Management Advisory Committee

A fruitful week for signatures

The presence of representatives from the ITER Members for meetings of the Management Advisory Committee last week was also the occasion to advance the ITER Organization’s procurement agenda: during „MAC week” Procurement Arrangements were successfully finalized with the United States, China and Korea. In order to conclude the Procurement Arrangement for Standard Components, Vacuum Auxiliary Systems with the United States, a „massive” amount of work was accomplished by the vacuum team comprising ten people from the ITER Organization and five from the US Domestic Agency, according to ITER Vacuum Section Leader Robert Pearce. This Procurement Arrangement—the first to be signed with the US Domestic Agency this year—covers the manufacturing of several hundred pumps of different sizes and technologies, valves, supporting structures and connections. „It is massive in terms of complexity—it is a highly distributed system that interfaces with about every part of the machine,” says Pearce. „And it is also massive due to the sheer number of individual components that have to be produced, assembled, tested and delivered.” This brings to 85 the number of Procurement Arrangements signed by the ITER Organization to date out of a total of 140 planned work packages, not including about 45 Complementary Diagnostic Procurement Arrangements. Each Procurement Arrangement represents the transfer of work from the ITER Organization to the Domestic Agencies. Three Complementary Diagnostic Procurement Arrangements were signed last week, two with the Chinese Domestic Agency and one with the Korean Domestic Agency. China will supply equatorial port number 12 and a radial X-ray camera diagnostic for monitoring x-ray emission on ITER. Korea will supply upper port number 18 Czytaj dalej...

"Cooperation will make this project successful"

Following closely on the heels of the Science and Technology Advisory Committee, STAC, which convened at ITER Headquarters from 14-16 May, the ITER Council’s management advisory body, the Management Advisory Committee, MAC, met from 21 to 23 May to examine strategic management issues such as schedule, cost and the implementation of plans for installation and assembly, testing and commissioning. Close to fifty experts from the seven ITER Members were present in the Council Chamber of the Headquarters Building to address the charges from the last ITER Council (IC-11, November 2012) as well as the additional charges that resulted from the special meeting of the MAC in March. As at the last meeting, the schedule remained the focus of discussion. MAC recognized the efforts of the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies that have resulted in improvement, particularly on the critical systems and components, and made further suggestions. In the all-hands meeting that followed the closing session of the MAC, the ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima told the hundreds of staff members assembled, „At the conclusion of three days of discussion, I can tell you that the MAC was a productive one for us. We can draw up an action plan today, based on the recommendations from the MAC experts. As a Unique ITER Team we have made intense efforts to improve schedule performance and to implement the related corrective measures. We can and will keep this positive schedule trend.” In break-out sessions over the course of the three days, MAC Chair Ranjay Sharan, from India, had time to comment: „Issue-based solutions are being found, one after another. The most important thing is that collaboration has increased and the Unique ITER Team (UIT) is working. We may be only in the initial stages … the UIT h Czytaj dalej...

Rich Hawryluk reflects on his years at ITER

What is it like to be at the centre of ITER, the huge international fusion experiment that is under construction in France? „It’s both exciting and challenging,” said physicist Rich Hawryluk, who recently returned to the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) in the US after a two-year stint as deputy director-general for the Administration Department of ITER. „It’s exciting in the scope and scale of this effort, and challenging in bringing such a large project to completion.” Hawryluk had many diverse responsibilities at ITER. He oversaw functions ranging from human resources to finance and budgeting to procurement and information technology. „A project this large is almost a continuous cycle of oversight and reviews,” said Hawryluk. „You’re essentially going from one major review to another every few months, and this kept us extremely busy.” Hawryluk arrived at ITER in April 2011, a year after construction of the ITER complex began on a 180-hectare site in 2010. Contracts now are being prepared and awarded to assemble the six-storey-tall fusion facility, or Tokamak Building, that will be at the heart of the complex. Hawryluk is no stranger to exhaustive oversight duties. He served as head of PPPL’s Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor experiment from 1991 to 1997 and as deputy director of PPPL from 1997 to 2008. He also was a member of the US delegation to the ITER Management Advisory Committee, which reports to the ITER Council. „But there’s a big difference between being an outsider on the advisory committee and dealing with day-to-day issues,” he said. „Getting immersed in and resolving the many issues that we had talked about was a major change.” Read more on the PPPL website. Czytaj dalej...

