22 Oct 2018 to 29 Oct 2018
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Newsline 500 | A community newspaper
Twelve years ago, men and women from three continents began gathering in a set of prefabricated offices within the premises of CEA Cadarache, one of France's major nuclear research centres. They were the vanguard of the largest international collaboration ever launched, a massive research project that aimed to demonstrate that an artificial Sun could be trapped inside a machine. Although the ITER Organization had yet to be established, they were the 'ITER people' — physicists and engineers, administrators, assistants, accountants... The original seven had arrived in February 2006. By October, the 'team' had grown into a few dozen and formed a community. As new people kept joining in, as the ITER administrative, scientific and technological structures were being established throughout the world and as social life began developing outside the prefabricated offices, the ITER people, like any community, needed to be informed. The ITER stakeholders, the researchers in their fusion laboratories and universities, the fusion enthusiasts throughout the world, and the general public shared the same need. Something unique was happening in southern France: supported by 35 nations, the dream of three generations of fusion physicists was beginning to take shape. Newsline was established to tell that story. Its first issue, which came out on 18 October 2006, covered most of the topics that were of interest at the time and that continue to be of interest today: news from the recently established Domestic Agencies, a report on a fusion conference, the profile of a new recruit, and the account of a gathering of 'family and friends' at the 'exact future location' of the ITER Tokamak. 'As we all know, communication and public information play a vital role in a project like ITER,' wrote ITER Director-General nominee Kaname Ikeda in his editorial. 'I am convinced [...] that throughout its construction and its operation the significance of this project needs to be well understood by the public, and all stakeholders need to be well informed.' Over the past twelve years, through three Director-Generals and four Heads of Communication, Newsline has done its best to fulfil this mission. A monthly publication back in 2006 and 2007, it reached cruising speed in 2008 and has maintained its weekly periodicity ever since. The publication has evolved. The chronicle of the nascent ITER community progressively gave way to a broader outlook on the fusion world, of which ITER is of course the centre piece. Over the years, through close to 3,500 articles, a considerable database has been accumulated. Most aspects of ITER science have been explored, the life story of major components had been reported from design through to completion, and progress on the worksite has been covered on a near-weekly basis. Newsline has travelled to factories and laboratories throughout the ITER world; it has flown helicopters and climbed cranes to take in the full view of the construction site; it has sat through international conferences to report on the latest developments in fusion research, explored historical archives and collected memories of major fusion figures. The Newsline team has used every available means to share and convey the unique nature of ITER, its ambitions, its challenges. Outside the ITER community, Newsline has approximately 8,000 subscribers worldwide and thousands more access it freely through the ITER website. Its readership is diverse, ranging from the hard-core fusion scientist to the simple enthusiast. Catching the interest of the former without driving away the latter is the weekly challenge faced by the team. The Newsline team is not alone in writing Newsline however. Whether spontaneous or solicited, contributions from the fusion community (whether ITER Organization, Domestic Agencies, fusion laboratories or universities) are always a precious asset.Today, as we put together Newsline 500, we are already hounded by the ever-recurring Monday evening question: 'OK, this one's out—but what do we have for the upcoming week?' To answer this question, we just need to look through the windows to the construction site, exchange a few words with colleagues at the cafeteria or read our emails from partners working around the world—the stories are all there, waiting to be told. ITER is a vast and fascinating world. Another 500 issues; another 3,500 articles won't be enough to explore it all.
Nuclear doors | Lifting a sixty-tonne leaf
There is a set of doors in the ITER Tokamak Building that makes one feel like Gulliver in Brobdingnag, the land of the giants in Jonathan Swift's novel. Massive in dimension and weight, the doors require a custom-made handling tool for installation. Extending out radially from the concrete bioshield—like so many spokes around a central hub—are nine-metre-long chambers called port cells. The trapeze-shaped spaces will accommodate heating pipes, electricity cables, diagnostic lines and maintenance systems as they pass through to the vacuum vessel from outlying galleries. The port cells also have a part to play in shielding workers and the environment from radiation. At the far end of each port cell (relative to the machine) are heavy nuclear doors that act as a confinement barrier preventing neutrons and potential contamination from passing through. Forty-six nuclear doors will be necessary to close off the same number of port cells. Made of steel, the doors are 4.2 meters wide, 3.8 meters high and 0.8 meters thick. Delivered hollow, they will be filled on site with approximately 7.5 cubic metres of special heavy concrete that—when poured into each door—increases their weight from 30 tonnes to roughly 60 tonnes each. The French-German engineering consortium Cegelec/Sommer, subcontractor to the European consortium VFR that is in charge of the construction of the Tokamak Complex, is manufacturing the nuclear doors. Cegelec/Sommer has also developed a custom-made lifting device called the 'leaf mounting tool.' Built to precise ITER specifications, this heavy-duty machine is capable of maneuvering the massive port cell doors within the confined space of the Tokamak Building. The machine's hydraulically adjustable lifting straps lift each door off the ground by a few centimeters and hold it in place between the tool's steel frames, while the tool travels to the concrete filling station and back. Eighteen doors will be fitted into three-piece steel doorframes at B1 (upper basement) level, and 14 each on levels L1 (ground level) and L2 of the Tokamak Building. Once mounted, the port cell doors will remain closed, only to be opened for machine assembly or future maintenance activities. For operators to have easy routine access to the port cells, regular-sized 'personnel access doors' are fitted into the centre of each port cell door. Sixteen port cell doors have been delivered, and seven have already been filled with heavy concrete. Teams are ready to begin installing the port cell doors into their frames—an activity that will last until mid-2020.
