The Department of Administration, with its 34 permanent staff and an equal number of subcontractors and interims, is currently busy with recruitments, placing contracts, budget preparation and implementation of issues following the ITER Council recommendations in particular concerning procurements and contracts.
We are happy to announce that the engineering support contracts for the Departments of Tokamak, Heating & Current Drive and Plant Support will be signed within the next days. Following the approval of all seven ITER Members for these contracts, we will now proceed in order to get the urgently needed manpower in as soon as possible.
As part of the Management Quality Program process, the overall procurement procedures have been reviewed. The prototypes for the new Procurement Tracking System and the supplier database are also being delivered. These new tools will be made available by the end of August and the registration on line through the ITER Organization website will be possible by the end of September. The tools will support the improvement of communication and the competitive process.
A procurement plan for 2010 has been established in close collaboration with the technical fepartments and offices in line with the updated schedule and budget.
The Finance & Budget Division prepared the 2008 Annual Accounts on time, and supported the audit by the Financial Audit Board, such that all could be approved by the Council at its June meeting in Japan. The Council also noted the draft budget for 2010 and the interim budget for 2011. The Finance & Budget Division also prepared the Implementing Measures which were approved by the Council, and updated internal circulars.
The latest document being prepared concerns the ITER Control Standards For Effective Management, for implementation throughout the Organization. This document is currently under discussion, and includes topics such as policies, procedures and management actions to ensure the economic, efficient and effective running of our organization.
The Division of Human Resources reports that we currently number 387 staff from 24 nations. Fully 92 new ITER staff members have been recruited since the beginning of the year. The recruitment of another 74 posts, the "second wave," has started and the interviews are currently ongoing.
An online recruitment tool will soon be introduced which will allow candidates to apply online and Members to nominate their candidates. The specifications have been prepared in collaboration with the European and the American Domestic Agencies and so this new tool should be implemented by September.
The HR Division is working closely with the departments—more than 50 staff are involved—on the development of an ITER Organization job classification. This project aims to improve transparency on the job structure. This is done by an integrated approach including all aspects of people management such as recruitment and selection, retention, training and development, succession planning, talent management and compensation and benefits.
Administration is also working to support the new staff to ensure they have a place to work when they arrive. The increasing numbers of people arriving at ITER is currently taxing Logistics as they seek ways to accommodate all departments' needs.
Substantial progress has been made in the use of SAP but we know that further developments are still needed to make the systems easier to use. Within the next days we will roll out a SAP-based Procurement Portal—a user-friendly tool that will facilitate and improve procurement procedures.
We are also happy to announce that the Internal Audit Service conducted by Yuichiro Ogino has carried out audits in relation to the payroll and travel mission reimbursements and Administration is generally implementing the recommendations.
On Friday, 10 July, ITER Organization and the European Domestic Agency signed a Procurement Arrangement in Barcelona for the power supply system for ITER's neutral beam injectors. The procurement for this system will be shared between Europe—representing about one-third of the package—and Japan; the Japanese Domestic Agency will be signing the Procurement Arrangement for its portion shortly.
Neutral beam injection is part of the ITER heating and current drive systems. Its purpose is to deliver a high-energy beam of neutral deuterium atoms that is used for plasma heating as well as current drive and current profile control. ITER will be equipped with two neutral beam heating and current drive injectors. Each one will deliver a deuterium beam of 16.5 MW (initial total 33 MW), with particle energies of 1 MeV, and will be able to operate for long pulses up to 3,600 seconds.
The power supplies are an important and challenging part of this system and represent 64 percent of the investment for the ITER neutral beams. The signing of the procurement document by Europe is encouraging news for the Neutral Beam Test Facility (NBTF) which is to be built in Padua, Italy.
The power supplies for one of the two injectors will be delivered to the test facility in Padua, and are on the critical path. Timely delivery of the power supplies will allow the NBTF to complete its program according to schedule and thereby timely production of important information on the operation of the heating neutral beam injectors of ITER.
A three-day "external" conceptual design review meeting of the Tokamak cooling water system (TCWS) was held at ITER's Headquarters in Cadarache this week. The Tokamak cooling water system will manage the heat generated during operation of the Tokamak.
The review was organized by the ITER Central Engineering & Plant Department and involved the cooling water system teams within the ITER Organization and the US and Indian Domestic Agencies, as well as independent experts from industry and other fusion projects.
The conceptual design review process is a quality assurance requirement to ensure that the conceptual designs being developed for the ITER machine receive a critical review by independent industry experts and by experienced fusion design and operation personnel. The completion of the review and the resolution of all the resulting items will permit the design to progress to the next phase of TCWS referred to as the preliminary design.
The ITER Council at its fourth meeting in June approved the conclusion of an agreement with the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland, for the ITER Organization's participation in the ADAS project.
