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Of Interest

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Kijung Jung, Director of ITER Korea.
ITER Korea was established in 2003 when the Republic of Korea formally joined the ITER Project. In September 2007, it was formally designated as the Korean Domestic Agency. ITER Korea today has a staff of 47 full time employees, 23 contract employees and 19 temporary interns who all work in a dedicated facility for ITER Korea.

Actual procurement of items for ITER started with the signing of the Procurement Arrangement for the toroidal field conductor on 7 May 2008. By January and March of 2009, contracts for cabling and strand manufacturing were respectively established with local industries. Manufacturing of strand is currently in full progress.

In November 2008, the Procurement Arrangements for the main vacuum vessel and the equatorial and lower ports were signed with the expectation that we would proceed with the call-for-tender by March 2009. However, as was previously reported, an alternate design for the vacuum vessel was proposed with a subsequent comparative review which delayed progress until July of this year. With the final decision last month to proceed with the reference design, the call-for-tender for the vacuum vessel will finally take place in September. Contract signing with industry is planned before the end of the year.

Most recently, the Procurement Arrangement for assembly tooling was signed on 3 August 2009; call-for-tender and contract signing is expected by September and December respectively. This would bring the total signed Korean Procurement Arrangement commitments to ITER to more than 60 percent of all procurement packages allocated to Korea based on ITER Units of Account (kIUA). The signature of the Procurement Arrangement for the thermal shield, expected in November, will bring the total to more than 70 percent. Progress on the remaining Korean procurement packages such as tritium storage and delivery, diagnostics, blanket and AC/DC converters is proceeding on schedule.

ITER Korea fully appreciates the significance of ITER's mission towards human prosperity and will work toward the joint goal of completing ITER with First Plasma by 2018 as scheduled.

Myeun Kwon, Director of the KSTAR Research Centre.
Myeun Kwon is the director of the KSTAR Research Centre located at the National Fusion Research Institute in Daejon, South Korea. KSTAR—short for Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research—is one of the first research tokamaks in the world equipped with fully superconducting magnets. We spoke with Myeun Kwon, responsible for the overall KSTAR program, about the current work and plans for the near future of the project.

ITER: What is the current status of KSTAR?

Kwon: KSTAR successfully finished its first campaign last year and we have just started the second campaign. Unlike conventional tokamaks, plasma operation in KSTAR requires longer preparation sequences, notably for the cool-down of all superconducting magnets. ITER will require similar steps. We are trying to set up a reference sequence for a full superconducting fusion device and hope to contribute to ITER operation in this way.

This year, we reached two important milestones in KSTAR: operation at full toroidal field with 3.5 Tesla and electron cyclotron heating (ECH) pre-ionization at the fundamental harmonic frequency. We upgraded the capabilities of toroidal and poloidal field power supplies, covered the inboard sector of the vacuum vessel with carbon tiles, and added more diagnostics such as the X-ray crystal spectrometer, a bolometer and soft X-ray arrays. We are currently pumping down the vacuum vessel and the cryostat with baking until late August and we will start the cool-down for the whole cold mass in September.

ITER: What are the plans for the near future? What is the R&D program?

Kwon: Korea will host the next IAEA Fusion Energy Conference in 2010, and we intend to demonstrate the readiness of KSTAR as an important fusion research device for the exploration of new operation regimes. Our first project is naturally the installation and the strengthening of the heating systems and in-vessel components. Early next year, the first Neutral Beam line will be installed and possibly the first 5 GHz lower hybrid current drive (LHCD) system as well. Most of the in-vessel components including the passive stabilizers, divertor, and in-vessel control coils will also be in place before the third campaign. A few important diagnostics will also be ready for the third campaign, including Thomson scattering and the electron cyclotron emission imaging system. All of these activities will allow us to explore shaping and vertical position control, the characterization of diverted plasmas, neutral-beam-heated and lower hybrid current-driven plasmas and hopefully the very first attempt at H-mode plasma production. We could then enter a phase of long-pulse operation and ITER-relevant modes, in parallel with the gradual upgrade of heating and current drive systems.

ITER: Has the inauguration of KSTAR and Korea's participation in ITER raised awareness about fusion research in Korea?

Kwon: Yes, indeed. Both of these events dramatically increased the awareness of the public on this issue; we saw an increase of coverage in the mass-media, an increase in the number of visitors to the Institute, and an increase in inquiries for lectures and articles. The successful commissioning of KSTAR was a final milestone after eleven years of construction, and a good example of a successful large Korean science project that reflected well on the whole of the science and engineering communities. Success in KSTAR and participation in ITER influenced public policy on fusion energy development and increased allocated resources to this green technology.

ITER: ITER and KSTAR have signed a collaboration agreement. What does that mean?

