you're currently reading the news digest published from 17 Oct 2022 to 24 Oct 2022



Cryolines | An elbow through the wall

Cool is in high demand in the ITER Tokamak. Magnets need it to achieve superconductivity, the thermal shield to limit heat exchanges with the outside environment, cryopumps to trap particles and achieve high vacuum, and HTS current leads to minimize heat loads to the cryogenic system. 'Cool' originates in the ITER cryoplant, where helium is processed before reaching its different clients by way of a five-kilometre network of multi-process pipes called cryolines that are provided by ITER India. On Monday 17 October, a massive elbow-shaped cryoline spool was inserted into the sleeve of a pre-formed opening in the exterior wall of the Tokamak Building (Level 3). It will connect the cryolines installed inside that building to those coming from the cryoplant along the elevated 'cryobridge.' Introducing a cylindrical object into a circular opening of corresponding diameter is something toddlers do all the time when they play with shape sorters. When the object is a delicate high-tech component that measures 8 metres in length, 1 metre in diameter and weighs in excess of 5.5 tonnes, things are a bit more complicated. A special crane—powerful, but small enough to operate in the congested environment of the Tokamak Building—needs to be brought inside. Then, as the load is attached to the tip of the telescopic boom, the crane's forward movements need to be as smooth as possible to avoid a 'pendulum effect' that would be detrimental to the complex and delicate component. And finally, operators must be skilled enough to manoeuvre the crane and align the spool with the opening in the wall. The operation was completed in less than 90 minutes. With the insertion of this strategic, elbow-shaped spool, the heaviest of the whole cryoline system, total cryoline installation inside the Tokamak Building is now close to 75% complete.

Fusion world | An Italian "mini ITER" to explore thermal power exhaust

The Divertor Tokamak Test (DTT) facility is smaller than ITER, with a different objective, but that doesn't mean that there is not a lot to learn from an in-person exchange between scientists.  No one working at ITER and living in the beautiful southeast corner of France where the project is situated can fail to notice the vestiges of the ancient history linking the Provence region with Italy. Once Julius Caesar had conquered Gaul in 58-51 BC, Emperor Augustus set about Romanizing it, and it became the first part of French Gaul brought under Roman rule (in fact the name Provence derives from the Latin Provincia). A strategic location between Italy and Spain, Provence grew to become an important part of the Roman Empire, and the evidence is everywhere, from the magnificent arenas in Arles and Nîmes (the latter now administered under the province of Languedoc, but back then the main colony city), to the splendid Pont du Gard aqueduct. Fast forward more than 2,000 years and a new activity is bridging Provence with Italy. This time, not conquests or majestic arenas and temples, but nuclear fusion. Around 900 km from ITER, in Frascati, Metropolitan City of Rome Capital (20 km southeast of Rome), a new tokamak—the Divertor Tokamak Test facility (DTT)—is under construction. First proposed in 2015, the DTT project is the result of a collaboration of scientists from several Italian institutions and European fusion laboratories. In September 2019, the DTT Consortium was established with the mission to implement the project. Composed of many Italian research institutions, government and regional partners, and international stakeholders, the consortium has raised nearly EUR 500 million to construct the facility. Both DTT and ITER are expected to begin operation on roughly similar timescales. Unlike ITER, DTT's primary mission is not to achieve deuterium-tritium fusion—it will use primarily deuterium fuel only—but to explore and test the physics and technology of concepts for exhaust of the plasma thermal power which could be used in the European DEMO (demonstration power plant) reactor, the machine Europe is planning as ITER's successor. In tokamak devices, power exhaust is usually dealt with using a special component, known as a divertor, often (as in ITER) installed at the bottom of the reactor chamber. It consists of material targets which intercept the hot plasma flowing along magnetic field lines, the geometry of which is manipulated using the external tokamak magnet coils to 'divert' the plasma onto the targets. On long-pulse, high-power tokamaks, these divertors are very sophisticated, actively water-cooled components capable of handling continuously around 15 MWm-2, a colossal power flux—about the same as that found a few millimetres in front of an argon arc welding torch. Although ITER's divertor will be the largest, most complex example of this technology constructed to-date, the thermal exhaust power of a DEMO might be 4-5 times higher than the approximately 100 MW ITER's burning plasma will produce, so new power handling concepts may be needed. This is DTT's mission, to test such concepts.  It is designed with a flexibility to try different divertor and magnetic geometries and, later, more esoteric approaches such as liquid metal targets which cannot be deployed on ITER.  To do this, DTT must first create plasma conditions which will produce steady power fluxes at the right level.  Although it is physically much smaller than ITER or DEMO—a major radius of 2.2 m compared with 6.2 m for ITER—its eventual goal of 45 MW of additional heating power and a very similar central toroidal field (6 Tesla) will mean that it will reach roughly the same value of an important number in tokamak power exhaust: the ratio of power reaching the boundary of the confined plasma to the major radius (in the range 15-17 for ITER and DEMO).  The main goals of DTT and ITER might appear different at first sight, but look only a little deeper and you will find striking similarities between the two machines. Both are long-pulse superconducting devices (up to about 100 seconds plasma duration on DTT, about 5 times shorter than ITER's baseline for high-fusion-gain plasmas) using very similar magnet systems (18 toroidal and 6 poloidal field coils) constructed with exactly the same technology. They will each use the same double-walled, water-cooled design for the primary vacuum vessel and each will raise the plasma temperature using almost identical additional heating systems (negative ion source neutral beam injectors and wave heating in the same radio and microwave frequency ranges). DTT will begin operation with a tungsten-armoured divertor using the same technology developed for ITER and both devices will be equipped with matching sets of complex in-vessel magnet coils to be used for the control of magnetohydrodynamic plasma instabilities. If not tamed, these instabilities lead to the release of repetitive heat pulses from the confined plasma and can be very damaging to those very same divertor targets. In short, DTT looks, for all intents and purposes, like a mini-ITER. In reality, this is no accident, since many of the DTT component designs are inspired by what has been produced for ITER, and since Europe provides many of ITER's systems (some supplied by Italian industry) it is entirely natural that similar technologies should be adopted by DTT.   It should come as no surprise then that when a delegation from the DTT Consortium visited the ITER Organization on 10 October 2022 to pursue technical discussions on how the two facilities could collaborate in the coming years during construction and beyond, many areas for cooperation were identified.  In the morning of the visit, following two introductory presentations on the status of the DTT project and its planned scientific program, a three-hour marathon series of quick-fire, short talks on specific areas of engineering/technology and science on which the two devices could derive mutual benefit were given by members of the DTT team, many through videoconference. The relevant ITER staff members joined for their respective slots and brief discussions were able to establish in each case how collaborations could move forward once a formal Cooperation Agreement is signed. In the afternoon, the delegation enjoyed a tour of the ITER Assembly Hall and Tokamak Building.  A few years from now, the DTT team should be able to return the favour when their own device reaches the assembly phase. When complete, DTT will also become a facility in which the next generation of fusion scientists and engineers can be trained on a smaller device with many of the characteristics of ITER, but without the complications of nuclear operation. We look forward to a renewal of the historic links between Italy and Provence, but now for the benefit of fusion science.