ADAS, short for Atomic Data and Analysis Structure, is a computer program and data package originally developed at JET under the direction of the University of Strathclyde, and widely used in the analysis of existing fusion experiments. ADAS is an interconnected set of computer codes and data collections for modelling the radiating properties of the ions and atoms in fusion plasmas.
The ITER team had previous access to the ADAS software and data via agreements with laboratories hosting the ITER worksites. Now that the ITER Organization has been established as a legal entity, the continued use of ADAS within ITER's physics and diagnostics activities requires the establishment of a formal agreement with the University of Strathclyde, which is due to be signed this summer. The agreement would establish ITER as a voting member of ADAS project—a status shared by other major fusion laboratories.
ADAS will be an essential tool for accurate predictive modelling of many aspects of the ITER plasma scenarios. Data from ADAS will be used for plasma simulation codes and in the design analysis of ITER diagnostic systems. It will enable divertor design support and the assessment of divertor performance in planned operational scenarios. Long-term, ADAS will be used in the treatment of experimental data obtained during ITER operation.
Fire accidents can be avoided with proper fire protection and preventive measures. During summer and all year round, we must all be conscious and alert when it comes to the rules of fire safety. To help you to have a wonderful and safe summer experience, here are some of the things you need to remember:
In France there are four levels of forest fire risk (green, orange red and black), depending of the period of the year and the weather conditions.
Cadarache is located in a forested zone; this is why several prevention measures will be applied outside the ITER and CEA domains from 1 July to 30 September, such as temporary sign postings and brush clearing along the roads.
If you smoke, use deep, sturdy ashtrays and ensure that cigarettes are stubbed out properly.
If you see any fire, immediately call the Fire Brigade by dialing 18.
Three letters contain the roadmap for the ITER Project, its timetable, its guideline ... IPS, or the Integrated Project Schedule. It is this schedule by which the construction phase of the project will be managed. The IPS defines the milestones and work packages which are to be undertaken for each of the ITER systems—from huge vessel sectors down to the last bolts. IPS will enable the management team to monitor and report on progress and will facilitate the strategic decision-making process.
But setting up an integrated schedule for a world-spanning enterprise like ITER, with in-kind contributions from seven Members representing 33 nations, is not an easy matter. The conductors for ITER's superconducting toroidal field coils, for example, will be manufactured by China, Korea, Russia, Japan, the US and Europe. In order to get all the loose ends sorted out and tied together, a battalion of professional planners is working on this document, both at ITER Headquarters in Cadarache and in the Domestic Agencies. And although most of the coordination between the various groups is done remotely, it is sometimes necessary to meet in person and talk live.
The most recent Planning & Scheduling Working Group was hosted by the Russian Domestic Agency at the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow from 30 June to 1 July. "The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and finalize with the Domestic Agencies the conventions for schedule structure, milestone content, activity definition, and risk factors," explains Working Group Chairman Steve Gilligan. In a separate session, the first draft IPS for ITER's toroidal and poloidal coils, vacuum vessel, cryostat, thermal shield and cryogenic systems was recorded, and actions listed to finalize each of these IPS elements.
Another round of IPS meetings is currently being held in Cadarache. From 20-31 July, no less then 78 working sessions have been set up between the schedulers from the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies to collaboratively review, amend and agree on each element of the IPS. "These meetings will continue the excellent cooperation between the ITER Organization and Domestic Agency Planning & Scheduling groups and will ensure that any schedule issues are identified and resolved as quickly as possible," says Steve.
The timeline to completion of the IPS is very tight; a complete first draft will be published at the end of July, and a second draft at the end of August. It is intended that the IPS will then be published for final approval at the ITER Organization-Domestic Agency meeting in Chengdu, China in September. This is a very challenging timeline which will succeed with the full cooperation and action of all the stakeholders.
The first week of July, representatives of the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies attended the 4th meeting of the RAMI* & Standardization Board. After Cadarache and Gandhinagar, India, this meeting was sponsored by the Japanese Domestic Agency and held in the Naka Fusion Institute, home of the JT60 tokamak, with remote participation from India and the ITER Headquarters in France.
The attendants reviewed the progress of the RAMI analyses of the ITER plant systems. Fully 14 analyses having been completed, 4 are currently being performed, and 13 remain to be done before end of 2010. All participants agreed on the crucial importance of the involvement of the Domestic Agencies and renewed their support for the updated ITER RAMI analysis program.
In addition to the RAMI, the Board worked on the definition of a standardization process that aims to reduce the cost of constructing, operating and maintaining the machine while improving its availability for the experimental program. A draft Standardization Work Plan was prepared for a shortlist of selected major components to be analyzed in priority by dedicated expert working groups.
The Board concluded its meeting with a strong commitment from each attending party to continue supporting all RAMI and standardization activities to ensure that ITER meets its operational objectives and highlights the way towards fusion energy.
