ITER Newsline / 23 June 2014

A note to our readers: Newsline will not be published again until Monday 14 May.

T time for JET

Engineers at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) have begun to prepare Europe's flagship fusion experiment JET for a new set of full-power fusion experiments using tritium fuel. The tests, currently scheduled for 2017-18, will be the first with tritium since 2003 and will act as an important "dress rehearsal" in preparation for ITER's operation with tritium. To generate large amounts of power in commercial tokamak reactors, a combination of two heavy hydrogen nuclei—deuterium (D) and tritium (T)—will be required to fuel the fusion furnace. However, supplies of tritium are scarce and its radioactivity makes it impractical for use in most fusion research labs. For fusion power stations neither issue should be a problem; a lithium "blanket" around the tokamak will react with the fusion neutrons to produce tritium fuel within the device itself, and remote-controlled maintenance systems will ensure safe handling of material exposed to tritium and fusion neutrons. (JET has been at the forefront of the development and highly successful implementation of remote handling technology.) Today though, to avoid the complications of tritium, the vast majority of fusion research is conducted with deuterium fuel only. This provides very accurate results that can be scaled up to predict the performance of future DT reactors. But for the best simulation of how ITER will operate with DT, there is nothing like the real thing—a series of fusion tests with both fuels. That's where JET comes in. As the world's largest operating tokamak and the only such device capable of storing, using, recovering and recycling tritium, it has a unique role in fusion research. And upgrades since the 2003 tritium campaign—particularly the ITER-like inner wall of beryllium and tungsten—have effectively turned JET into a "mini-ITER"; as close as any present-day device can get to its operating conditions. Another series of DT experiments on JET will therefore provide scientific information to help make ITER a success, as well as give physicists and engineers vital experience of running fusion machines with tritium. Read the full story on the CCFE website.

Register now for SOFT 2014

The next Symposium on Fusion Technology (SOFT 2014) will be held in San Sebastian, Spain from 29 September to 3 October. SOFT is recognized as the most important scientific event on fusion technology in Europe and for the next edition organizers are paying special attention to the participation of industry. In particular, one of this year's objectives is to strengthen the relationship between labs and companies. SOFT 2014 will be offering a focused program of activities for representatives of industry: an Industrial Infoday on 30 September for an overview on the ITER Project and upcoming opportunities for companies; a round table on 'Technology transfer and collaboration models between labs and industry'; and thematic workshops on the successful participation in tender offers. An industrial exhibition will be open throughout the duration of the conference; companies interested in renting space should contact the organizers here. Please visit the SOFT 2014 website for more information, to register, or to schedule B2B/C2B meetings.

Ion source power supplies successfully tested in Italy

When the experimental program on the ITER-scale radio-frequency negative ion source gets underway at the PRIMA test facility in Italy, operators will be counting on power ... lots of it. The ion-source test bed, called SPIDER, will be capable of running pulses of up to 3,600 seconds at maximum power with hydrogen or deuterium discharges. Designed to test the full-size ITER negative ion source, SPIDER will be twice as large as the largest existing negative ion source, ELISE, in Germany. The main mission of the SPIDER test bed at PRIMA is to finalize the development of the ion sources required for the ITER neutral beam injectors and to test all essential aspects of the diagnostic neutral beam accelerator. The SPIDER power supply is composed of an acceleration grid power supply provided by India and an ion source extraction grid power supply and transmission line provided by Europe in order to feed the radio frequency ion source. The design and manufacture of the power supplies were carried out in collaboration with Fusion for Energy/RFX and the ITER Organization. On 14 May 2014, the last components of the ion source and extraction grid power supply (ISEPS) successfully passed factory acceptance tests at the supplier facility in San Giorgio di Piano, Italy (OCEM Energy Technology). The radio frequency power supplies and the DC power supply (provided by OCEM) and the radio frequency generator (provided by sub-contractor Himmelwerk from Germany) were tested on dummy load. Representatives from the ITER Organization, the European Domestic Agency (Fusion for Energy), the companies OCEM and Himmelwerk, and Consorzio RFX (host to the PRIMA facility) were present to witness the smooth conclusion of the tests. The testing, carried out over a period of one month, involved running the power supplies at the maximum nominal power of 200kW for a period of 15 minutes. Read more about the story on the European Domestic Agency website.

A perfect day for pouring

In the scope of a regular building project, concrete pouring is a commonplace operation. For an ITER building, however, it is the culmination of months of calculations, modellization and painstaking preparation. 'It's a moment of great pleasure and relief,' admits Laurent Patisson, Nuclear Buildings Section leader at ITER. 'For a short time, the paperwork is over and we're into the real thing.' What added to his sense of satisfaction last Thursday 19 June, as a second segment of the Tritium Building slab was poured on the north side of the Tokamak Pit, was the weather. For both the workers and the concrete, the conditions were just perfect. Unlike during pouring events scheduled mid-winter or high-summer, the concrete coming out of the on-site batching plant didn't require warming or cooling. Like a good wine, it was served at room temperature. Operations began at 6:45 a.m. and followed a strict procedure detailed in a five-page program. Two giant 47-metre pumps, capable of delivering 50 cubic metres of concrete per hour, were guided from north to south, progressively filling the steel reinforcement structure with 1,155 cubic metres of specially formulated concrete. Four layers were poured successively, each followed by vibrating operations, for a total height of 1.5 metres. By midnight, the 770 square metres of plot #12 were filled. The next morning, the surface of the new concrete was flooded to prevent dehydration and the possible creation of micro-cracks on the concrete 'skin.' The plot's surface will remain underwater for at least 10 days—a phase known as concrete curing. The remaining, central segment of the Tritium Building slab should be poured in the coming week. Then, sometime in the summer, it will be time to celebrate an even bigger moment of 'pleasure and relief': the pouring of the first segment of the Tokamak Building slab, following the green light to proceed from the French Nuclear Safety Authority.

