Październik 2012

Planning for Test Blankets Modules radwaste

Self-sustained tritium production is essential to the future of fusion. While an experimental machine such as ITER will draw upon the tritium presently available in the market (a couple of tens of kilos), future fusion plants will have to breed their own tritium supply in a continuous manner. Tritium, which occurs only in trace quantities in nature, can be produced through the impact of fusion-generated neutrons on lithium nuclides present in the plasma-facing components. Based on this principle, six experimental Test Blanket Modules (TBM) will be installed at the equatorial ports of the ITER vacuum vessel wall. Two of them will be procured by Europe; India, China, Japan and Korea will each contribute one. The Russian Federation and the Unites States will give support on specific technical items. Over the years, as they are impacted by the neutron flux, the ITER TBMs will progressively become activated. „However different each TBM concept may be, we can reasonably anticipate the amount of radwaste that will be produced within the Tritium Breeding Systems (TBSs) and that we will have to manage,” explains Magali Benchikhoune, the ITER Hot Cells & Radwaste Section Leader and Chair of the Test Blanket Program Working Group on TBS RadWaste Management (TBP-WG-RWM) that has been assigned to deal with this matter. Following three and a half months of videoconference meetings, the international players of the TBP-WG-RWM met for two days — and for the first time ‚in person’ — last week at ITER. The group comprised the ITER Members’ TBM designers, the ITER Organization TBM responsible officer, radwaste management, safety and transport specialists, legal experts from all the contributing Members and also representatives of Agence Iter France (as the interface between ITER and the host country, Czytaj dalej...

F4E appoints Henrik Bindslev as new Director

Henrik Bindslev was appointed last Friday 25 October as the new Director of the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy (Fusion for Energy). He is currently the Vice Dean for Research at Aarhus University, Faculty of Science and Technology. Stuart Ward, Chair of the Fusion for Energy Governing Board, took the opportunity to congratulate Henrik Bindslev on his new position and thanked all members of the Board for their collaboration taking together this important decision. "I am honoured to have been appointed Director of Fusion for Energy at a time that Europe’s contribution to ITER enters a decisive stage and rapid progress will be made on all fronts. It is the moment to engage actively with Europe’s industry and fusion community to honour our commitment to this prestigious international project" said Bindslev. Henrik Bindslev has been engaged in energy research for more than 20 years and has considerable experience in research management, both in Denmark and internationally. He is currently Vice Dean for research at Aarhus University, Faculty of Science and Technology and past Chair of the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA). He is a delegate to the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) and Chairman of ESFRI’s Energy Strategy Working Group. Previously, he was the Director of Risø DTU, the Danish National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy, managing 700 members of staff. He was educated at Denmark’s Technical University and completed a DPhil in Plasma Physics at the University of Oxford. He worked as a fusion researcher at different facilities including ten years at the Joint European Torus (JET), Europe’s biggest fusion research device, and has published more than 150 papers. The Director is appointed by F Czytaj dalej...

MIIFED 2013: First Announcement

From 2-4 December 2013 the Principality of Monaco will – for the second time – host the Monaco ITER International Fusion Energy Days (MIIFED 2013). This 3-day conference, held under the High Patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, will showcase the progress of the ITER project, including the status of construction and manufacturing. The event will also discuss the global socio-economic context of fusion energy, while looking at the future prospects for fusion energy.   For further details on the MIIFED 2013 and to download the leaflet click here. Articles summarizing the first edition of the MIIFED held in 2010 can be found here. Czytaj dalej...

DEMO: time for real proposals

ITER represents a huge step towards the realization of fusion energy.  But even once ITER has achieved the expected plasma performance, a lot remains to be done before we have electricity on our grid generated by fusion. Fusion researchers around the world are starting to seriously consider the next major step after ITER, known as DEMO, which should be a DEMOnstration power plant, producing electrical power and paving the way for the commercially viable fusion power stations that will follow. Many conceptual ideas for DEMO designs have been produced over the years, but now that ITER construction is well under way, real proposals for DEMO are being planned. Unlike ITER, most work on DEMO has been done without much international collaboration although Europe and Japan are cooperating on DEMO design work as part of the „Broader Approach”.  But to promote more international sharing of work on the path towards DEMO, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arranged a DEMO Programme Workshop that was held at the University of California, Los Angeles, on 15 — 19 October. Over 60 attendees came from fusion research institutes worldwide, including all the countries that are members of ITER. The workshop was organized around technical topics which are seen as major issues that must be addressed before DEMO can be realized:  power extraction, tritium breeding, plasma exhaust, and magnetic configurations.  There were also general talks presenting the status of programmes towards DEMO in some of the countries represented. There are striking differences between the ideas for the plant in the views from different countries.  Concepts include tokamaks of various sizes and with varying degrees of advancement from the technology and physics of ITER. But DEMO could also be a stel Czytaj dalej...

