Subscribe options

Select your newsletters:

Please enter your email address:


News & Media


Of Interest

See archived articles


Shishir P. Deshpande, Project Director of ITER India.
ITER India is the Indian Domestic Agency responsible for the delivery of components covered under Procurement Arrangements signed by India. When India joined the ITER Project in 2005, the Institute for Plasma Research (IPR) at Gandhinagar was entrusted by the government of India with managing participation in ITER.

ITER India is a specially empowered body created out of IPR in November, 2007, with 50 personnel joining initially from IPR. With additional recruitments, the strength of ITER India now stands at 83 permanent staff and 10 contracted staff. In addition, about 20 engineers hired from different engineering service companies work on the ITER India premises. We are also currently in the process of recruiting 10 additional support staff for the administrative, purchase and accounts sections.

In April 2008, we moved to rented offices about 20 kilometers from IPR, for the time it takes to build permanent offices close to IPR. To cater to the various R&D needs of ITER, especially for the ITER India procurement packages, we have already started the construction of a 5,761-square-metre laboratory building within the IPR premises, which is scheduled for occupation in October 2010.

At present, the focus of ITER India activities is the completion of remaining design work, in order to meet the ITER Baseline deadline in November 2009, and to sign Procurement Arrangements on schedule. A lot of design and R&D activities are ongoing especially for the cryostat, cryolines, vessel in-wall shields, diagnostic neutral beam, ion cyclotron source development, etc. In April, ITER India signed the first Procurement Arrangement for the diagnostic neutral beam power supplies. The second for the vessel in-wall shields is going to be signed at the ITER Organization-Domestic Agency coordination meeting in Chengdu, China, during 23-25 September, followed by others in the coming months.

ITER is a unique opportunity for all of us to show that fusion can be a credible and sustainable alternate energy source for human civilization. Especially for countries like India and China, with huge population, fast-growing economies and consequently enormous energy demands—and against the backdrop of depleting fossil fuel reserves and CO2 emission concerns—fusion can be a lifeline.

Although ITER is a very complex project, we are confident that it will achieve its objective. With a strong will to reach that objective, together we can make it work.

Anna Encheva
In the Valley of the Roses, where Anna Encheva grew up, picking begins at 4 a.m. and ends at sunrise. The particular climate in the valley surrounding Kazanlak, in the very centre of Bulgaria, creates ideal conditions for one of the largest rose gardens in the world, resulting in roses whose high oil content has been prized by the perfume industry in France since the 17th century.

For Anna, rose picking was one of the jobs that helped her to get through her university studies. She was 14 when Bulgaria transitioned to democracy. After eight years of training in Russian, she joined the new English section in high school, and made plans to study international law in England. Her plans fell through when—despite a full scholarship—it became clear that the extra costs such as board and lodging would have placed too high a strain on her family. "Prices in Bulgaria are high compared to the average wage, and our standard of living is much lower than most countries in Europe," explains Anna. "Older people in Bulgaria are surviving on pensions of approximately 50 euros a month."

Anna turned to engineering at the Technical University of Sofia and went on to excel, often the only girl in classrooms full of boys. She earned a BS in Industrial Engineering followed by two Master's degrees in Business Administration and Computer Science, perfecting her English and a fourth language, German, in the process. She worked for two years as a Technical Advisor at Festo Bulgaria in charge of the largest customers—a "people and sales" job she loved—before moving to Germany to work at the Max Planck Institute in Garching as an engineer/scientist in the Technology Department. Nearly five years there introduced her to fusion, and influenced the subject of her doctoral thesis: Thermo-Hydraulic Study of a Threaded Turbulent Promoter.

In 2005, Anna joined an ITER support project on magnetic diagnostics being carried out at the Plasma Physics Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland. Her work there led naturally to joining ITER in November 2007, just as the newly formed organization began recruiting. Anna works as an engineer in the Diagnostics Division, where she is responsible for the integration and interfaces of the in-vessel diagnostic systems at ITER.

For someone who is only 34, Anna has accomplished a great deal. "I've gone from degree to degree and position to position without ever taking a break, and sometimes doing two things at once," admits Anna. Anna credits her family and "her genes" for her high level of energy and ambition. Her father is an associate professor, has a PhD in mechanical engineering and owns a business in Bulgaria; her grandfather directed a scientific institute in Kazanlak; and her mother is a lawyer and a mountain climber who recently scaled the 5,600 metre Mount Elbrus in Russia—the highest peak in Europe. Outside of work, Anna enjoys karate, flamenco, tennis and ... is currently the only female member of the ITER rugby team. "So far, I've been unsuccessful convincing other female colleagues!" She makes time for her family too; Anna and her husband are raising a ten month-old son, Miroslav, whose name means "peace" and "glory."

