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Vacuum vessel | First segment completed in Korea

ma, 15/01/2018 - 16:26

The technically challenging fabrication of the ITER vacuum vessel is progressing in Korea, where Hyundai Heavy Industries has completed the first poloidal segment for sector #6. From manufacturing design and material procurement to cutting, forming, machining, welding, non-destructive examination, and final dimensional measurements—the industrial effort to forge the building blocks for ITER's double-walled steel plasma chamber is one of the most complex of the ITER Project.  

On 11 December 2017, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) completed dimensional checks on the inboard (poloidal) segment of vacuum vessel sector #6—the first-completed segment of the vacuum vessel construction program.
All inspection and test results demonstrated that safety requirements are fully satisfied and that the tolerances of the completed segment, measured at ± 4.0 millimetres, are well within the ITER requirement of ± 10.0 millimetres.
With this successful realization the ITER Project celebrates both an industrial and a programmatic milestone, as the first production unit is the result of a lengthy program to establish, qualify and implement manufacturing and test procedures for a one-of-a-kind component, and also respects the calendar of ITER Council milestones that has been established to track project progress.
"It was very challenging to reach this level of technical maturity and achievement," says Wooho Chung, the technical responsible officer for the vacuum vessel at ITER Korea. "Because the vacuum vessel will act as the first safety confinement barrier, all of our procedures and activities had to be qualified and approved by the Agreed Notified Body (a company authorized by the French Nuclear Regulator to assess conformity of components in the pressure equipment category, ESPN)."
Since signing a Procurement Arrangement with the ITER Organization in November 2008, teams in Korea have developed—and received authorization for—detailed manufacturing procedures for forming, welding, and non-destructive examination (especially ultra-sonic examination and remote visual examination).
"After successfully completing the manufacture of the first poloidal segment, we will now be able to move more smoothly on the basis of confirmed manufacturing processes and procedures," states Chung. "We know that we have still remaining challenges—such as the completion of the outboard segments for sector #6 as well as factory acceptance tests—but we are confident that we can achieve these steps this year."
The ITER doughnut-shaped vacuum vessel will be welded in the Tokamak Pit at ITER from nine steel sectors. Each 40° vacuum vessel sector is a double walled steel component weighing 500 tonnes and measuring 12 metre in height and 7 metres in width, with multiple port openings and in-wall shielding contained within its walls in the form of modular blocks.
Key to the good progress on the challenging procurement of the vacuum vessel, according to Chung, is very constructive and cooperative collaboration between the members of the Vacuum Vessel Project Team and industries.
Fabrication responsibility is shared by four ITER Domestic Agencies—Europe (five main vessel sectors); Korea (four main vessel sectors plus equatorial and lower ports); Russia (upper ports); and India (in-wall shielding)—plus the ITER Organization and a large number of industrial contractors. The Vacuum Vessel Project Team was created to make one team of these participants for promoting synergies, the sharing of experience, and the rapid resolution of fabrication issues.
Collaboration meetings among participants of the Vacuum Vessel Project Team are organized regularly; (please see the report of the latest meeting on the European Domestic Agency website). All vacuum vessel components are currently being manufactured with good quality assurance and quality control at various industrial locations worldwide.
With the results achieved for the first segment, Hyundai Heavy Industries has identified how tolerance control can be improved for the next segments through experience. The results are also undergoing detailed, integrated analysis at the ITER Organization Design & Construction Integration Division, taking into account all interfacing systems.
The Korean Domestic Agency plans to complete the first sector (#6) and start the mass production of all remaining sectors/ports in 2018.

