French Authorities

Watching from above

Anyone travelling in France on vacation or long weekends has heard of Bison futé, a name inspired by American Indian culture that translates as „Cunning Buffalo.” Bison futé is the national gendarmerie-run service that provides real-time information on traffic conditions, road safety and driving restrictions in France. Last week, the Bison futé command centre for the southeast quarter of French territory, located in Marseille, was busy with a very special mission: monitoring the ITER test convoy as it slowing progressed along the ITER Itinerary. Every night, as the convoy was readied for yet another leg of the journey to the ITER site, a group of five to six people representing the French authorities (Préfecture), the gendarmerie forces and Agence Iter France prepared for another sleepless night. As they sat in front of an array of computer screens and radio equipment, the members of this small „ITER cell” had a unique and privileged view on the ongoing operation, some 60 kilometres away. „Actually, we are the only ones who have a global vision,” says Colonel Geneau of the gendarmerie. „We are connected by radio and telephone with all parties involved. Geolocalization devices on the convoy vehicles provide us with real-time information on convoy progression and we even have infrared images from a helicopter hovering high above the convoy…” Watching the video stream from the helicopter is particularly impressive: it’s like viewing the negative of a black-and-white movie, where people appear as greyish silhouettes and the hot engines of the trailer as intense white. (The helicopter’s usual routine is to track offenders or missing persons). In case of an incident, the ITER cell’s „global view” would enable Colonel Genea Czytaj dalej...

Successful test of the ITER Itinerary

The ITER Itinerary test convoy, featuring an 800-metric-ton trailer replicating the weight and dimensions of ITER’s most exceptional loads, has successfully completed its four-night journey, arriving at the ITER construction site at 4:45 a.m. on Friday 20 September. The 46-metre-long trailer, with its dummy load of 360 concrete blocks, was escorted by a large squadron of police officers and followed by support vehicles and technical personnel. It had completed the journey from Berre L’Etang near the Mediterranean Sea to the ITER site over four nights. Large-scale public works were carried out by France as Host to the ITER Project along the 104 kilometres of the ITER Itinerary between 2008 and 2011 to widen roads, replace or reinforce bridges and modify intersections in preparation for the exceptional size and weight of some of the ITER components. The test campaign was conceived to monitor key points along the Itinerary. Measurements collected as the convoy passed over bridges and negotiated its way through towns and intersections will be carefully analyzed in the weeks to come. But already, the Itinerary has demonstrated its conformity with the rigorous technical specifications of ITER’s most exceptional loads. Organized by Agence Iter France in close collaboration with French authorities; implemented by ITER’s global logistics service provider DAHER; and financed by the European Domestic Agency for ITER, Fusion for Energy, the test mockup simultaneously replicates the largest and the heaviest of the actual loads that will be transported for ITER: 600 metric tons (plus the 185-metric-ton trailer), 33 metres long, 9 metres wide and 10 metres tall. For the ITER Organization—responsible for the construction and operation of ITER—the successful arrival of the Itinerary test convo Czytaj dalej...

Adressing concerns, providing clarifications

The complexity of ITER—not only of its science and technology but also of its governance and legal framework—leaves room for many a misunderstanding. This was amply demonstrated last Wednesday 3 July during the public meeting that the Local Commission for Information (CLI) had organized in the neighbouring village of Vinon-sur-Verdon. The CLI is the official citizens’ watchdog group that acts as an interface between the ITER Organization and the local population. Anything that the public feels it should know falls under the CLI’s jurisdiction. And there are many things that, quite legitimately, the public wants to know about ITER. Since it was established two and half years ago, the CLI has focused on nuclear safety issues, which has led to a fruitful dialogue between the 42 CLI members and ITER’s Department of Safety, Quality & Security. Lately, the focus has shifted from nuclear safety to the economic and social impact of the ITER project. And at last Wednesday’s public meeting in Vinon, questions about the planned arrival of some 3,000 workers on the ITER worksite dominated the (heated) debate. Where will the workers come from? What accommodations have been prepared for them? How will they commute to the ITER worksite? Certain groups have long voiced concern over the legal status of the ITER  workers. Recently, too, in blogs and articles published in France, the worry has been expressed that they will be underpaid and deprived of social protection. As was made clear by the presentations given by the ITER Organization, Agence Iter France, Vinci (which leads the consortium that will build the Tokamak Complex) and representatives of the French authorities, these worries and concerns are totally unfounded. All workers on the ITER site, whatever their national 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...