A few months back, Anna noticed a poster in the CEA cafeteria seeking candidates for the 2009 Fem'Energia awards. Sponsored by EDF (Electricité de France), WIN (Women in Nuclear) France and the European foundation Energy for Tomorrow, Fem'Energia seeks to recognize the accomplishments of women in scientific and technical careers. Anna managed to pull her application together in two days, and couldn't have been more surprised—and moved—when she received a telephone call from a representative of EDF in July, announcing that she was one of the winners. An award category had been created especially for her, recognizing her unique blend of scientific, engineering and managerial experience. At the ceremony at EDF Headquarters last week in Paris, the President of WIN, Madame D.Mouillot, announced to the assembly: "A special honour award has been established and presented to Anna Encheva, for her remarkable capabilities, professional career, and exceptional personality."

Click here to view a video about Anna prepared by the Fem'Energia sponsors...

"The International School's architecture reflects our Mediterranean culture," Michel Vauzelle, the president of the PACA region, said on Monday.
Young Philippe is obviously having fun chasing his classmate around one of the 350 concrete pillars that form a protruding part of the architecture of the new building housing the International School in Manosque.

On Monday morning, the 154 children of the primary school moved from their temporary habitat in the Lycée des Iscles to the new building: an ample single-floor structure with walls covered in arch wood and beams of concrete painted in "gris de la Durance" that irradiate irregular streaks of light and shade onto the water-filled patio. Although parts of the school are still under construction and plants haven't yet had time to take root, the pathways connecting the buildings are very "zen." But this will soon change now that the first young inhabitants have moved in.

The masterminds behind the concept for the new International School are the architects Rudy Ricciotti and Jean-Michel Battesti. Their revolutionary idea of "bringing nature into the school" was realized thanks to an investment of EUR 55 million from the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA). "What I see here is even better than what I had hoped for," said Michel Vauzelle, the president of PACA who had come to Manosque for the inauguration. "It was our duty to finance this institution that has no equivalent in the world. The International School's architecture reflects our Mediterranean culture—all children will benefit from such an environment. They will keep inscribed in their mind something that reminds them of Provence."

Ahn Byung-Man, minister of education, science and technology; Kim Choon-Jin, member of the Korean National Assembly; and Min Dong-Pil, director of the Korean Research Council of Fundamental Science and Technology (KRCF), are listening to Lee Gyung-Su, president of the National Fusion Research Institute (NFRI) introduce the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advabed Reactor (KSTAR).
On 9 September, a ceremony was held announcing the beginning of KSTAR physics operation with the participation of 150 dignitaries including the Minister of Education, Science & Technology (MEST), heads of scientific and technical research institutions and National Assembly members.

Work on KSTAR started in 1995, and was completed twelve years later in September 2007 to the cost of 309 billion won (EUR 180 million). Last July, KSTAR successfully produced its First Plasma, fulfilling commissioning goals. The First Plasma targets of 100kA lasting 0.1 s at the magnetic fields of 1.5T were successfully achieved in the first trial, without any severe fault.

The targets of this year include producing plasma pulses lasting up to 2 s at currents of 300kA with magnetic fields reaching 3T. Currently, the superconducting magnets are being cooled and it is planned to start producing plasma in mid-October, with target parameters reached by November.

During this campaign, the National Fusion Research Institute (NFRI) will be engaged in exercises involving long-duration fusion plasma operation, and elaborate plasma control. Other activities will include basic fusion research and joint programs with academic and research institutions to develop human resources. International collaborations with the ITER Organization, the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, General Atomics and other institutions are also scheduled.

Beginning its physics operation, KSTAR takes the first step toward the full-blown fusion research program planned through 2025. The operational target is to achieve high performance steady-state plasmas at 2MA with pulse lengths reaching 300 s.

Ricardo Betti
Ed Moses (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, LLNL) and Ricardo Betti are the recipients of the 2009 Edward Teller Medal, sponsored by the American Nuclear Society. The medals were presented at the Sixth International Conference on Inertial Fusion Sciences and Applications (IFSA) in San Francisco on 10 September.