Korea’s KEPCO signs network contract

In order to operate ITER, all the buildings and the equipment they contain must be connected up to communication networks. These networks transport data between the distributed plant systems and the central control systems (CODAC, Central Interlock System and Central Safety System). They have different characteristics depending on the classification, reliability, bandwidth and latency requirements. The network infrastructure comprises 75 km of mainly multi-core fibre optic cables and two central hubs connected to 24 active distribution centres, with close to 600 local network access points distributed throughout the ITER site. Over the next seven years, thousands of plant system controllers and central computers will be connected to these network access points. An important step in implementing the ITER network infrastructure was taken on October 24 when the detailed design contract was signed with the Korean company KEPCO Engineering &Construction. This contract will deliver a build-to-print design by the end of 2013. The actual installation will start in 2014 so as to receive the first plant systems in late 2014, and will continue throughout the civil construction phase. Czytaj dalej...

Region will easily absorb peak workforce

Beginning in the first quarter of 2013, the number of construction workers on the ITER site will rise sharply, passing the 1,000 mark in less than six months to stabilise at about 2,600-2,800 in 2015 before finally declining in 2016. By late 2014, construction personnel will be joined by specialists in charge of assembling the machine. They will be 1,000 by mid-2016 and close to 1,600 throughout late 2018. From late 2015 to late 2016, these two combined workforces will lead to a peak of more than 3,500 workers on the ITER site, not counting the present ITER staff and contractors which amounts to approximately 1,000 and will remain stable throughout the coming years. Projections from both Agence Iter France and the French regional authorities indicate that accommodation for some 1,500 to 2,000 workers arriving in the region will have to be found during this peak period. These figures were announced last Friday 19 October at a meeting organized by the Commission Locale d’Information (CLI) in Vinon-sur-Verdon. The CLI acts as an official interface between ITER Organization (nuclear operator of the ITER facility) and the local population, which means that anything the public feels it should know falls under its jurisdiction. Housing 1,500 to 2,000 workers close enough to ITER so that commuting does not exceed 30 minutes either way is definitely an issue that concerns the local population and authorities — the housing market in the defined area is rather tense, with an estimated rental stock that does not exceed 300 to 500 units. This is no new preoccupation for the French authorities and local mayors: the first meetings on the subject were organized some 17 years ago, when Cadarache was already preparing its bid to host ITER. More recently, Agence Iter France drew up an inventory of „potential Czytaj dalej...

ASDEX Upgrade breaks record for power exhaust

A world record in heating power, in relation to the size of the device, has been achieved by the ASDEX Upgrade fusion device at Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics (IPP) in Garching: This was made possible by a sophisticated control system. For the first time world-wide, a fast feedback control facility ensures, on the one hand, that the millions of degrees hot high-power plasmas needed are produced and, on the other, that the wall of the plasma vessel is not overloaded, this being an important result on the way to a fusion power plant. […] The hitherto unattained heating power of 14 megawatts per metre with respect to the radius of the device was achieved without overloading the divertor plates. Read more here Czytaj dalej...

First Russian TF Conductors shipped to Europe

Russia makes progress with the well-timed procurement of the future facility’s components to the ITER Organization. On 9 October 2012, two qualified unit lengths of Toroidal Field Conductors for the ITER magnetic system were shipped from Kurchatov Institute, in Moscow, to the customs office for their subsequent transportation to Europe. These were the copper dummy and the 100-metre qualification conductor, Russia’s first procurement of the Toroidal Field Coils Conductor. The conductor lengths, manufactured at the Open Joint-Stock Company All-Russian R&D Project-Design and Technological Institute of Cable Industry (OJSC VNIIKP) were delivered from the National Research Centre „Kurchatov Institute”, where they had previously undergone vacuum tests involving special equipment. The next shipment of Toroidal Field Conductors is planned to take place in compliance with the schedule. Click here to view a video of the operation. Czytaj dalej...