First toroidal field coil structure | Submillimetric tolerances achieved

ma, 08/01/2018 - 18:05


In major news for the ITER superconducting magnet program, the first toroidal field coil case has passed all fitting tests. The two sides of the huge component—as tall as a four-storey building and machined from 20-centimetre-thick steel—were matched within gap tolerances of 0.25 mm to 0.75 mm, an accuracy of more than one order of magnitude in relation to conventional high-precision welded structures of comparable size.
On 18 and 19 December 2017, precision laser trackers were used to measure the alignment of inboard and outboard legs of the first toroidal field coil case as well as the precise position and orientation of the heavy steel segments. The measurement results were sent electronically to the ITER Organization for detailed analysis, where it was confirmed that giant steel structures matched at all welding grooves with gaps ranging from 0.25 mm to 0.75 mm, fully respecting specified tolerances.
"This is a technological achievement of the highest order," declared Eisuke Tada, ITER Deputy Director-General, as he attended a ceremony on 26 December at the testing site. "A component that is 16 metres in height, weighing 190 tonnes, has been successfully machined to within sub-millimetre tolerances by multiple manufacturers. The international nature of this achievement makes it all the more remarkable."
The toroidal field coils cases provide protective covers for the toroidal field winding packs, the superconducting core of the magnets wound from approximately 5.5 kilometres of niobium-tin conductor. The thick steel cases also have a structural role to play, anchoring the poloidal field coils, the central solenoid and the correction coils and withstanding huge electromagnetic loads inside the machine.
Japan* is responsible for producing 19 toroidal field coil structures (for ITER's 18 toroidal field coils plus one spare). Nine of the structures will encase the toroidal field coil winding packs produced in Japan, while ten—including this first unit—will be shipped to Italy for the insertion of winding packs produced in Europe.
Toroidal field cases are D-shaped components, with the inboard leg corresponding to the straight-backed portion of the letter and the outboard leg corresponding to the rounded portion.
The inboard leg of the first coil case was manufactured at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (Kobe, Japan). During fitting tests in July 2017 the two sections of the inboard leg—the U-shaped sub-assembly ("AU") that will contain the superconducting core plus a cover plate ("AP")—were successfully paired with gap tolerances of 0.25 mm to 0.75 along the entire 14-metre-long weld groove.
The outboard leg was contracted by Japan to Hyundai Heavy Industries in Ulsan, Korea. The ultimate test was then to verify that structures manufactured in two locations following stringent ITER Organization specifications would fit together perfectly. "Ultimately, the story of the toroidal field coil cases is the occasion to showcase the spirit that underlies the ITER Project in its entirety—the "One-ITER" spirit of teamwork that unites us around one design, one schedule and one mission," stressed Deputy Director-General Tada.
At Hyundai, the outboard leg sub-assemblies ("BU" and "BP") were first fitted together to verify manufacturing precision. Then, on 18 and 19 December the principal segments of the coil case ("AU," manufactured in Japan and shipped to Korea, and "BU" manufactured in Korea) were positioned and measured. (Please see the photo gallery below for further explanations.)
The required tolerances of bevels at the welding grooves were respected across the board at less than 1 millimetre—with gap variations ranging from 0.25 mm to 0.75 mm. Witnesses on hand during the fitting tests included representatives of the ITER Organization, the Japanese and Korean Domestic Agencies, the European Domestic Agency (which will be receiving the component), and manufacturers Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Hyundai Heavy Industries.
The successful fitting trials of the first toroidal field coil case demonstrates that the final assembly—the insertion of the superconducting winding pack followed by closure welding—can be achieved within the tight tolerances required. This is excellent news, as work proceeds on the fabrication and precision machining of elements for the 18 other cases.
The first case is now on its way to SIMIC (Italy), where the first European winding pack has been delivered for insertion.
*QST—Japan's National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology—is responsible for the procurement of all components allocated to Japan by the ITER Organization.

A very significant year

ma, 18/12/2017 - 16:17

In 2017, the ITER Organization celebrated its 10th anniversary and the project passed the halfway mark on the road to First Plasma. All the milestones set by the ITER Council were met and—as preparation for machine assembly began—the cryoplant, the twin Magnet Power Conversion buildings, and the cooling tower zone received their first equipment.
 

In the Poloidal Field Coil Winding Facility, Europe began manufacturing poloidal field coil #5 (17 metres in diameter). Nearby in the Cryostat Workshop, Indian contractors started work on a second cryostat section—the lower cylinder—and continued to advance welding and non-destructive examination testing of the cryostat base.
In factories on three continents, the ITER Members continued to manufacture strategic ITER components that were delivered as planned to the ITER site. The project's visibility—both here in southern France and in media outlets the world over—increased dramatically.
 