Moses was cited for his "leadership in the development and completion of the National Ignition Facility" (NIF). As Principal Associate Director for NIF and Photon Science at LLNL, Moses is leading an international effort to perform the first ignition experiments on NIF. He joined NIF in 1999 as a laser scientist and program manager of the AVLIS program after working on a number of laser research projects at Hughes Aircraft and LLNL. He led the development of the Peregine radiation therapy planning tool for the treatment of cancer. He has overseen the construction of NIF, the world's largest and most energetic laser, and is gearing up for ignition experiments in 2010. Moses is a fellow of SPIE and the American Association for Advancement of Science. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He received the 2008 Leadership Award from Fusion Power Associates, the NNSA Defense Programs Award of Excellence, and the Memorial D.S. Rzhdestvensky Medal for lifetime contributions to laser and optical sciences.

Betti was cited for his "seminal contributions to the theory of hydrodynamic instabilities, implosion dynamics and thermonuclear ignition in inertial confinement fusion." A professor at the University of Rochester and Director of the Fusion Science Center for Extreme States of Matter, Betti has devised new ignition concepts and theoretical models for inertial fusion implosions and scaling laws for ignition. These scaling laws are the basis for present experiments on the OMEGA Laser and future research on NIF. Betti was elected fellow to the American Physical Society in 2001 and has served on a number of review, advisory and organizing committees. These include Vice Chair of the DOE Fusion Energy Science Advisory Committee and Chair of the Plasma Science Committee of the National Academies.

Established in 1991, the Edward Teller Medal recognizes pioneering research and leadership in inertial fusion sciences and applications. The award, sponsored by ANS, is normally presented at IFSA during odd-numbered years, and consist s of a silver medal embedded in a plaque and a $2,000 monetary award. The medal is named in honor of the late Edward Teller, distinguished physicist, Director Emeritus of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Teller is recognized worldwide as a pioneer in inertial fusion sciences.

The Palais des Papes in Avignon was erected between 1335 and 1352. It is the largest "gothic palace" in the world.
How about visiting the Pope's private apartments this weekend? How about getting a glimpse of his bedroom and peeking into his study? We're not talking about the present Pope's residence in Rome, of course, but that of the "French Popes" who ruled over the Roman Catholic Church from Avignon between 1309 and 1378.

This week-end is Heritage Day in France, and like most historical monuments, the Palais des Papes in Avignon will be open for visits. It is an impressive construction, the largest "gothic palace" in the world—15,000 m²—and the most striking feature in the city's skyline.

This is the place were the Popes had their official residence for 70 years. The palace was erected in less than 20 years, between 1335 and 1352. Avignon's population at the time did not exceed 5,000 inhabitants. The presence of the Popes and their court boosted that number to 40,000, and transformed the somnolent provençal town into one of the largest European cities, a booming artistic and political metropolis.

The fact that the Holy See moved its residence to Avignon was the result of a political manoeuvre by French King Philippe IV le Bel (Phillip the Handsome), famous for having destroyed the Order of the Knights Templar and sentencing their Grand Master to death at the stake. Italy being restless and Rome being unsafe, King Philippe offered the newly elected Pope Clement V the hospitality of his kingdom. After several years of erring from convent to monastery, the Pope eventually settled in Avignon, close to land that had been bequeathed to the Holy See during the previous century.

Philippe's move was a smart one: for 70 years, all seven Avignon Popes would be French, as would 111 of the 134 cardinals elected during the period.

Avignon and the surrounding villages have retained a lot from their papal history: stunning religious architecture, several elegant cardinals' palaces, spectacular works of art and an atmosphere which, 700 hundred years after the official installation of Pope Clement V, still retains something of the majesty of 14th century papacy.

Ambassador Yukiya Amano of Japan will become the next Director-General as of 1 December 2009.
The 53rd General Meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was held in Vienna this week. The first session of the General Meeting was marked by the final address as Director-General by Mohamed ElBaradei. The text of his speech is here:

The appointment of Ambassador Yukiya Amano of Japan as the next Director-General as of 1 December 2009 was approved.

Click here for the acceptance speech of Ambassador Yukiya Amano, Director-General Designate

US Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, held a press conference at the meeting. In reply to a question on fusion he stated "Fusion is potentially very important but ITER is still an experiment. We have to wait for results. In the meantime, the world has to move ahead now with a wide range of energy research".

Bilateral meetings with the ITER Members, such as here at the Korean Minstry of Education, Science and Technology, represent an important part of the Director-General's diplomatic mission.
Most recently, the ITER Director-General Kaname Ikeda travelled to China, Korea and Japan to present and discuss the ITER Organization's approaches and activities in preparation of the Baseline documentation.

