ITER Newsline / 30 November 2016

A note to our readers: Newsline will not be published again until Monday 19 March.

The balance of power

It comes as no surprise that the French railway operator SNCF is the largest consumer of electricity in the country—it takes a lot of megawatts to power 500 superfast TGVs* and countless regular electric trains. Steelworks come in second; they, too, need considerable power to operate the induction furnaces that melt the metal before it is formed into ingots. When ITER begins full-power operation, its electrical consumption will be comparable to that of a large steel mill. And the ITER Organization will be billed at the same level: at today's rate, which is on the order of 50 euros per MW/h, ITER's electric bill will amount to approximately EUR 2.5 million per month. ITER needs electrical power in two different forms: DC current for plasma operations (power injection into the magnets, plasma heating, etc.) and AC current for the industrial auxiliaries of the installation such as the cryoplant and buildings. The Pulsed Power Electrical Network (PPEN) will deliver power by way of three giant transformers (procured by China) and a set of powerful AC/DC converters hosted in the Magnet Power Conversion buildings. A plasma shot will require an input of 300 MW—equivalent to 35 TGVs powered up for departure. Four US-procured conventional transformers, of which only three will be operating at a given time, will feed AC power to the plant systems and buildings. Out of 100 MW required, the cooling water system will be the largest client (40 percent), followed by the cryoplant (30 percent), building services and the tritium plant (10 percent each). For the moment, the electrical needs of the ITER buildings and the worksite are covered by a 15 kV line extended from the neighbouring CEA research centre. But early next year, the first part of the 400 kV switchyard will be 'energized' and ITER will draw power directly from the national grid. Work is underway now in the switchyard and in the area of the transformers to prepare for this moment. Contractors are creating the concrete slabs that will support additional electrical equipment and laying cables for the switchyard's remote control operation and for communication with the French transmission system operator RTE (Réseau de transport d'électricité). 'ITER power requirements are considerable and we must not disturb power distribution by the French national grid in any way,' explains Joël Hourtoule, head of the ITER Electrical Power Distribution Section. 'This means that we must 'exchange signals' with RTE and keep them informed of our plasma campaign schedule. In some exceptional circumstances—like an unexpected cold spell combined with several reactors closed for maintenance—they can ask us to delay a pulse." And like TGVs, ITER pulses will never be launched precisely at the hour when European networks are synchronized ... rather a few minutes before or after. Mega infrastructures and delicate balance: electricity, especially at ITER, is about more than meets the eye. * Train à Grande Vitesse ('high speed train')

Real-time collaboration delivers for fusion computing

A key computing system for ITER is now being trialled at the European tokamak JET, following collaboration between teams at the UK's Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), the ITER Organization and the European Domestic Agency for ITER. Adam Stephen, CODAS project manager at Culham, teamed up with his counterparts Bertrand Bauvir from ITER and Andre Neto from the European agency to integrate the ITER synchronous databus network on the live JET machine. The synchronous databus network consists of a high performance software/hardware stack for interconnecting diagnostic and control systems on a tokamak, according to Adam. 'The equivalent real-time data network system on JET is a core part of the plasma control system and has delivered ever-increasing functionality to the fusion scientists over the last decade.' What was needed to further improve JET equipment was a real-time Ethernet feed of data to a new visualization service that would give physicists a better live view of key JET measurements. Installing the ITER system was a chance to do that, while at the same time validating the network on an operational fusion experiment ahead of ITER's start-up in 2025. Thanks to the intensive work and resourcefulness of the team, and the strong backing and support from each of the organizations, the equipment was installed in only three days, a success that was warmly welcomed by Andrew Hynes, CCFE's head of CODAS&IT, Anders Wallander, head of the ITER Control System Division, and Filippo Sartori, head of Instrumentation & Control at the European Domestic Agency. The project has provided enhanced control room tools by integrating ITER software with state-of-the-art data visualization tools from the JET data analysis group. It has also paved the way for the future evolution of the JET real-time data network using up-to-date maintainable software and hardware. Importantly, the compatibility with ITER equipment further opens the possibility of integrating and testing future ITER systems on JET. See the original article on the CCFE website.

"Dummy" winding takes shape

As orange lights flash and machines softly hum, layer one of a 'dummy' pancake winding (the building block of a poloidal field coil) is taking shape on the winding table of the Poloidal Field Coils facility. A "dummy" is similar to an actual pancake winding in every aspect except one: the conductor is made of plain copper instead of niobium-titanium superconducting alloy. Winding with dummy conductor serves to qualify tooling and processes before the start of actual production. In the on-site facility where four of ITER's giant ring-shaped poloidal field coils will be produced by Europe, layer one of the two-layer dummy winding has been realized by a team of ten people. It corresponds to the dimensions of poloidal field coil #5 (17 metres). As if in slow motion, the steel-jacketed conductor is unspooled, straightened, cleaned in an ultrasound bath, bent to the correct shape, and then sandblasted, washed and dried. Five layers of insulating glass/polyimide tape turn the originally grey conductor to white. Winding layer one is now complete, soon to be joined by a second layer placed in a controlled manner on top of the first and separated by joggles. After the creation of helium inlets (ITER's magnets will be cooled by supercritical helium), the dummy pancake will continue on to the impregnation step. The final rigid assembly will be sliced into eight parts and stacked to reproduce a mockup section of poloidal field coil #5, with its eight stacked double pancakes. More information on the European Domestic Agency website.