Busbar prototypes tested in Saint Petersburg

In early June at the Efremov Institute of Electrophysical Apparatus (Saint Petersburg, Russia) specialists completed type tests on full-scale prototypes of the DC busbars (10 to 68 кА)—the sizeable, water-cooled components will feed power to ITER's superconducting magnet coils. The series of tests carried out at the Institute were attended by experts from the ITER Organization and ITER Russia. The high-current busbars that connect tokamak coils with their power supplies, thyristor converters, together with powerful switching devices and resistors for the extraction of energy from the magnet system compose the core part of the electrotechnical equipment to be manufactured and delivered by Russia according to the Procurement Arrangement signed between the ITER Organization and ITER Russia in 2011. Almost all of the equipment is one of a kind and was specially designed for the ITER Project. The Efremov Institute has the responsibility for all design, manufacturing and testing. The tests carried out in Saint Petersburg this spring included a broad array of electric, hydraulic and mechanical tests of the busbars elements that aimed to verify that their parameters matched technical specifications. The tests results confirmed the technical solutions conceived during the design stage, including manufacturing technology. The positive test results now give the green light to the busbar serial production. According to the terms of the Procurement Arrangement, the Efremov Institute will manufacture and ship to the ITER Organization over several years about 5.4 km of busbars with a total weight exceeding 500 tonnes. Watch a video of the prototype tests here.


"Very helpful for all of humanity"

​The clouds cleared up in time to welcome three distinguished members of the South Korea's National Assembly on 25 June 2014. Hae Ja Park, Sye-kyun Chung, and Young Kyo Seo were accompanied by the head of the Korean Domestic Agency for ITER, Kijung Jung. They were warmly welcomed by ITER Director-General Motojima who presented the current status of the ITER Project before they headed out onto the construction site for a visit. At the end of the visit, Sye-kyun Chung remarked how impressive the project is and how, 'in the long term, this project will be very helpful for all of humanity.'

Report urges Alberta to prepare for fusion energy

​Learning to harness fusion in a controlled way — recreating the sun on earth, as a clean source of energy — is the objective of national programs in Asia, Europe and the USA. And the race is heating up, with several quite promising options. According to Professor Allan Offenberger 'A sustained fusion burn is no longer an academic dream but will be realized in the near future.' Dr. Offenberger, on behalf of the Alberta Council of Technologies Society (ABCtech), led an assessment team on visits to the major programs around the world last year. As part of the assessment, the Society also entertained Alberta energy leaders in workshops in Calgary and Edmonton and invited international fusion researchers to report on progress at a Forum co-hosted with Alberta Energy at Alberta Innovates last fall. Included in the Report — and found favourable — was an assessment of the merit of employing fusion energy in oil sands extraction. 'Fusion ignition generates heat that would reduce the need for vast quantities of natural gas in oil sands extraction,' notes Dr. Robert Fedosejevs, from the Engineering Faculty at the University of Alberta, who also participated on the assessment team. Read more on Troy Media website.

V. Putin talks with Kurchatov's director M. Kovalchuk

​Russia's President Vladimir Putin met with Director of the National Research Centre Kurchatov Institute Mikhail Kovalchuk. Mr Kovalchuk briefed the President about the results of implementing a state program for developing the Kurchatov Institute. PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Mr Kovalchuk, four years ago, you proposed a development program for the Kurchatov Institute. The Kurchatov Institute is one of the leading research institutions working in nuclear physics, if not the leading institution. And you have received six billion each year with the goal of development? DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL RESEARCH CENTRE KURCHATOV INSTITUTE MIKHAIL KOVALCHUK: Yes, that was the amount. VLADIMIR PUTIN: I know that the program is about to conclude, and I would like to hear about the results we have reached. Moreover, I know you are currently working on the next program. MIKHAIL KOVALCHUK: Mr President, I would like to report to you about the most significant results reached while implementing the program launched on your initiative and the most important results that are significant for our nation's economy. Read the whole conversation transcription on the Foreign Affairs website.

Operate a Tokamak from the comfort of your couch

​Ever been curious about how a Tokamak works? Or how it creates energy? Thanks to the new app Operation Tokamak from EFDA (available in IOS and Android), you can operate a Tokamak from the comfort of your own couch. Chose your level, slowly heat the plasma, and create energy—shooting all the while at magnetic islands in order to keep the plasma going. Though the app has been simplified from a working Tokamak, you can still get a good sense of the magnitiude of a real fusion reactor. And don't forget to share your scores! More information on EDFA website.

A note to our readers: not all the press clippings that appeared in the media on ITER in the last seven days can be listed here. Please see this page for a more exhaustive list.


한ㆍ중, 핵융합에너지 개발 가속화


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