Kwon: The mission statement of KSTAR clearly states that KSTAR shall be utilized to enhance current knowledge on fusion plasmas using tokamaks and shall contribute to building a knowledge database for future superconducting devices including ITER. Although the scale and detailed design differ, there are still a lot of similarities that can provide opportunities for KSTAR to be utilized as a pilot device for ITER.

For example, KSTAR is the first fusion device to use EPICS control system software. As ITER will also be using EPICS, our experience will be very beneficial to the development of the ITER CODAC system. Also, characteristics of the KSTAR superconducting magnet and cryogenic systems could also provide valuable data to the design and operation of ITER in terms of quality control and assurance mechanisms on fabrication and assembly of important components. KSTAR will be utilized as a test bed for the 170 GHz gyrotron and the 5 GHz klystron for the electron cyclotron heating and the lower hybrid current drive respectively. This kind of collaboration will provide mutual benefits to both.

ITER: What are the plans for long-term fusion research in Korea?

Kwon: Korea's long-term plan is directed toward the development of a commercial fusion power plant for the 2040s. During this endeavour, the key strategy is to integrate KSTAR and ITER projects efficiently for DEMO and to actively participate in international activities. A planning activity has been done to assess the resources required, to develop a way to efficiently integrate results from KSTAR and ITER, to establish a basic science program relevant to fusion research to train young scientists and engineers, and to utilize the existing world-class nuclear industrial technology and man-power for fusion energy development.

Read also: Korea's star of fusion

From Barcelonnette and the nearby villages, more than half of all young men emigrated to Mexico in the second half of the 19th century.
In the second half of the 19th century, young men in the Ubaye Valley— in the northernmost and least populated quarter of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence départment—did something the French rarely do: they emigrated en masse to the New World.

The movement was started in 1821, when three brothers from the mountain village of Jausiers, near Barcelonnette, left for Mexico in search of a better life. Little is known of their history, or of the reasons why they chose this particular destination; what we do know is that they made a fortune dealing with fabrics and founded one of Mexico City's first department stores.

The Arnaud brothers never returned home. But their story fired the locals' imagination and soon, young men from Barcelonnette and the nearby villages began flocking to Mexico. The "Barcelonnettes," as they were known to the local Mexican population, were hardworking, thrifty and formed a close-knit community. In business, they proved exceptionally successful. Beginning as mere clerks and accountants in the Arnaud brothers' businesses, they soon opened their own stores and founded their own firms, attracting still more emigrants from the Valley.

In 1850, there were nine "Barcelonettes-owned" companies in Mexico; fourteen years later there were 45; and at the height of the Barcelonnettes economic expansion from 1864 to 1891 their number grew to 110. The lure of Mexico was draining the Ubaye Valley of its scarce human resources. "Every year," wrote a local historian in 1891, "the Mexican Minotaur takes away the best half of our children ..."

The first generation of Barcelonnettes had worked in the textile manufacturing and retail industries. Their children became industrialists, bankers and politicians: in the 1870s, the son of a Barcelonnette was governor of the Southern state of Puebla. Among the thousands of young mountain men who left the Ubaye Valley for the lights of Mexico, some 10 to 15 percent made very large fortunes and retired in Barcelonnette or Jausiers. "Mexican money" played an important part in the economic development of the Valley, particularly in the development of ski resorts in the early 1960s. Villas built by "Mexicans" still pepper the Ubaye landscape—stucco castles and Spanish colonial mansions overlooking Alpine meadows and tin-roofed villages.

Cutting paper with this tool is anything but a routine thing.
Cutting paper may seem ordinary, but when it comes to ensuring that proper safety standards are in place for a hand-operated paper cutter, safety is anything but a routine matter. Make no mistake: cutting paper presents serious hazards for operators.

We recently noticed during Building Safety and Health Inspections that one paper cutter in the Headquarters building had a broken plastic protection guard, consequently putting operators at risk of getting their fingers caught while lowering the blade.

It is thus important to follow basic safety practices. Know how to use the cutter properly, especially its built-in safety mechanisms. Pay attention in order to prevent injury to yourself or to others.

Most paper cutter accidents in offices are due to poorly maintained machines. Call the Building Security Inspector if you realize that the paper cutter protection guard is broken or not in place; he/she will remove and replace it.

Make sure you use common sense and follow the manufacturer's instructions and guidelines. Call us if you have questions. We can also advise you in ordering a new paper cutter... a safer one of course...

Romanian scientists have developed a new technology for reinforcing the wall of a fusion reactor to resist hot plasma. This marks an important step forward for the success of ITER, the world's biggest experimental fusion reactor. The "combined magneton sputtering and ion implantation" technology (CMSII)—developed by the Romanian Fusion Association (Euratom/MEdC) which is a member of the Euratom Fusion Research Program—has been chosen as the best "coating technique" in terms of resistance to high heat loads.