Management Advisory Committee meets in Barcelona

For the second time in its history, the ITER Council Management Advisory Committee (MAC) convened for an extraordinary session in order to assess the status of the ITER project schedule and the implementation of corrective actions. The meeting took place from 18-19 March at the headquarters of the European Domestic Agency in Barcelona in the attendance of high-level representatives of the ITER Organization and seven ITER Members. Since the last special MAC meeting held in August 2012, the ITER Organization has worked closely with Domestic Agencies to complete the integration of Detailed Work Schedules (DWS)—detailed schedules that exist for every component or system. The IO and DAs completed the integration of the remaining DWS, namely Main Vacuum Vessel, IC Antenna, PF Coils and TF Structure, which will allow for monitoring of the schedule. MAC requested that the Unique ITER Team continue to make significant efforts to take action focusing on super-critical milestones and to take all possible measures to keep to the Baseline schedule. The ITER Organization and Domestic Agencies are committed to doing their best to implement this request. Czytaj dalej...

From concept to concrete reality

  The Unique ITER Team (UIT), introduced six months ago by ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima following discussions with the ITER Members, started off with a symbolic seating arrangement: at last August’s Special Management Advisory Committee (MAC) meeting, the heads of the seven ITER Domestic Agencies sat with ITER Organization management and not, as had been customary, with the MAC members. Only a small change in protocol, perhaps, but one conveying a much larger meaning: the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies share the same goal, and only an integrated team resolutely pulling in the same direction can address the common challenge of schedule recovery. As the heads of the seven Domestic Agencies and their closest collaborators convened for five days last week at ITER, participating in more than 75 meetings and countless open and candid discussions and exchanges, it was obvious that the Unique ITER Team had evolved from „concept” into a very concrete reality, rich in content and strong in personality. Most striking was the atmosphere of these meetings and discussions—something akin to the spirit of a sports team or the enthusiasm of a group of explorers setting out for an exciting voyage. „In coordinating an international project as large and as complex as ITER, communication is essential,” says Ned Sauthoff, the head of the US Domestic Agency. „And true communication requires more than just exchanging through 2D video. In agreement, as in disagreement, an in-person meeting gives you a much better sense of the other person’s reaction. It improves the interpersonal relationship and enables trust.” His European colleague, recently appointed F4E Director Henrik Bindslev, is of the same opinion. What is at stake beyond the agenda of each mee Czytaj dalej...

Corrective actions in place to accelerate construction

Last Wednesday, ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima called for an all-hands meeting in the Headquarters’ brand-new amphitheatre in order to brief the ITER Organization staff on the outcome of the recent meetings of the projects scientific and managerial advisory committees. To this memorable event, Director-General Motojima had invited both the present and former chairmen of the Management Advisory Committee, Ranjay Sharan and Bob Iotti. At the outset, the Director-General presented the conclusions of the 14th meeting of the project’s Management Advisory Committee (MAC) that had taken place on 29-31 October. The MAC had acknowledged the intensive work done by the ITER Organization in collaboration with the seven Domestic Agencies since the special MAC meeting held in August. Required schedule recovery actions have been taken and the collaboration between the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies has been intensified through the establishment of the Unique ITER Team. „However, the MAC recognized that further and intensive efforts are necessary,” MAC Chair Ranjay Sharan explained. „The variances will have to be minimized by parallel working approaches and innovative methods. The MAC will closely monitor these approaches.” „Yes, there are issues,” Iotti admitted, „but we are working closely together to resolve them.” Of great concern: the delays related to six super-critical items—the buildings, the vacuum vessel, the poloidal field coils, the toroidal field coils, the central solenoid conductor and the cryostat. Two other essential issues were the focus of this 14th MAC meeting: the rules for further distribution of credits amongst the ITER Members as proposed in the „MAC-10 Guidelines,” and the proposal for a simplified assembly pla Czytaj dalej...

