Over the coming months, with the STAC, MAC and finally the Council meeting approaching, we will take some decisive steps for the future of the project. The Fusion Science & Technology Department, like everyone else in the house, is very much engaged in rewriting and restructuring the Baseline documentation, the master documents describing the "making of" ITER. But at the same time we are continuing our efforts to optimize the machine's performance.
The methods developed to control Edge Localized Modes (ELM), for example—additional coils and pellet pacing—are promising, but to be used in ITER the technologies applied need further development and the physics understanding needs further improvement. ELM control coils have recently been installed in several tokamaks around the world with ambiguous results. The experiments performed on the US machine DIII-D delivered promising data, but the results received from other machines were less satisfying. ELM coils will now be implemented in ASDEX Upgrade in Germany and we are curious to see the results.
In November, another important experimental campaign will commence, again on DIII-D, in order to increase our knowledge of the interaction of Test Blanket Modules and the H-mode plasma. The modules developed to breed tritium, the fusion fuel, are basically made of ferromagnetic steel. They are to be located in ports very close to the plasma. Inside the modules, magnetic moments will align and amplify the external field, but outside the modules their own field will be opposite to the external toroidal field and this will decrease the toroidal field in front of the ports. The field at this location is already at a minima, amplifying the already existing toroidal field ripple. Preliminary data from JET indicate that the quality of H-mode confinement is very sensitive to the value of toroidal field ripple. However, JET experiments are rather far from ITER conditions. To obtain a better understanding, a dedicated set of experiments modelling the TBM/plasma interaction in ITER will be performed on the US machine for ten days starting from 9 November.
And last but not least, some words on the status of the plasma control system, one of the keys to the successful operation of ITER. Current experiments increasingly use feedback control to improve their performance, and ITER must go in the same direction. This system will orchestrate all parts of the tokamak during a pulse to make sure that the discharge is successful. It relies on information from ITER diagnostics and will send signals to various actuators—for instance heating and current drive systems, fuelling, magnetic coils—to ensure that the plasma behaves the way we want it to. This requires a collaborative effort from the CODAC Division, who will provide the infrastructure and plant control, and the Fusion Science & Technology Department which is in charge of the plasma control architecture, control algorithms and the plasma modelling.
The progressive development of superfast computers adds an interesting touch to this topic. As technology and computing power advance, so do the demands on plasma control. Access to high-power computing makes the incorporation of simulation tools into real-time plasma control possible. In many cases modelling of processes in the plasma and the reconstruction of plasma parameters from experimental data can be accomplished more quickly than real processes in the ITER plasma. This will enable much better control of the plasma regimes than can be achieved now. Higher plasma parameters may be achieved and dangerous conditions predicted and avoided. ITER will be able to have very long pulses and may run several experiments during one pulse. Proper feedback control is absolutely essential to be able to use this opportunity. To assemble existing experience in this area and to attract the fusion community to this development, a workshop on plasma control will be organized by ITER in December.
This week, more than 50 experts from India, Korea, France, Germany, Italy, UK and the US together with representatives from the ITER Organization and Domestic Agencies in Europe, Japan and the US participated in a workshop on the ITER radwaste treatment and storage systems. The workshop was a peer review of the strategy and designs of the proposed radioactive waste (radwaste) treatment and storage systems— an important step before moving forward with design activity.
The radwaste generated by in-vessel component replacements during ITER operation will be treated and stored in the Hot Cell building basement. The liquid and solid radwaste generated by the fusion process and housekeeping operations on the ITER machine will be managed in the Radwaste Building in a safe manner based on international and French guidelines.
The strategy and policy of the ITER Organization for the treatment of radwaste is to keep its production to a minimum, and to properly and safely manage all relating issues in order to protect the worker and the public. To fulfill this fundamental requirement, the design of the ITER radwaste treatment and storage systems clearly defines the process, required equipment and its capacity, and the optimized arrangement of the equipment and general layouts.
In this week's workshop, a consensus on the current designs and strategy of the ITER radwaste management systems was reached with recommendations for the follow-up design activities. The ITER radwaste management system designs take advantage of the accumulated experience and expertise from nuclear practices and proven state-of-the-art technologies.