Tore Supra ready to go WEST

On the other side of the CEA fence, in Cadarache, sits a large tokamak which played an important role in the definition of ITER. Tore Supra, a CEA-Euratom device which began operating in 1988, was the first tokamak to successfully implement superconducting magnets and actively-cooled plasma-facing components. Over the past twenty-four years, Tore Supra has explored the physics of long-duration plasma pulses, reaching a record of 6.5 minutes in December 2003. In 2000-2002, Tore Supra was equipped with a new carbon-carbon fibre (CFC) „limiter” — the equivalent of the divertor in ITER — capable of withstanding an ITER-relevant heat load of 10 MW per square metre. This project, named CIEL for Composants Internes Et Limiteurs, demonstrated that, while CFC performs very well in terms of power handling and compatibility with the plasma, its use results in substantial erosion caused by the physico-chemical reactions between the carbon of the limiter and the hydrogen (deuterium) in the plasma. Further experiments in JET have confirmed these observations. Now, there are not many options when it comes to choosing the material of a divertor. Fifty years of experience in tokamak technology have narrowed them to two: it’s either CFC or tungsten, their respective advantages or disadvantages depending on the plasma regimes they are exposed to. (More here). In ITER, it was originally planned to begin operations with a CFC divertor and replace it with a tungsten one before the start of nuclear operation (deuterium + tritium) in 2026. After years of discussions, panels and reviews, a new plan was established and ITER is now considering doing without the first-phase CFC divertor. Indeed, substantial cost reductions would be achieved by installing a tungsten divertor right from the start and o Czytaj dalej...

Reflecting on San Diego

A large gathering of fusion scientists such as the 24th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference held in San Diego on 8 — 13 October, offers a unique vantage point to assess the progress of fusion research worldwide. The 400 papers and posters that were presented throughout the week — some 70 being ITER-related — clearly demonstrated that, in many critical areas, researchers are reaching a much better understanding of the phenomena that control plasma behaviour — and we all know that this fundamental knowledge is essential to the success of our project and, beyond, to the future of fusion energy. One of the highlights of the meeting was the presentation of JET’s results: now equipped with an ITER-like wall, JET, together with ASDEX Upgrade, is answering critical questions on how tungsten would affect plasma performance in  ITER. The results on fuel retention on JET are encouraging and we are awaiting further results from JET on how to optimize plasma performance. The synergy between exploratory experiments on ASDEX Upgrade and follow-up experiments on JET has been valuable.  This has implications for the role of satellite experiments in the member states when ITER comes into operation.  The superconducting tokamak facilities, EAST, KSTAR and JT-60SA, clearly see how they could contribute to ITER. It was also pleasing to hear that the SST-1 tokamak at IPR has been reassembled and that commissioning of the superconducting magnets is underway. We were all very interested in the new data on disruptions and runaway electrons that the teams working at JET, Alcator C-Mod,  DIII-D and T-10, as well as other machines, have accumulated. Innovative techniques are being developed to minimize the impact of the runaway beams on the plasma-facing materials on DIII-D, which is good news for our comm Czytaj dalej...

Room with two views

The Council Room is one of the most striking features of the ITER Headquarters Building. Located on the 5th floor of the building and opening onto a terrace to the northwest, it is the only room in the building to offer both a platform and a countryside view. Using a template of the large oval table that will be the room’s centrepiece, workers were busy last week installing video and communication networks. ITER Council 11 is scheduled in less than six weeks… Czytaj dalej...

