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News & Media


Of Interest

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From new to mature

Norbert Holtkamp, ITER Principal Deputy Director-General. (Click to view larger version...)
Norbert Holtkamp, ITER Principal Deputy Director-General.
It is August, traditionally a drowsy month for much of the rest of the Europe, and although it might seem quiet from the outside, inside ITER is buzzing with activity. But before concrete is poured, magnets assembled or vacuum systems welded together, all the "i's" need to be dotted and "t's" need to be crossed. And that means that all documentation needs to be consistent and finished. Only then we can call a plan a real PLAN. That was the homework from the last ITER Council and that's what we are doing. Almost everyone in the Organization is to a greater or lesser extent involved in the completion of the Project Baseline, which must be ready for review at the upcoming Briscoe panel meeting in October, the MAC and STAC meetings and final presentation to the ITER Council in November.

The Project Baseline is comprised of hundreds of documents with thousands of pages presenting the ultimate description of the ITER Project: the technical scope, the schedule and cost. The word "document" though seems inadequate to describe the Project Baseline. It is a conglomeration of dozens of documents containing specific information on each element of the construction: design, schedule, management or cost of ITER. It includes information and documentation on processes that were implemented as a response to the Briscoe Panel review such as new tools for cost assessment and a full risk analysis down to the last screw and connection. It describes the project all the way from the beginning of construction through commissioning, major "need dates" for equipment delivery and required inter-project links which describe the interconnection of deliveries between Domestic Agencies or to the phased assembly on site.

At the end, we know that all the activity timelines meet the 2018 project completion date and on to deuterium-tritium operation in 2026, having integrated the overall schedule with all the detailed schedules from the Domestic Agencies. This by itself is a tremendous achievement of the integrated Scheduling Group, which incorporates people from the project offices of the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies.

For the Council, this means looking at four high-level documents: the Project Specification (PS) which is approved already, the Overall Project Schedule (OPS), the Overall Project Cost (OPC), as well as the Project Plan and Resource Estimate (PP&RE). These four high-level documents provide the general guidance for the ITER Organization to implement the scope (PS) and the schedule (OPS) for an agreed-upon cost (OPC). The PP&RE is for the yearly planning of the ITER budgets. From there it goes into a flurry of other documents which must be consistent with Council guidance, managed by the ITER Organization.

Producing these documents is a truly joint effort involving every division in the house and many people from the Domestic Agencies. Acceptance by Council will be the reward, which is a key milestone that transitions the ITER Organization and Domestic Agencies from being "new" to being "mature," since from here on in it is fully our design.

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