you're currently reading the news digest published from 03 Mar 2014 to 10 Mar 2014



Springtime construction boom

Construction works are booming at ITER — not only on the platform where work on a large workshop for the assembly of the cryostat and on the foundations for the Tokamak Complex are progressing visibly, but also near the road at the main entrance; at the 'unfinished' end of the Headquarters building and, soon, on a new ten-hectare parcel that was recently made available to the ITER Organization by the neighbouring research centre CEA. The ongoing works reflect the growing needs of the ITER Project. The vacant plot of land between the entrance road and the visitors' parking lot is being transformed into a 6,000-square-metre storage area for ITER components (such as large drain tanks, electrical transformers and pipes ) before they are assembled in the machine. ITER Building and Site Infrastructure is currently investigating the need for additional temporary structures as some of the components may require specific storage environments. Work is scheduled to be completed by April 2014. In the parking lot nearby, 320 bays are being added in order to increase the overall capacity to more than 600 cars. Good news for the owners of large vehicles: the new bays will be 2.5 metres wide, 20 centimetres more than the legal minimum; eventually, all bays will be enlarged to meet this generous standard. The existing enter/exit ramps will also be enlarged. These works on the parking lot are directly linked to the ongoing construction of the ITER Headquarters extension—an added 'West Wing' that will accommodate 350 ITER staff and contractors presently hosted in buildings one kilometre away. The 3,500-square-metre extension (5 storeys high, 35 metres long) will share the same architectural features as the existing building. It is scheduled to be handed over in September. In July 2010, approximately 100 hectares of land, belonging to CEA, were officially made available to the ITER Organization for the duration of the ITER Agreement, which officially ends on 24 October 2042. On Friday 14 February, an amendment to the 2010 notarial deed provided for an additional 10 hectares of land located south of the ITER site and used as a Spoil Disposal Area during site preparation and the first excavation works. On this plot of land, the ITER Organization is planning to build a logistics platform for the unpacking, storage, re-packing, testing, maintenance and pre-fabrication of ITER components. The platform will include a 12,000 square metre warehouse and a 10,000 square metre outside storage area. A call for tender for the design and construction was launched in October last year. The contract is expected to be awarded next month and construction should be completed in the second semester of 2015. (With Sabina Griffith and Wouter Van Baren, BSI)

Chinese technology will contribute to heating ASDEX-U

At the Chinese Institute of Plasma Physics ASIPP, a second ICRF heating antenna is packed and ready to be delivered to the ASDEX Upgrade Tokamak in Germany after passing the necessary factory acceptance tests late February. Two new ICRF antennas (for ion cyclotron range of frequencies) designed to couple 2MW at a frequency between 30 and 60 MHz are being built in an international cooperation between the Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics (IPP, Germany), ASIPP (China) and ENEA (Italy). ENEA is building the plasma-facing components of the antenna and a powerful diagnostic to measure the plasma density in front of it, while ASIPP is building all other components of the antennas. According to Yang Qingxi, a 35-year-old Responsible Official from ASIPP, the manufacture of the two ICRF antennas was 'arduous and tortuous' due to their complicated structure, demanding technical specifications, sophisticated engineering techniques and a tight schedule. The ASIPP components of the first antenna, delivered to IPP in June, 2013, have already been complemented with some of the diagnostics parts from ENEA and are being test mounted in a full scale model of ASDEX Upgrade. The components of the second ICRF antenna were examined and accepted by a three-member team from the Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics (IPP) headed by Helmut Fuenfgelder during a visit at ASIPP from February 25 to 27. Helmut Fuenfgelder expressed his satisfaction with the quality of the second antenna to the ASIPP team led by Song Yuntao. 'The first antenna was very good, and this one is even better.' The challenging task was successfully brought to conclusion through strong teamwork within the High Power Microwave Technology and Tokamak Design divisions, the ASIPP workshop and also through a large number of R&D tests on welding techniques and a special curve-shaped surface forming process. Dozens of video discussions took place throughout the development process with IPP colleagues. The second antenna will arrive at its new home in Garching in a couple of weeks. After completion with ENEA components, both antennas will be installed in the ASDEX Upgrade in the next opening foreseen this year.