One more step towards the final green light

On 29 July, a new milestone was reached in the licensing process of ITER. A little more than one month after being notified that our proposals on the Tokamak’s operational conditions and design fulfilled the French safety requirements, we have now received from the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN)  the draft of the Décret d’Autorisation de Création — the final green light from the French Authorities to create our installation. We are currently analyzing this draft and we will soon send back our comments to ASN. Then, a discussion will be organized with a college of ASN experts and at long last the final decree will be published — hopefully before the end of the year. This is a lengthy, complex, demanding — sometimes frustrating… — process. But I must say it is also a very good process. ITER is the first fusion installation that will receive a full nuclear licence. And this is very important, not only for us here at ITER but for the whole worldwide fusion community. We have always claimed that fusion is safe and in the past two years, we went through an exceptionally strict and challenging process to demonstrate that it is indeed. Now an independent body of experts, with a deserved reputation for being among the „toughest” in the world, is in the process of validating our claim. And again, this is a first: no fusion installation, not even JET or TFTR which, at one point implemented deuterium + tritium fusion, went through this process. Twenty-seven years have passed since President Reagan and Secretary Gorbatchev met in Geneva and laid the ground for the project of an international experimental fusion reactor „for the benefit of all mankind”. We all feel a deep satisfaction in seeing these 27 years of hard work and dedication now converging into a Czytaj dalej...

Japanese Minister of Science and Education (MEXT) visits ITER site

On Saturday 28 July 2012, the Japanese Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Hirofumi Hirano, visited ITER on his way back from London where he had participated in the inauguration of the Olympic Games. The Minister was welcomed by the ITER Organization’s Director-General, Osamu Motojima, and met with Japanese staff working at the Organization. The Delegation visited the PF Coil Building, the foundations of the Tokamak and the new Headquarters building which is in its final stages of completion. Minister Hirano highlighted the „importance of the ITER project in the context of energy research” and stressed the fact that „this concern is shared by all countries in the world, not just by Japanese people”. In an interview with the local newspaper La Provence, the Minister was quoted as saying that in the global quest for energy security fusion certainly was „one of the major aims to pursue”. It is of utmost importance, he added, „that every ITER Member share  a common commitment to the project. This strong determination will allow ITER to keep its schedule and produce First Plasma in 2020.” Minister Hirano extended his thanks and appreciation to the French authorities and to CEA for activally contributing to the implementation of the ITER project and, also, for their support „at the time of the events in Fukushima.” Addressing the Minister, CEA-Cadarache Director Maurice Mazière pointed out „the excellent relations that existed between Japan and France in the area of energy research, and particularly that of fusion.” M. Mazière added that France was „very glad to see the personal interest taken by Minister Hirano in the ITER project.” „This was a very importa Czytaj dalej...

Bringing ITER components to Cadarache

Planning has begun for the complex logistics task of bringing ITER components from factories on three continents to the ITER site in Cadarache. Following the selection of the European company DAHER as Logistics Service Provider (LSP) in February, a two-person DAHER team is now on site to pilot the initial planning phase of the LSP contract. Laurence Prudhomme, operations manager, and Barry Paul, planning manager, are working closely with the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies to collect the many thousands of pieces of information that will allow the DAHER „control room” to plan for—and closely follow—the delivery of ITER components according to the ITER project overall schedule. „The first phase of our mission is fact finding,” explains Laurence. „We need to gather detailed information on manufacturing schedules and on the specificities of each load to be transported. We need to look into ship availability, pairing the needs of each load (i.e., heavy lift) with the capacity of each vessel.” Working backwards from the dates the components need to be on site, DAHER will plan all the steps in the transport process—from arranging the specific point of contact where it will take over responsibility for each load, to final delivery. As LSP provider, DAHER is in charge of insurance, customs clearance, interim storage before delivery, handling and unloading on site. During the eighteen months of the planning phase, DAHER will be initiating import customs procedures with the French authorities, and—via its agencies and local partners—export procedures at each manufacturing location. DAHER IT engineers are currently adapting the company’s logistics and industrial flow management tool, DAgeSCOPE_SUPERSCRIPT_TM_/SUPERSCRIPT_ to fit the specificities of Czytaj dalej...

Bringing ITER components to Cadarache

Planning has begun for the complex logistics task of bringing ITER components from factories on three continents to the ITER site in Cadarache. Following the selection of the European company DAHER as Logistics Service Provider (LSP) in February, a two-person DAHER team is now on site to pilot the initial planning phase of the LSP contract. Laurence Prudhomme, operations manager, and Barry Paul, planning manager, are working closely with the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies to collect the many thousands of pieces of information that will allow the DAHER „control room” to plan for—and closely follow—the delivery of ITER components according to the ITER project overall schedule. „The first phase of our mission is fact finding,” explains Laurence. „We need to gather detailed information on manufacturing schedules and on the specificities of each load to be transported. We need to look into ship availability, pairing the needs of each load (i.e., heavy lift) with the capacity of each vessel.” Working backwards from the dates the components need to be on site, DAHER will plan all the steps in the transport process—from arranging the specific point of contact where it will take over responsibility for each load, to final delivery. As LSP provider, DAHER is in charge of insurance, customs clearance, interim storage before delivery, handling and unloading on site. During the eighteen months of the planning phase, DAHER will be initiating import customs procedures with the French authorities, and—via its agencies and local partners—export procedures at each manufacturing location. DAHER IT engineers are currently adapting the company’s logistics and industrial flow management tool, DAgeSCOPE_SUPERSCRIPT_TM_/SUPERSCRIPT_ to fit the specificities of Czytaj dalej...