related research and development."
Most of the ingredients which could make this dream come true are already there and ready: the RJH (Reactor Jules Horowitz) will be operational in 2014; the naval propulsion test reactor RES is due to be commissioned in 2011; and with the upgraded test reactor CABRI, Serge Durand says that CEA-Cadarache "will soon rank among the top three fission research centres in the world."
The Centre's labs are already big players in the development of a "demonstrator" for the "Generation IV" line of future fission reactors. Construction of this sodium-cooled fast reactor, named ASTRID, should start in 2015 in Marcoule, another CEA research centre some 30 kilometres north of Avignon.
"In fusion, between ITER and the twenty years of experience we have accumulated in operating Tore-Supra, Cadarache is already Number One, there's no question about that. Our Fusion Institute (IRFM) has been working in support of the ITER Project for several years and we can do even better than being partners and neighbours: we can integrate fusion and fission, organize the innovations and spin-offs for a common benefit."
Fission and fusion are only part of the picture. French President Nicolas Sarkozy's instructions to Bernard Bigot, the Administrator General of CEA, were very clear: Cadarache should be "massively involved" in renewable energies. In many respects, Cadarache already is. The Centre is home to one of the most advanced research platforms on third generation biofuels—obtained from algae, bacteria and biomass—and it has ongoing operations on the thermochemical production of Hydrogen and plans to establish "the largest experimental solar platform in France."
Add the contribution of the Cadarache-based Cap Energie "innovation cluster" of which Serge Durand is President and its network of 370 local companies, research labs, training centres and more than 200 ongoing projects; as well as the possible opening of some 10 hectares of land within the CEA enclosure to private, energy-oriented companies and the extension of the INSTN (1) students' campus around the Château ... and what you obtain is "an energy concentration that would have few equivalents in the world."
Will Serge Durand's dream come true? "Provided we get support from industry and the local governments, I'm confident that it will. Ten to twenty years from now, Cadarache will be the place where fission, fusion and renewable energies meet and interact."
This is an important result since it shows that the machine can be operated reliably close to its maximum performance. The availability of more heating power, already envisaged in C27, will make it possible to investigate high confinement H-modes at high plasma current.
The government said ITER would be by far the most important element of European nuclear research and it wanted to be closely involved. The accession of Switzerland was overwhelmingly approved by both houses of the Swiss Parliament. As an associated state, Switzerland contributes financially to the European fusion program.
We are fully aware of the inconvenience caused by the multiplicity of alarm siren tests; it takes time, disturbs concentration and causes confusion with real alarms.
For practical reasons, it is impossible for our Department to remind you at every alarm that it is only a test.
So if you hear sirens going off on Thursday at 1pm, every first Wednesday at 12:30 pm, or every third Tuesday 12 pm, don't fret - it's only a test.
The day a real evacuation of ITER building occupants will be necessary due to an internal or external emergency, you will be clearly notified by our sirens followed by an explanatory message.