How to assemble ITER’s backbone

Although it may appear as a faraway activity, the assembly of the ITER Central Solenoid (CS), the backbone of the machine’s magnetic system, and its installation inside the tokamak were discussed at two Preliminary Design Review meetings held in Cadarache last week. The US Domestic Agency (US-DA) is responsible for the construction of the 6 CS modules plus one spare, and for the associated pre-compression structure. Due to its large size, the CS will not be delivered by the USDA as a single piece and thus needs to be assembled on the ITER site in Cadarache. The US partner is in charge of the design, procurement and delivery of the special assembly tools that are necessary to assemble the 6 modules with the pre-compression structure and the current lead extensions. The assembly itself will be carried out by the ITER Organization. Once assembled, the 17metre-high CS will be lifted and transported to the tokamak where it will be lowered into its 4.4-metre diameter pit with a clearance of 42 mm. Both reviews, assembly tooling and installation, were chaired by Michel Huguet, former Director of the ITER Naka site during the Engineering Design Activities (EDA) phase of the project. Most of the presentations were delivered by Mike Cole and Robert Hussung, both staff members of the US-DA, leading the development for the special tools. These include: an assembly platform where the modules will be stacked; a lifting device to handle the module and to stack them on top of each other with millimetre-accuracy; a rotating fixture to turn over the three lower modules; a man lift to allow performance of operations inside the inner bore of the modules; a drill guide fixture to allow drilling holes in the interface between modules in order to insert shear pins preventing relative displacement between modules; a lead ext Czytaj dalej...

Toroidal Field coils manufacturing gains momentum

Ever since Dr Heike Kamerlingh Onnes walked the pace of superconductivity back in 1911, there have always been scientists endeavouring to exploit its tremendous properties through powerful;  high magnetic field magnets. These endeavours are turning into a reality at ITER, as the largest and most powerful superconductive magnets ever designed, with an individual stored energy of 2.2 Gigajoules (GJ), are being manufactured. The Toroidal Field Coils is the ITER magnet system responsible for confining the plasma inside the Tokamak vacuum vessel, using Cable-In-Conduit niobium-tin-based conductor technology. Procurement for the 19 Toroidal Field Coils (TFCs) is shared between the Japanese Domestic Agency (JA-DA), and the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy(EU-DA). Following the last call for tender in August 2012, the first of a series of procurement contracts of the nine Japanese TF coils has been awarded to Mitsubishi Heavy Industry as a main contractor, with Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO), as a sub-contractor — a well-known stakeholder in superconducting magnet world. _To_39_Tx_TF Coils are encased in large stainless steel structures. The nineteen encasing stainless steel coil structures (TFCS) procurement is the responsibility of the Japanese Domestic Agency (JA-DA) who recently placed two contracts respectively for First of Series European TFCS with Hyundai Heavy industry  in Korea and for Japanese TFCS with Mitsubishi Heavy Industry in Japan. With a total weight of 3400 tons, the „superstructure” of TF coils is pushing the limits of manufacturability. Millimetric tolerances require state-of-the-art welding techniques (plate thickness on 316LN is up to 180 mm) to reach high quality requirements. As a result it is necessary to use specialists in heavy industry. Fr Czytaj dalej...

"The beginning of a new era"

Upon his arrival at ITER, on Thursday 11 October, ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima was greeted by the assembled staff at the entrance of the new Headquarters Building. DG Motojima, who was accompanied by his wife Kaoru, had been attending the 24th Fusion Energy Conference in San Diego (USA) and this was his first official contact with the new building. Having missed the thrill of the move on Monday, the ITER Director-General was eager to discover his new office and the spectacular worksite view it commands. Rather than the bucolic view of the rolling hills of Haute-Provence, he had chosen the „platform side” in order to follow the daily progress of construction. One could have stayed a long time just enjoying the view and imagining the huge Tokamak Complex rising 55 metres high, but the ITER machine was rolling and a Project Board Meeting (PBM) — the first to be held in the new building — was scheduled to begin. Addressing the PBM participants and the personnel who had briefly joined them for the occasion, DG Motojima stressed the symbolic importance of the moment. „What we are witnessing today,” he said, „is the beginning of a new era. ITER is now ‚at home’ in this new building and I wish to express my appreciation to all who have made this moment possible: France and Europe, who have contributed this building to the ITER project, and also our colleagues in Building and Site Infrastructure (BSI) and in IT, who have successfully managed the moving operations and will continue to do so in the weeks to come.” ITER Deputy Director-General Rem Haange and Head of the Directorate for General Administration Jiu Jin, also addressed the audience, conveying the same message: as staff and machine will soon stand face to face, moving into the new Headquarters building is Czytaj dalej...