* RAMI: Reliability, Availability, Maintainability & Inspectability (see Newsline # 55 for an introduction to RAMI)
This week, Aldo Pizzuto and Flavio Criscanti from the ENEA Research Centre in Frascati, Italy, came to Cadarache to introduce FAST, a European proposal for a new tokamak. FAST ( for Fusion Advanced Studies Torus) is conceived as an ITER satellite complementing the capabilities and missions of the Japanese JT60-SA tokamak. We talked to Aldo Pizzuto, the Head of the Italian Research Facility, about the concept of this proposed project.
ITER: M. Pizzuto, what is FAST and what are the project's main features?
Pizzuto: FAST is an experiment conceived to exploit in a fairly integrated fashion the physics and operating conditions relevant for ITER as well for the projected demonstration fusion power plant DEMO. The FAST plasma has been scaled from that of ITER, thus preserving its adimensional parameters and allowing it to reproduce all the main ITER operating conditions. FAST would have substantial steady state regime capability, with the possibility of operating for 170 seconds in fully non-inductive current drive.
ITER: The project is being presented as a European proposal, but it is being promoted by Italy. Who stands behind this proposal?
Pizzuto: The proposal was initiated by the Italian fusion community, i.e., ENEA, CNR, CRFX and several Universities, but the proposal is for a European satellite tokamak experiment.
ITER: Why do we need a satellite tokamak to ITER? What complementary R&D could we do with FAST that could not be done in other facilities?
Pizzuto: FAST is a deuterium-deuteurium (D-D) experiment and is consequently much more flexible than a nuclear machine like ITER. FAST represents a valuable test bed for ITER, because it will enable the most challenging ITER scenarios. In particular, scenarios for plasma power handling, Edge Localized Mode (ELM) behaviour, disruption mitigations and control. In fact FAST has the same specific power as ITER (i.e. the same heat load at the divertor target plates) and a very similar plasma edge as well as the same plasma equilibria. Furthermore, the integrated approach allows us to study the fast particle dynamics up to DEMO-relevant conditions. Another important target of FAST is to develop innovative plasma wall materials (e.g., liquid lithium) in view of reactor applications.
ITER: What is the schedule? How fast could it be built?
Pizzuto: FAST can be built within seven years including a commissioning period of one year. The next step is to bring it to the group established in Europe to define the scientific objectives for a satellite project.
ITER: Where would FAST be built?
Pizzuto: We analyzed a few sites, but for the time being Frascati is the reference site.
ITER: Talking about money, how much will FAST cost and who is going to pay for it?
Pizzuto: The investment cost for FAST is approximately EUR 300 million plus about EUR 50 million for infrastructure. It is assumed that Italy would contribute up to 60 percent and the remaining 40 percent would be provided by Europe. In-kind contributions from other European countries are being looked at also.
ITER: Is it a good time to come up with a proposal for a satellite tokamak when ITER is faced with increasing costs?
Pizzuto: A robust accompanying program is essential for Europe to play a significant role in the ITER exploitation. In this context the need for a satellite is very much relevant and FAST can be a very good solution at a reasonable cost.
The acronym "tokamak," which Russian scientist Igor Golovin (1913-1997) coined in the late 1950s, is soon becoming a household name. Second part of our story on "tokamak in popular culture."
Mickey Mouse himself encountered a tokamak in "The Kingdom of Stars," a 1997 Disney publication in German. The device, a mere cylinder which had fallen from a UFO, was described as being capable of "melting hydrogen into astrelium—a process comparable to what happens in the sun." Thanks to that "Astral-Tokamak," mankind would "no longer be dependent on oil and exhaustible raw materials." For an enthusiastic Mickey Mouse this meant "energy and culture without borders!"
The "Tokamak twins," Alina and Dmitri, are the main characters in the Dresden Codak webcomics series—not a reference to ITER CODAC, but to the Dresden Codex, one of the few surviving Mayan almanacs, held in the Regional Library of Saxony since the early 1700s.
What makes "tokamak" such a popular name in pop culture today? Artists and musicians like the way "tokamak" sounds—exotic, mysterious and technological. When they learn more about what a tokamak actually is, they like it even better. "I think I read about tokamaks in some book around age ten," says Aaron Diaz, the Portland, Oregon-based author of the Dresden Codak. "I remember being impressed that it was a safe nuclear reaction." Marc Gallimard, a schoolteacher in Marignane who founded the local rock band Tokamak in 2005, says that "even if people do not instantly connect to our music, the name Tokamak lingers in their memory ... and they don't forget us."
There are certainly several other instances of an unexpected use of the name "tokamak" in Russian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean or any of the "ITER languages."
So if you know of, or come across, any such instance, please share it with Newsline. We'll be happy to publish it.