Starting a new job in a new country is never easy and finding your way around an organization always takes time. To facilitate this period, the Human Resources Division has developed an ITER Organization induction training for new staff members. This two-day program presents the ITER Project, its history, the science behind it and the Organization itself. It also covers some of the practical aspects of working at ITER, including HR topics, intercultural awareness training, Quality, Safety & Security, IT and the document management system. It compliments the work done by Agence Iter France's Welcome Office to help newcomers settle into France and a new living environment.
The first ITER induction training took place on 24-25 June and was attended by about 35 participants . "I found it very useful and interesting," says Mahaboob Basha Syed, who joined the CCS Office in March. "Being briefed about a number of HR topics upfront avoids having to ask a colleague about procedures and maybe getting things wrong. The induction training, although quite brief, was interesting because it covers topics as varied as the basics of fusion and the basics of French culture and systems."
The next IO Induction Training will take place on 24-25 September and will be proposed to all newcomers having arrived between June and September.
If you feel that, although you are no longer a newcomer, this Induction training could be useful for you, it is possible to participate in the session that will be organized in November of this year. For more information please contact your Department's training coordinator or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rianne 't Hoen, master-student at the FOM Institute for Plasma Physics Rijnhuizen Nieuwegein, Netherlands, was the official ITER-fan number 1,000 on Facebook! Hurrah! She received a "Do It Yourself Fusion Kit" and click here to see what she did with that. Tom Mann, Project Engineer for the central solenoid superconducting coils, has decided to retire from the US ITER Project Office. Tom will be taking a position with the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) at Michigan State University in East Lansing. FRIB is a new National User Facility for nuclear science funded by the US Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Physics.
Tom originally came to Oak Ridge in 1975 as Responsible Engineer Designer for the Large Coil Test Facility in the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's (ORNL's) Fusion Energy Division. He also was involved with the Princeton Large Torus Neutral Beam Injector and General Dynamics Large Coil Program toroidal field coil. After working with the Texas Accelerator Center, the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility, the Advanced Photon Source, and the Houston Advanced Research Center, Tom returned to ORNL for a position with the Spallation Neutron Source. He began work on the ITER Project in 2006. USIPO staff members congratulate Tom on his retirement and wish him well in his new endeavour.
In the form of an absolutely perfect wall replica, the remains of some of the oldest dwellers of Provence have found a home in the north-eastern Japanese town of Kamaishi, Digne's "sister city" since 1994.
In this small steel town where the first Japanese foundry was built in 1857, the Iron & Steel History Museum exhibits a real-size, scientifically-accurate copy of the "Ammonite slab," one of the jewels of the Digne Geological Reservation.
Ammonites are marine animals resembling present-day nautiluses; long-extinct, they thrived 200 million years ago in the shallow sea that covered what is now Provence. Some 1.5 kilometres north of Digne, a 350-square-metre slab of limestone has preserved the fossilized remains of more than 1,500 ammonites—this is the slab the curators of the Kamaishi Museum wanted to buy before being convinced to settle for a replica.
The "Ammonite slab" is but one of the many wonders in the Reservation whose protected territory covers an area of 230,000 hectares and spans more than 59 villages.
The same geological processes that preserved the ammonites have frozen countless other fossils into stone, including the complete skeleton of an ichthyosaur—a sea reptile that lived in Jurassic times—and the delicate tracks that a small plover bird imprinted on a sand beach some 70 million years ago.
The Digne Geological Reservation, which was established in 1984, is the largest in Europe. It is an open-sky museum the size of half a department, providing vistas of spectacular geological features like the "Vélodrome," a unique fold formation from the Miocene that looks like a giant cycling track.
The Reservation features site museums, parks and art installations; it organizes tours, exhibitions, conferences and entertainment for children. At the "Musée-Promenade," on a hilltop overlooking Digne, the Kamaishi Japanese Garden reminds visitors of the link between the two cities.