New JET results tick all the boxes for ITER

Latest results from the Joint European Torus (JET) fusion device are giving researchers increasing confidence in prospects for the next-generation ITER project, the international experiment that is expected to pave the way for commercial fusion power plants. Operation with a new lining inside JET has demonstrated the suitability of materials for the much larger and more powerful ITER device. JET, Europe’s premier magnetic confinement fusion facility, based at Culham, UK, has completed eleven months of tests to simulate the environment inside ITER and to prototype key components. For this purpose JET has been successfully transformed into a ‚mini-ITER’ with a wall made of the same materials — beryllium and tungsten — that ITER plans to use. Read more on the EFDA website. Czytaj dalej...

Fun physics at National Science Festival

The annual Science Festival (Fête de la Science) was established in 1991 on the initiative of the then-Minister of Research who considered it important to „take the scientists out of the Ivory Towers of their laboratories and institutions” and engage in a dialogue with the general public. Twenty-one years later, the Fête de la Science has become a national event that involves millions of participants (close to 100,000 last year in the PACA region only). Throughout the country, tent villages (Villages des Sciences) are set up in public squares  where scientists perform „Fun Physics” experiments; large scientific projects present their progress in an entertaining and easily accessible fashion; conferences and exhibits are organized in towns and villages, all aiming to communicate the thrill and excitement of scientific research. As they did last year in Marseille, personnel from CEA Research Institute for Magnetic Fusion (IRFM), Iter France and the ITER Organization participated in the event (this year in Aix-en-Provence), presented the challenges of harnessing fusion energy and answered the many questions of an ever-curious and often fascinated public. Czytaj dalej...

1,000 researchers, 400 reports on fusion progress

Nearly 1,000 of the world’s preeminent fusion researchers from 45 countries gathered last week in San Diego to discuss the latest advances in fusion energy. The 24th International Atomic Energy Agency Fusion Energy Conference, organized by the IAEA in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) and General Atomics, aims to "provide a forum for the discussion of key physics and technology issues as well as innovative concepts of direct relevance to fusion as a source of nuclear energy.” Those in attendance in San Diego included Nobel Prize-winning physicist Burton Richter, Physicist Steven Cowley, CEO of the United Kingdom’s Atomic Energy Authority; Frances Chen, a plasma physicist and UCLA professor emeritus who wrote the book „An Indispensable Truth: How Fusion Power Can Save the Planet”, and keynote speaker William Brinkman, Director of the Office of Science in the U.S. DoE. ITER Director-General Motojima gave the overview talk in the opening scientific session on Monday 8 October and ITER played centre stage throughout the conference, with more than 20 members of staff present providing as many scientific papers and posters (the ITER Domestic Agencies, for their part, contributed 54 papers to the conference). While acknowledging the difficulties in the implementation of the project which the ITER Organization and Domestic Agencies are tackling, delegates to the conference welcomed the significant technical progress in ITER design and construction activities which were reported in the ITER presentations. At a "Town Meeting" on the prospects for Burning Plasma Studies at ITER that was, arranged by the local organizers of the conference, presentations by Rich Hawryluk and David Campbell were particularly well received. Overall, the atmosphere was Czytaj dalej...

Russian TF conductor successfully tested in SULTAN

Having recently celebrated its fifth anniversary, the ITER Project has moved steadily from negotiations to real manufacturing, and from dummy testing to production of the tokamak’s construction elements. One of the first systems to be manufactured in line with the ITER Organization (IO) Integrated Schedule Plan is the superconductor for the ITER magnet system. Russia has demonstrated high stability and reliability during this process, fulfilling all its obligations in time. This has not only been acknowledged by the IO experts, but also by the international superconductor community. The Russian Toroidal Field (TF) conductor with bronze route strands  was tested in the SULTAN facility by Centre de Recherches en Physique des Plasmas- Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (CRPP-EPFL) in late September — early October 2012. This is the fourth Russian sample to be tested in SULTAN but the first sample containing two sections of conductor made of real production length which will be used to manufacture real TF coils for the machine. The left section of the conductor was cut from side Double Pancake  pre-production conductor (Phase III) while the right section was made from first production (Phase IV) regular Double Pancake. The results obtained with the the TFRF4 (Toroidal Field Russian Federation # 4) sample show very good agreement with results of the two last samples TFRF2 and TFRF3, which demonstrated the relatively good stability of the conductor during electromagnetic cycling, as well as its good durability during the warm-up/cool-down procedure. Testing the TFRF4 sample was a very important milestone which completed the pre-production phase of the TF conductor procurement process. This means we can now proceed to the final production stage. At the same time, it opens the wa Czytaj dalej...