As big (and heavy) as a whale

It was pouring when the two 35-metre-long quench tanks were delivered to the ITER site at 2:12 a.m. on Thursday 24 November. And it was still raining heavily on the following afternoon when the huge components were lifted from their trailers and placed in storage on 'elephant legs.' But rain or shine, components must be delivered. Despite the adverse climatic conditions—with strong winds and a storm brewing—the two-tank convoy travelled the last leg of its journey without incident. Manufactured by the Czech subcontractor (Chart Ferox) of Air Liquide, under contract with the European Domestic Agency for the procurement of the ITER liquid nitrogen plant and auxiliary systems, the quench tanks are an essential part of the ITER cryoplant. In case of a "quench"—the sudden loss of coil superconductivity—they will collect and store the helium that is expelled from the tokamak's magnetic system. More information on the European Domestic Agency Energy website.

A passage to India

108 days, 10,200 kilometres, 16 countries, and only two flat tires. These are the remarkable statistics of a no-less-remarkable journey: a father and son who travelled from their Dutch hometown of Bergen to Gandhinagar in India—by bicycle. Why would they undertake such a trip? For one because they cherish the wisdom of the Indian philosopher Nisargadatta Maharaj, who wrote: 'Once you realize that the road is the goal and that you are always on the road, not to reach a goal, but to enjoy its beauty and its wisdom, life ceases to be a task and becomes natural and simple, in itself an ecstasy.' But there is also an ITER connection. Ronald Dekker, the father, is the director of the Dutch company Demaco, specialized in cryogenics. As a subcontractor to Linde Kryotechnik AG, Demaco supplied test infrastructure for the prototype cryolines at the ITER India cryogenic laboratory in Gandhinagar. Demaco also participated in the tenders related to the procurements for cryolines and cryodistribution. 'During the tender phases and the execution of the project, we learned to appreciate Indian culture and the cooperation with the different local parties,' explained Ronald in an email a few days into their journey. 'So because of positive memories, both professional and personal, my son Maurice and I decided to bike from Demaco in the Netherlands to Mumbai. Maurice finished his studies early in 2016, so it was a perfect moment to jump on our bikes.' And off they went, leaving Bergen, the Netherlands, on 3 August. During the following days and weeks, they cycled through Europe, Turkey, Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. They made one exception, leaving the ground to fly from Muscat, Oman, to Ahmedabad, India, only to continue cycling all the way to the Institute of Plasma Research in Gandhinagar where they arrived on Friday, 18 November. All those who signed up to follow the 'Dekkers on Trek' website could track their daily progress ... the reckless drivers on the road to Serbia, their adventures in the Dubai desert, their hotel experience in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi, and many fascinating encounters with local people, and local dogs. Upon their arrival at the Indian laboratory, the Dekkers were welcomed by IPR Acting Chief Administrative Officer PK Atrey, ITER India Cryogenic System Coordinator Ritendra Bhattacharya, and the ITER India cryogenic team. The Dekkers ended their visit to the western Indian state of Gujarat with a last 130-kilometre stretch to Vadodara to participate in a cycle rally event along with 120 other bikers in promotion of the 'Swachh Bharat' campaign, a movement for a clean India. From there, father and son will cycle their way to Mumbai (another 400 km) before returning to Amsterdam by plane and Bergen by bike.


WEST in starting monoblocks

After four years of non-stop work, the French tokamak Tore Supra has now become WEST,the tungsten (W) Environment Steady-state Tokamak. Equipped with an actively cooled tungsten divertor and additional power, experiments at WEST will provide precious data on operation in a tungsten environment in advance of ITER operation. Considerable modification to the machine's internal elements has been carried out. New components have all been installed in the vacuum vessel (divertor coil windings, protection panels, antennas, diagnostics, tungsten plasma-facing components) and the chamber has now been closed for final commissioning before plasma operation. The transformation mobilized more than one hundred people: staff from the Institute for Magnetic Fusion Research (CEA-IRFM) and also WEST partners, in particular Chinese and Indian on-site collaborators. Following the upcoming divertor coil impregnation and integrated commissioning, WEST will embark on its scientific life focused on the preparation of ITER divertor operation. Photo © Christophe Roux-CEA More on this story in the November issue of the WEST Newsletter.

Well-earned pause in activity for the JET tokamak

The 2015-2016 experimental campaign at the JET tokamak, Europe's flagship device, came to an end on 15 November with nearly all goals met, according to a recent article published on the EUROfusion website. Highlights included rehearsing the procedures for future tritium-tritium and deuterium-tritium experiments; running a hydrogen campaign during which physicists learned about the dependence of plasma parameters on the mass of the hydrogen fuel used; and the high-power deuterium campaign. This success means that JET is right on track for the tritium-tritium and deuterium-tritium experiments planned for upcoming campaigns, which are expected to provide important results for the operation of ITER. JET will restart operations in 2017. Read the full article on the EUROfusion 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.

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Зажечь солнце

Energy News

Las centrales de fusión serán comercialmente posibles en 2050


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Nuclear Engineering International

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