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ITER Headquarters is soon to have a new neighbour. In June 2010 a new building, JWS3, will be ready to receive its tenants. This building—almost identical to Headquarters—will house ITER staff on the ground floor level, and staff from the European Domestic Agency on the first and second floors. It will be situated on the temporary parking area next to the Headquarters building.
This coming Monday, 7 September, works to prepare for a new parking area for ITER staff will start opposite the HQ Building on the AIF side near the contractor's area. The current temporary parking area will then be fenced off so that the construction of JWS3 can begin. The main operations are scheduled to start in the morning of 15 September. That is why the parking area where JWS3 is going to be build must be cleared from all cars by 14 September. Anybody travelling in the next weeks for a longer period of time thus should not leave his or her car on that parking area.
ITER is a house with many mansions. The ITER Organization, the seven Domestic Agencies, Agence Iter-France, Mission ITER; each and every one of them plays a key part in the development of the project.
Mission ITER is one of these mansions. It is a small structure that is an essential player in the ITER venture. "We represent the French state at the regional level," says Colin Miège, Mission ITER Director. "We were established to create the best conditions for welcoming the project and make sure that France's commitments to ITER are implemented locally."
The ITER Itinerary and the International School in Manosque are the most visible of these commitments. The Itinerary, by now "95 percent completed," will be delivered in the early weeks of 2010 and at the International School, the first half of the buildings will open by mid-September—only two weeks late despite months of difficult weather last winter and spring.
One of the less visible aspects of Mission ITER's action is to organize coherent responses to ITER's demands and challenges, both on the economic and political levels. This means, among other things, supporting and mobilizing French companies to help them position themselves for calls for tender issued by the ITER Organization and the European Domestic Agency.
In addition to the French state financial contribution to ITER, local governments have pledged more than EUR 460 million to the project—the equivalent of a full-fledged Member's contribution. They rightfully expect some return on their investment.
"ITER has given a strong momentum to the local economy," says Colin Miège. "In two years, ITER-related works have generated contracts for more than EUR 360 million; 80 percent of these contracts were awarded to companies based in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region. The economic benefits are obvious when you look at these figures."
But the local impact of the ITER project goes far beyond contracts and jobs. "ITER presents this region with a unique development opportunity. But we, on the local side, have to be organized in order to make the most out of it. It's a big challenge—we have to federate some 18 different local authorities whose territories overlap and whose interests may differ at times. It all boils down to this: we must talk with one voice. We're dealing with a new kind of 'territorial governance' in a newly defined territory and that is far from easy."
In France, in the month of August, many things come to a standstill—but not work at the Reacteur Jules-Horowitz (RJH) building site at CEA-Cadarache. RJH is a research reactor that is due to be commissioned in 2014.
At 4:00 a.m. on 6 August, workers began pouring the reactor's lower bed first concrete. Some 200 cubic metres were poured during this first operation that aimed to test the coordination of the various teams involved. Another 900 cubic metres were poured on the 19 August and still another 1,100 last Wednesday night.
Laying the whole installation's lower bed—one metre thick over a surface of 3,500 square metres—will require two more pouring operations that are scheduled on 15-16 and 29-30 September. Pouring operations take place at night or in the early hours of the morning to avoid the intense heat of summer, which is bad for concrete and uncomfortable for men.
By the end of September the concrete bed, reinforced by some 1,100 tonnes of steel, should be complete. Seismic pads will then be installed and in April next year, a slightly thicker upper bed, will be built in one continuous pouring that will take 40 hours. The upper bed will be the platform on which the nuclear facility will be erected. It will act as a third barrier protecting the environment from the nuclear material inside the reactor.
Air conditioners may help to improve the climate in your office during the hot summer months, but they certainly do not help to preserve the planet's climate. Even modern air conditioners use a huge amount of energy and can easily increase a building's energy consumption and associated carbon emissions by up to 100 percent. So, remember to turn the machine off when you leave your office at night or before you pack up for the weekend. Otherwise your office will be a fridge when you come back on Monday morning and opening the window to let the cold air out is certainly not an appropriate move.