Image of the week | Cryostat segments are made of this
Doric or ionic? Neither. What looks like broken columns from a Greek temple are in fact steel ingots, cooling on a bed of black sand inside the Larsen & Toubro foundry in Hazira, India. These ingots, who weigh from 6 to 200 metric tonnes, are the raw material for the cryostat segments that the company manufactures for ITER. Once cooled, the ingots are re-heated and forged by a massive, open-die hydraulic press, the largest in the sub-continent, capable of exerting a force of 9,000 metric tonnes. It is only after being machined that the steel will acquire its familiar, mirror-like aspect.
FEC 2018 | New windows into plasma behaviour
There's a cloud of melancholy hanging over the main hall of the Mahatma Mandir convention centre, like when a family reunion comes to an end. For six days in India, the fusion community—old hands and newcomers, wise uncles and aunts, brilliant cousins and grandfathers who will never retire—has shared a unique moment. But as the curtain falls on the 27th Fusion Energy Conference (FEC), it is now time to part and return home. One last cup of coffee, one last exchange, one last burst of laughter, a handshake or a pat on the shoulder; the buses, taxis and rickshaws are waiting outside ... In the life and works of the worldwide fusion community, there is no equivalent to this conference. 'Over a total of 27 FEC since 1961, I have attended 20 and I have never been disappointed once,' says Rob Goldston of Princeton's Plasma Physics Laboratory and a major figure in the fusion world. 'Like most of my colleagues I work on a rather narrow specialty. The FEC allows me to pop my head out of the fox hole and see what's happening in the whole field.' What makes the fusion conference especially exciting for Tim Luce, Head of the ITER Science & Operations Department, is that it is 'focused on energy, not just on physics.' Tim has attended the FEC since the early 1990s and has always come back "completely energized." "This meeting is vital for our community: this is where we hear the best lines from the best scientists before publication—the FEC is the champion league of fusion.' Back in the 1960s and 1970s, the FEC was referred to as 'the fusion Olympics.' The spirit of competition has passed but the athletes are still here, strong as ever. 'Having a presentation selected by the organizing board is particularly difficult. As a consequence, we get only the best quality from the best people,' says Goldston. Fifty years after the historical 1968 conference, when Russian physicists presented the exceptional results they had obtained on a new type of device called 'tokamak,' the 27th FEC wasn't marked by any spectacular breakthrough. But it highlighted the trends that are causing deep changes in the approach of fusion research. 'We are now entering a different world and getting into the deepest subtleties of plasma behaviour,' says David Campbell, Tim Luce's predecessor as ITER chief scientist, and one of the two senior scientists invited do deliver the 'summary addresses' that traditionally close the conference. 'There is an incredible quality in the measurements and a spectacular development of computational capabilities. We now have tools that we could only have dreamed of 30 years ago.' For Rob Goldston this is no less than 'a quantum leap' in the quality of detail and the precision obtained. The 27th FEC was also the first opportunity to present the results from new or updated facilities such as ASDEX Upgrade, WEST or Aditya, the medium-size Indian tokamak that was recently equipped with a new divertor. Along with the experimental results of high-performance plasmas in DIII-D and the confirmation of the predicted models in Alcator C-Mod, the good news also came from stellarators with detailed reports on Germany's Wendelstein 7-X and on the Japanese LHD's recent deuterium campaign. 'The data from stellarators opens a new window into fusion,' says David Campbell. 'It has become clear that tokamak physics can learn a lot from stellarator physics.' Two years from now, when the fusion community convenes for the 28th FEC in Nice, France, there will be a momentous anniversary to celebrate: the centenary of Arthur Eddington's article on "The Internal Constitution of the Stars," which speculated that the source of stellar energy was to be found in the fusion of hydrogen into helium. Browse through a selection of images from the conference below.
PPPL: New interim deputy director for operations
Rich Hawryluk—who was Deputy Director-General for the Administration Department at the ITER Organization from 2011 to 2013—has been appointed interim deputy director for operations of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) while an international search for a permanent operations director moves forward. Hawryluk will assume the position of Terry Brog, who is stepping down from his position. Brog will remain at the Laboratory for the next six months as the head of special assignments and will work on special projects for the Department of Energy and will help develop a technology transfer plan for the Laboratory. This is a familiar role for Hawryluk. He served as deputy director for 11 years from 1997 to 2008. Hawryluk came to PPPL in 1974 after receiving his Ph.D. in physics from MIT. During his 44-year career, he has worked on most of the major fusion experiments at PPPL. He was head of the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor, then the largest magnetic confinement facility in the United States, from 1991 to 1997. After leaving his position as deputy director, he headed PPPL's ITER and Tokamaks Department from 2009 to 2011. From 2011 to 2013, he worked at ITER in France, serving as the deputy director-general for the Administration Department of ITER. After returning to the Laboratory in 2013, Hawryluk headed the ITER and Tokamaks Department for three years. In 2016, he became head of the NSTX-U Recovery Project and headed that effort until becoming interim Laboratory director in September 2017. Read more here.
Next ITER Business Forum in March
The 2019 edition of the ITER Business Forum will be held in the French city of Antibes from 26 to 28 March. Organized by Agence Iter France with the participation of the ITER Organization, the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy, and other Domestic Agencies, the event has three aims: To offer firms the opportunity to learn more about ITER business opportunities; To facilitate partnerships between industries within Europe and outside Europe, and; To foster collaboration between industry and fusion laboratories. The 2017 event drew over 1,000 participants from 433 companies and 25 countries. Ninety-six percent confirmed that the event had allowed them 'to identify potential clients, partners or subcontractors." The website is open at this address. Registration and stand booking will be possible from mid-November on.
Construction roundup Q2 (ENGAGE)
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