Even after more than 4,500 years its power to fascinate has not diminished. Classified as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Cheops Pyramid remains one of the most intriguing monuments ever built by human hands. Hands that were in fact pretty much the only tools available for lifting rocks weighing nearly 2.5 tonnes, besides ropes made from palm fibre, grass and papyrus, plus "machines made of short pieces of wood," as the famous Greek historian Horodotus reported.
It would be terrific to be able to read what the historians will write about ITER in 1,000 years or more. What will they think of the tools that were developed for the assembly of the tokamak? Tools for ITER's XXL parts will be capable of lifting components as tall as six stories high and as heavy as 360 tonnes—the lift-off weight of a Boeing 747-300. Will they look back to that prototype fusion machine with the same fascination as we look at these "monuments of eternity" in Egypt?
One hundred and sixty-one different types of custom tools will be required to assemble, lift and finally manoeuver ITER's supersized components such as the toroidal field coils from the Assembly Hall to the Tokamak Pit. Their loading capacities will vary from between 500 tonnes for the upending tool that will turn components from horizontal to vertical, to 1,500 tonnes for the heavy lifting tools and main assembly cranes that will be used to lift the nine 40° sectors of the vacuum vessel into the Tokamak Pit for their final assembly. There, the biggest tool in the assembly set will finally grasp all nine sectors together—an impressive 3,800 tonnes—in order to align the vessel structure one last time.
While the purchase of the standard tools for ITER assembly will be paid out of a common fund, South Korea will develop and manufacture the customized tools as part of its in-kind procurement to ITER. The Assembly Tool Procurement Arrangement signed Monday, 3 August between the ITER Organization and Korea at ITER Headquarters is worth about EUR 34 million.
"We are very proud to sign this Procurement Arrangement today," said Kijung Jung, the Director of the Korean Domestic Agency, following the signature. "Meeting the target date for this procurement will allow the ITER Organization to continue with its overall schedule and the goal of First Plasma in 2018." Together with the signature for its contribution to ITER's toroidal field conductors, the vacuum vessel itself and the equatorial and lower ports, Korea has now signed for 61.7 percent of its total in-kind contributions adding up to EUR 230 million.
Tokamaks may not fly, but in building ITER there's a lot to learn from the aircraft industry—and from Airbus especially. Like ITER, the European consortium is based on international cooperation and work-sharing agreements. Both organizations were also formed to develop "a very innovative product, something that was never seen before."
This parallel is drawn by Jacques Farineau, Senior Advisor on Industrial Matters to ITER Principal Deputy Director-General Norbert Holtkamp. After a quarter century spent at Airbus, where he was in charge of systems development for the Super Jumbo A380, Jacques joined ITER last November. "The A380," he says, "was a fantastic project and a tremendous challenge. After seven years of that kind of excitement I was afraid I'd get bored. I didn't see myself signing in for another tour of duty—any other aircraft would have been ordinary compared to the A380."
A year and a half ago, when the aircraft began its commercial career, there weren't many other projects that could match the A380 in terms of challenge and excitement. "I had read a lot about ITER and I was fascinated. At one point, I learned that ITER was looking for someone who could deal with the industrial aspects of the project—someone who had the culture and the experience of large industrial collaborations."
ITER's challenge is two-fold—the project is a complex scientific endeavour that relies heavily on the performance of industry. It's plasma physics within 23,000 tonnes of steel and 150,000 kilometres of superconducting strands. And it's also a first: "JET was quite small by comparison, with just a few in-kind procurements."
Jacques sees his mission here as bringing an "industrial culture" to ITER. How does he define that culture? "Essentially," he says, "it's about formalized management, strict procedures, and above all anticipation."
So, while he preaches the Gospel of Industry, his new colleagues instruct him in the fundamentals of the ITER Project—"I met a lot of people in ITER, Manfred Glugla, Gary Johnson, David Campbell ... they were really eager to explain, and they did it well."
Nine months into this new world, Jacques Farineau is optimistic. "Airbus was established in 1973 with no experience in international cooperation—and look what we've been able to do over the past 36 years!"
The ITER Organization is growing further, the family is expanding. Last month, the project welcomed 16 new staff members: 9 professionals and 7 support staff members. As of the 31 July 2009, the total staff number is now up to 391 and will soon cross the 400 mark. Visitors to the Château d'If, the squat fortress that was built in the early 1500s on an islet in the Bay of Marseille, are shown a narrow hole in a stone wall. This hole is part of universal literary heritage: it is the passage through which Edmond Dantès, the main character in Alexandre Dumas' novel The Count of Monte Cristo, tunnelled his way to freedom after 14 years of imprisonment.
The problem with this hole is that it belongs to literature. How it actually found its way into the wall at the Château d'If is a mystery. One the most prolific novelists in history—he wrote 277 books, among them The Three Musketeers, The Man in the Iron Mask and The Count of Monte Cristo — Alexandre Dumas (1802-1870) never visited the Chateau d'If. If a hole in one of the cells' walls existed, there is no way he could have been aware of it during his lifetime. Historians have all confessed ignorance: they do not know how, why or when this passage was made. This is a strange case of fiction overtaking reality.