Corrective actions are now in place to accelerate ITER construction

Last Wednesday, ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima called for an all-hands meeting in the Headquarters’ brand-new amphitheatre in order to brief the ITER Organization staff on the outcome of the recent meetings of the projects scientific and managerial advisory committees. To this memorable event, Director-General Motojima had invited both the present and former chairmen of the Management Advisory Committee, Ranjay Sharan and Bob Iotti. At the outset, the Director-General presented the conclusions of the 14th meeting of the project’s Management Advisory Committee (MAC) that had taken place on 29-31 October. The MAC had acknowledged the intensive work done by the ITER Organization in collaboration with the seven Domestic Agencies since the special MAC meeting held in August. Required schedule recovery actions have been taken and the collaboration between the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies has been intensified through the establishment of the Unique ITER Team. „However, the MAC recognized that further and intensive efforts are necessary,” MAC Chair Ranjay Sharan explained. „The variances will have to be minimized by parallel working approaches and innovative methods. The MAC will closely monitor these approaches.” „Yes, there are issues,” Iotti admitted, „but we are working closely together to resolve them.” Of great concern: the delays related to six super-critical items—the buildings, the vacuum vessel, the poloidal field coils, the toroidal field coils, the central solenoid conductor and the cryostat. Two other essential issues were the focus of this 14th MAC meeting: the rules for further distribution of credits amongst the ITER Members as proposed in the „MAC-10 Guidelines,” and the proposal for a simplified assembly pla Czytaj dalej...

"Let’s go toward success together!"

Everything was „special” last week as the ITER Management Advisory Committee (MAC) met for two days in Cadarache in response to the request formulated by the ITER Council last June at its 10th meeting in Washington D.C. This Special MAC Meeting, with a limited number of participants, aimed at monitoring the implementation of the ITER schedule recovery plans and at reviewing the actions already implemented (or to be implemented in the near future) by the ITER Organization. Also special was the fact that the Heads of the seven Domestic Agencies, or their representatives, instead of being seated amongst the MAC members as they usually are at MAC meetings, were seated amongst the ITER Organization management. This small change in seating arrangements conveyed a strong meaning: DA Heads and IO management now form what DG Motojima terms the „Unique ITER Team„, an integrated body pursuing a common goal and resolutely pulling in the same direction. Considering the importance of the issues discussed, the IO management also decided to convene an All-Staff meeting in the afternoon following the conclusion of the MAC special session, and asked both MAC Chair Ranjay Sharan (India) and ITER Council Vice Chair Edmund Synakowski (US) to address the assembled ITER personnel. Speaking to a packed audience, Ranjay Sharan, whom DG Motojima introduced as „one of the first MAC members” and one who had seen „all the ups and downs of the project since 2007”, said that the present moment was definitely more „up” than „down”. „MAC”, he said „is very pleased to see that recovery actions are now in place […] The issues, constraints and restraints are now identified and I have no doubt you will solve them […] In the past three months, Czytaj dalej...

The next six months will be crucial

There are good reasons why the European Union supports, and will continue to support, ITER. ITER is a major international project. It opens long-term scientific, technological and industrial opportunities, and it is in line with the European energy policy defined in the Energy Roadmap 2050 that calls for a low-carbon, competitive economy by 2050 and a 60 percent reduction of CO2 emissions in the power sector by 2030. Due to the many challenges of fusion energy—just look at the size of the investment in ITER—this is a project that could only be attempted at an international level. However, let’s always remember that fusion technology remains in competition with other technological approaches for energy generation. We therefore need to implement and stop losing time. We must bear in mind that we have been entrusted with public funds, which gives us an enormous responsibility towards the citizens within the ITER Members. Since the European Union has agreed to earmark funds for ITER through 2020 at the level of EUR 6.6 billion (of which EUR 2.3 billion is for 2012-2013), we have concerns regarding the schedule slippages that have occurred over the past several months. Slippages do not contribute to the positive image of the project; they also risk undermining the political support for ITER if they are not corrected soon. The next six months will therefore be crucial. Corrective actions on the schedule slippages, as they were proposed by the management of the ITER Organization during this week’s meeting of the Management Advisory Committee (MAC), show the right approach. There is a consensus among all ITER Members on the need to preserve the momentum of the project. It is also crucial to soon complete the design of the vacuum vessel and also to deliver the final set of design data for th Czytaj dalej...