Image of the week | All in the family

Director-General Pietro Barabaschi's message to ITER Organization and Domestic Agency staff on 19 October 2022 could be summarized in these words: ITER is one and everyone is ITER. Whether in southern France, where the installation is being built, or in any country participating in the project each person must pursue the same objective: work to the best of her/his ability to make ITER a success. On line or in person, approximately 1,500 staff and contractors from across the project attended the first all-staff event of his tenure. On stage with the new Director-General (second from right), the heads of the ITER Domestic Agencies each expressed the same determination. From left to right: Kathy McCarthy (USA), Anatoly Krasilnikov (Russia), Kijung Jung (Korea), Makoto Sugimoto (Japan), Ujjwal Baruah (India), and European Domestic Agency Representative Juan Knaster. Luo Delong, head of ITER China, could not be present. Furthest to the right is Eisuke Tada, current Deputy of the Director-General and Head of the Office of the Director-General.


General Atomics announces a pilot fusion plant

General Atomics, the American company that operates the DIII-D National Fusion Facility for the US Department of Energy, announced plans on 20 October 2022 for a steady-state, compact fusion power plant based on an advanced tokamak design. According to Wayne Solomon, Vice President of Magnetic Fusion Energy at General Atomics, the company's practical approach to a fusion power plant (FPP) is "...the culmination of more than six decades of investments in fusion research and development, the experience we have gained from operating the DIII-D National Fusion Facility..., and the hard work of countless dedicated individuals. This is a truly exciting step towards realizing fusion energy." The facility would utilize the company's proprietary Fusion Synthesis Engine (FUSE) to enable engineers, physicists, and operators to rapidly perform a broad range of studies and continuously optimize the power plant for maximum efficiency. General Atomics has also developed an advanced modular concept (GAMBL) for the breeding blanket which is a critical component (of the fusion power facility) that breeds tritium, a fusion energy fuel source, to make the fusion fuel cycle self-sufficient. Read the full press release here.

FuseNet Master Event: sign up now

The second edition of the FuseNet Master Event will take place on Tuesday 22 November 2022. The event will be held fully online on the Gathertown platform. All master's students in fusion-related fields are invited to join the event.The day is filled with interesting talks by top scientists, introductions to fusion start-ups and ITER-related companies, and chances to meet your fellow students. Are you currently a fusion or plasma physics master student, or are you starting next academic year? Looking for an opportunity to meet the community and learn more about this fascinating subject? This event is for you.More information on the program can be found on the registrations page. See you there!

Applications open: Fusion Research Fellowships

The UK Atomic Energy Authority is accepting applications now through 16 December 2022 for its Fusion Research Fellowships. These aim to appoint outstanding scientists or engineers who have recently completed (or will soon complete) a doctorate to a two-year research fellowship in any field of fusion research. Fellowships start in summer of 2023 and can be based at either UKAEA's Culham or Rotherham site. For more details and to apply, see  Any queries, please contact Chris Warrick at 


The Integrated Control System


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Mitt ute i ingenstans mellan staden Aix-en-Provence och Alperna ligger en anläggning som kan bli räddningen för världens energiförsörjning