The Count of Monte Cristo was published in 1845 and soon became one the first world-wide best-sellers. The novel has done a lot for the fame of If and its château, but there's more than literature in the history of this tiny islet.
If is the smallest of the three islands that make up the Frioul archipelago. The Greek sailors who founded Marseille in the 6th century B.C. had named the islands Protè, "the first one," Mésé "the one in the middle," and Hypea, "the one under," which evolved into the curious name of "If."
In 1516, the year King François I visited Marseille and ordered the island to be fortified, If was home to one of the strangest animals Europe had ever seen: a rhinoceros that the maharajah of Gujarât in India had offered to King Manuel of Portugal, who, in turn, had sent it as a present to Pope Leo X. On its way to Rome, the ship that carried the beast, "adorned with a velvet necklace with golden roses and carnations," called at the port of Marseille for some weeks, and the rhinoceros was left to graze on the islet of If. Albrecht Dürer, to whom a sketch of the rhino had been sent, was to make a famous woodcut of the animal.
For most of its history, If was a state prison—Marseille's own little Alcatraz. Its jail hosted Protestants in the early 1700s, the captain of the ship that brought the Great Plague to city in 1720, the famed Count of Mirabeau in 1774, various revolutionary militants in 1848 and 1870, German residents in 1914 and draft evaders the following years. Contrary to legend, neither the marquis de Sade or the mysterious Man in the Iron Mask was ever held on the islet.
For a trip into history and fiction, shuttles leave the Vieux Port daily from 9:00 a.m. until 6:05 p.m. The last one leaves the Château d'If at 6:25 p.m.
Recent headlines about ITER have been eye-catching. "A Machine that Works like the Sun!" "Is ITER the Way to New Energy?" "Costly Quest for Electricity's Holy Grail!" Since April, articles have appeared in the The New York Times, BBC News, Reuters, Financial Times and Nature, as well as in major newspapers in France, Japan, Germany, and Korea. The fact is that ITER fascinates, and as the project scales up to manufacturing and construction, there will be plenty to report.
The best source of information for those interested in finding out more about ITER—from any spot on the planet—is the World Wide Web. The new ITER website launched on 14 May is a depository for historical and technical information about the ITER Project, progress information, job openings, news, photos and video clips for journalists, links to the Domestic Agencies and daily updates on world press articles referencing ITER. A French version is currently in the planning stages.
Improving the content and the layout of the site has made a marked difference in the site's "hit" statistics. ITER.org now enjoys nearly 15,000 unique visitors per week—up 20 percent since launch. Visitors to the ITER site are spending more time—three times as much—and navigating to more pages. The ITER Newsline and the pages on Jobs, the Tokamak, the ITER Team, Building ITER and Facts and Figures are the most popular destinations. ITER videos have been viewed 14,000 times from the website and another 10,000 times from the ITER You Tube channel.
For Topher White, ITER Webmaster, the challenge is to make the new content of the ITER website—articles, videos, photos—available in dozens of formats across the Internet. "In June, the BBC published an article about ITER that brought one thousand people to our site in two days. We call this direct traffic. But the audience that can be reached as our site 'goes viral'—that is gets linked by more and more sites around the world—could well bring us into the millions." To encourage this, Topher uses a process similar to newspapers syndicating their articles. "We make our content freely available to other computers. Over time, content gets picked up automatically and replicated in unexpected places all over the Web, for example in blogs, on-line newspapers and in popular sites like Twitter and Facebook."
Topher says that the website is a dynamic tool for communicating about ITER; a tool that can be continually enriched and improved. "It's the single-most effective medium for communication today. No matter where people first hear about ITER, the odds are high that when they decide to learn more about us they will do so through the Web."
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The latest issue of Review, a magazine published by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, examines ten of the world's most important energy-related challenges—fusion among them. "As the nation's largest energy research facility, Oak Ridge National Laboratory is playing a leading role in addressing each of energy's '10 Big Problems,'" says
Director of Communications Billy Stair in the editorial. "Our strategy is grounded in the belief that no single technology and no single energy source can alone provide the
volume of energy capable of sustaining both the quality of our lives and the viability of our planet. Indeed, this belief is now shared by the Administration and the Congress, who
together have embarked upon the most dramatic program of scientific research since the Manhattan Project. Working through the Department of Energy, there is a collective and
accelerated effort to attack each of the 10 Big Problems." When someone has a cardiac arrest, defibrillation needs to be prompt. For every minute that passes chance of survival decreases by 14 percent. Research shows that applying a controlled shock within five minutes of collapse provides the best possible outcome. A defibrillator is a machine that can restart the heart by giving an electric shock as in case of cardiac arrest. An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a type of defibrillator that detects the electrical activity in the heart and gives automated instructions to the rescuer on what to do. Defibrillators must be deployed strategically in areas of greatest need. ITER has recently acquired two AED. They are located on the ground floors in 519 and Headquarters.