Cryostat crane now installed

On a drizzly Wednesday morning, employees from Danieli Centro Cranes installed the Cryostat Site Workshop gantry crane, which will be used to handle the components for the assembly of the cryostat sections. The crane has a main hook that can lift 200 tonnes and an auxiliary hook with a 50-tonne capacity. It will stand 18 metres high and travel on rails fixed to the floor, covering the entire workshop length of ~100 metres during the assembly process. It took four mobile cranes and two hours to install the gantry crane. Danieli workers will complete the entire installation by mid-March and then run a series of load test procedures in May once the electrical components have been installed in the building and power is connected. The Cryostat Workshop will be finished this summer after some remaining heating, ventilation, and air conditioning components are installed and finishing touches are put on the office buildings. Then the workshop will be ready for the first cryostat components, due on the ITER site next year.

What's on TV?

A new series is being broadcast live on the TV screen installed in the lobby of the ITER Headquarters. Co-produced by CODAC and the ITER Electrical Power Distribution Section the series' script, automatically written in real-time, tells the story of how power consumption on the ITER site and in the Headquarters building varies every few seconds. Despite the action being a bit repetitive—it's all about coloured graphs rising and falling—the making of the series represents a good example of co-acting between CODAC and the ITER 'electricians.' 'What you see onscreen is a simple demonstration that we can collect, process and archive signals in accordance to CODAC procedures,' explains Anders Wallander, head of ITER Control and Systems Division, and Joël Hourtoule, Electrical Power Distribution section leader. The real-time information and the daily and monthly recaps are of crucial importance to support the electrical power network; they will also be very useful when electricity contracts will be negotiated. The data collected, according to Anders, is also 'a metric of ITER construction progress.' When construction and assembly activities peak in the coming years, ITER electricity needs will be in the range of 10 to 15 MW—equivalent to those of a small town. The 100 MW mark will be passed when plants systems (such as cryogenics, cooling water, vacuum, building services, heating systems and magnets power supplies) are all 'plugged in' to produce steady-state plasmas inside the ITER Tokamak.


Dhiraj Bora on fusion

Dhiraj Bora, present Director of the Institute for Plasma Research, Gujarat and former ITER Deputy-Director General, explains what a fusion reaction is, what conditions it requires, and what hurdles scientists face in achieving it. Read ​Prof. Dhiraj Bora's interview here.

Spitzer: Fusion Vs Fission

​When a science-mad artificial intelligence system (voiced by GLaDOS actress Ellen McLain) is installed at NASA, two hapless computer technicians learn the process behind nuclear fusion in the Sun, and how it differs from fission. Watch the video here.

Major U.S. Science Agencies Face Flat Prospects

​President Barack Obama this morning released a $3.901 trillion budget request to Congress, including proposals for a host of federal research agencies. (...) Once again there are winners and losers in the proposed budget for 2015 the Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Science, the single largest funder of the physical sciences in the United States. Overall, the Office of Science budget would creep up by just 0.9% from its current level to $5.111 billion. But whereas some research programs, such as advance computing, would see double-digit increases, others, such as fusion, would take deep cuts. (...) In contrast, the fusion program would take a 17.6% cut to $416 million—$88 million less than it's getting this year. Although far from final, the numbers suggest another big dip for a program that has enjoyed a roller coaster ride in recent years. In its proposed 2013 budget, DOE called for slashing spending on domestic fusion research to help pay for the increasing U.S. contribution to the international fusion experiment, ITER, in Cadarache, France. That budget also called for closing one of three smaller fusion experiments, or tokamaks, in the United States, the Alcator C-Mod at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. But that budget never passed and last December, when Congress finally agreed to a budget for this year, it restored funding for C-Mod and gave the fusion program a handsome boost of nearly $200 million. The new budget request would give some of that increase back and suggests DOE officials see bigger priorities elsewhere. Read full article on Science website.


Maintaining a clean surface

Spot in the middle

A 1:1-scale mockup for Tokamak basemat reinforcement


La fusion nucléaire, ce serait pour quand ?

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Michael Walsh 教授和马云星博士访问核科学技术学院