The next six months will be crucial

There are good reasons why the European Union supports, and will continue to support, ITER. ITER is a major international project. It opens long-term scientific, technological and industrial opportunities, and it is in line with the European energy policy defined in the Energy Roadmap 2050 that calls for a low-carbon, competitive economy by 2050 and a 60 percent reduction of CO2 emissions in the power sector by 2030. Due to the many challenges of fusion energy—just look at the size of the investment in ITER—this is a project that could only be attempted at an international level. However, let’s always remember that fusion technology remains in competition with other technological approaches for energy generation. We therefore need to implement and stop losing time. We must bear in mind that we have been entrusted with public funds, which gives us an enormous responsibility towards the citizens within the ITER Members. Since the European Union has agreed to earmark funds for ITER through 2020 at the level of EUR 6.6 billion (of which EUR 2.3 billion is for 2012-2013), we have concerns regarding the schedule slippages that have occurred over the past several months. Slippages do not contribute to the positive image of the project; they also risk undermining the political support for ITER if they are not corrected soon. The next six months will therefore be crucial. Corrective actions on the schedule slippages, as they were proposed by the management of the ITER Organization during this week’s meeting of the Management Advisory Committee (MAC), show the right approach. There is a consensus among all ITER Members on the need to preserve the momentum of the project. It is also crucial to soon complete the design of the vacuum vessel and also to deliver the final set of design data for th Czytaj dalej...

Bringing fission to India and fusion to the world

Ranjay Sharan has a lot on his shoulders these days. A chief project engineer at the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL), he is a key player in bringing his country’s nuclear plant capacity from a present 4,780 MW to a projected 63,000 MW in the next 20 years. And as the newly appointed chairman of the Management Advisory Committee (MAC), he presides over an assembly of experts and delegates whose mission is to provide recommendations to the ITER Council. While chairing MAC is not a full-time occupation, Ranjay still has to fit two jobs into every work day. „I complete my office job at NPCIL at around 7:00 p.m., go home and have dinner, rest for a moment, and then go to work for ITER for some three to four hours,” he says. „I don’t need to sleep more than five hours.” A fission engineer who has participated in some of the largest nuclear projects in India, Ranjay was one the first MAC members. „Since the first MAC meeting in May 2007,” he says, „I’ve seen all the ups and downs of the project …” Ranjay brings to ITER his expertise in project management. In 2004 he was awarded the Indian Nuclear Society medal by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India for his management effort in the construction of reactors 3 and 4 of the Tarapur Atomic Power Station, presently the largest nuclear plant in the country. Works were completed eight months ahead of schedule and with a 15 percent cost saving. The secret for such an achievement? „When you control the schedule,” he explains, „you control the cost. And the best schedule is the one you build from scratch with all latest rational and realistic inputs, not the one that is only based on past experience. That’s when you can really save time. You also have to be Czytaj dalej...

75th Procurement Arrangement signed

An important step forward for the development of the 24MW electron cyclotron was achieved this past Thursday. During the 13th Management Advisory Committee meeting this week, the ITER Organization concluded its 75th Procurement Arrangement for the Electron Cyclotron High Voltage Power Supplies with the European Domestic Agency. The high voltage power supply forms the backbone of the electron cyclotron plant, providing up to 90 kV and 50A to each of the twenty-four 1MW microwave sources. The power supplies provide a high regulation of the applied voltages to actively control delivered power to the plasma based on the plasma requirements. The high regulation is based on the Pulse Step Modulation technique, which essentially stacks several smaller power supplies (or modules) in series. A rapid controller turns each module on and off to provide an accuracy of ±1 percent and modulation frequencies of up to 5kHz. The European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy will provide 8 of the 13 power supplies to be delivered to ITER; the remaining 5 power supplies will be procured by the Indian Domestic Agency. If all goes well, the Procurement Arrangement with India will be signed this summer. The first high voltage power supply is scheduled to arrive at the ITER site in late 2015. The ITER Organization has signed a total of 10 Procurement Arrangements in 2012: eight full Procurement Arrangements and two amendments. Czytaj dalej...