On 3 September, Director-General Ikeda met Yasutaka Moriguchi, the Deputy Minister of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). From Japan, Mr Ikeda then moved on to Korea where he met the Assistant Minister LEE Sang Mok of the Ministry of Education, Science & Technology (MEST). He also met Gyung-Su Lee, the President of the National Fusion Research Institute (NFRI) on the same day. "The meeting was very constructive," both participants concluded. Again, Director-General Ikeda introduced the approach of the ITER Organization to the preparation of the Baseline for the upcoming ITER Council meeting in November. Regarding the schedule, Dr Lee on behalf of Korea stressed that from a political standpoint, achieving First Plasma in 2018 was very important.

During a stopover in China, Mr Ikeda met the Chinese Vice Minister CAO Jianlin of the Ministry of Science & Technology, and CHENG Jinpei, Head of Chinese Domestic Agency, with whom he discussed the upcoming Briscoe Panel meeting.

Joseph Huguet, Minister of Universities and Companies from Cataluña, during his site tour with ITER Director-General Kaname Ikeda and Carlos Alejaldre, Deputy Director-General for Safety & Security.
Last week, ITER welcomed some important visitors. On 16 September, the ITER Director-General Kaname Ikeda welcomed Ambassador Yasuo Saito from the Japanese Embassy in France. On 17 September, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand came to visit both CEA Cadarache and ITER. This delegation was composed of high officials from Thai ministries. In the scope of this visit, which was orientated towards an overview of different sources of energy research, Deputy Directory-General Gary Johnson gave them a technical introduction to the ITER Project at the Visitors Centre.

On the same day, Joseph Huguet, Minister of Universities and Companies from Cataluña, visited the ITER site. The tour was organized by Capenergies. He met Director-General Ikeda and listened to a presentation given in Spanish by the Deputy Director-General for Safety and Security, Carlos Alejaldre. Agence Iter France also welcomed a delegation of 73 members of the Chambre du Commerce et d'Industries de Marseille Provence. Neil Calder, Head of Communication at the ITER Organization, gave them an introduction on the international program and Françoise Flament, Head of the Procurement & Contracts Division, explained the positive economic ramifications of ITER on the region.

Click here to read the article about the visit of the Chambre de Commerce in La Provence...

Microwaves being reflected from a magnetic island inside the hot plasma of a tokamak reactor. From left to right, the island can be seen in its circular orbit through the machine. The different wavelengths of the reflected waves are plotted vertically. The color indicates the intensity. The vertical black lines show the location of the O-point (the broadest part) of the island. Photo courtesy of PRL / FOM-Rijnhuizen.
Researchers from the Dutch Plasma Physics Institute Rijnhuizen, together with colleagues from Denmark and Germany, have discovered that so-called magnetic islands in fusion reactors can reflect microwaves. Their result was published in Physical Review Letters of 15 September 2009.

Magnetically-confined plasmas for nuclear fusion research exhibit a number of instabilities. One class of these are the so-called magnetic islands, which can destroy the confinement. One way of controlling these islands is by heating them at exactly the right spot with a beam of microwaves. During experiments on the German TEXTOR fusion experiment, the Rijnhuizen researchers discovered a previously unknown phenomenon: under certain conditions, the islands reflect part of the microwaves.

With a clever use of limited resources, a dedicated diagnostic system was designed and built to characterize the effect. The details of this system will soon be published in a Review of Scientific Instruments paper.

According to the measurements, the reflection of microwaves strongly depends on the heating power and the density of the plasma. To get a better understanding of the phenomenon, further experiments on the German Asdex Upgrade tokamak are planned. These experiments will indicate whether or not designers for the international ITER experiment should take the reflections into account. It is possible, though not expected, that the reflected beams blind delicate diagnostics installed on ITER.

Reference Strong Scattering of High Power Millimeter Waves in Tokamak Plasmas with Tearing Modes, Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 125001 (2009) Click here:

Over 200,000 people attended this year's "Science Festival" featuring topics from climate change to energy.
The biggest science-related festival in Korea, the "2009 Korean Science Festival," was held in the KINTEX Convention Center in Ill-San on 4 August, 2009. Over 200,000 people attended the festival, and got a chance to experience programs on topics ranging from climate change to energy.

The National Fusion Research Institute showcased the principle of fusion energy by introducing KSTAR—the world's largest existing superconducting tokamak device, which recently started its second campaign to achieve ultra high temperature plasma—and ITER, currently under construction in southern France.

During the whole exhibition, staff from NFRI explained the principle of plasma in an understandable way using "plasma balls." A model of KSTAR was given away to all of the participants as a souvenir. For the younger ones, there were fusion-related puzzles and quiz games, in which more than 10,000 children participated.

The theme of this year's science festival was "Green Future made by Science and Creativity." Much fun was had by all, and we look forward to next year's edition!

Click for more news from the NFRI