All in all, 2017 was a very significant year.
 
Like it has done since 2006, Newsline will continue in the New Year to tell the story of the ITER adventure, and all of its human and technical achievements. See you again in January.

Building ITER | Halfway to First Plasma

ma, 11/12/2017 - 17:05

It's been a long road and we haven't reached our destination yet. But on its way to operation, ITER has just passed a significant milestone: according to the stringent metrics that measure project performance, 50 percent of the "total construction work scope through First Plasma" is now complete.
The performance metrics used in ITER assign a relative weight to every activity category within the project. Design, for instance, accounts for 24 percent; buildings construction and manufacturing for 48 percent; assembly and installation for 20 percent.
After having compounded the percentage of completion of each category, the metrics produce a figure for the totality of the work scope through the launch of operations ("First Plasma"). Design, which accounts for approximately one-fourth of the scope, is now close to 95 percent complete; manufacturing and building, which represents almost half of the total activities is close to 53 percent complete. Do a little math and the result is clear: in terms of activities that need to be completed, ITER is now halfway to its first operational event.
The passing of this milestone reflects "the collective contribution and commitment of ITER's seven Members," writes Director-General Bernard Bigot in a top-level communication to officials in the governments of the participating nations.
The reaction of the world media to the passing of this highly symbolic milestone was unprecedented: close to 600 publications, from a total of 41 countries, hailed the accomplishment. Global news agencies, newspapers and magazines (from the Guardian in the UK to Times of India), radio stations in the Czech Republic and Germany, and countless web sites in the United States, India, the United Arab Emirates, the Philippines or Australia ... all stressed the importance of what is at stake in ITER.
See a selection of articles here.

Read the Statement sent by the Director-General to all ITER Members (in English or in French).   Read the full press release in English or in French.  

Building ITER | Halfway to First Plasma

wo, 06/12/2017 - 19:10

It has been a long road and we haven't reached our destination yet. But on its way to operation, ITER has just passed a significant milestone: according to the stringent metrics that measure project performance, 50 percent of the "total construction work scope through First Plasma" is now complete.
The performance metrics used in ITER assign a relative weight to every activity category within the project. Design, for instance, accounts for 24 percent; buildings construction and manufacturing for 48 percent; assembly and installation for 20 percent.
After having compounded the percentage of completion of each category, the metrics produce a figure for the totality of the work scope through the launch of operations ("First Plasma"). Design, which accounts for approximately one-fourth of the scope, is now close to 95 percent complete; manufacturing and building, which represents almost half of the total activities is close to 53 percent complete. Do a little math and the result is clear: in terms of activities that need to be completed, ITER is now halfway to its first operational event.
ITER is the most complex science project in human history and the passing of this highly symbolic milestone is no small achievement.
The passing of this milestone reflects "the collective contribution and commitment of ITER's seven Members," writes Director-General Bernard Bigot in a top-level communication to officials in the governments of the participating nations.


Read the Statement sent by the Director-General to all ITER Members (in English or in French).   Read the full press release in English or in French.  

Businesses, jobs, technology | ITER's impact on European economy and society

di, 05/12/2017 - 08:55

What are the economic, societal and scientific benefits for Europe stemming from its participation in ITER? And—looking ahead—what future impact can Europe expect from its role in this unique scientific project that aims to unlock the potential of fusion energy? These were the top questions discussed by 120 participants at the ITER Industry Day in Brussels, Belgium, on 4 December.
It was the first time that the European Commission had sent an invitation for an ITER Industry Day. And they all came: European business representatives, policy makers, scientists, civil society organizations, and the media.
The ITER Project already brings a host of concrete opportunities for industry, businesses and the research community. Over 400 European companies and 60 scientific and research entities—from more than 20 countries—have concluded contracts with the European Domestic Agency for a total of approximately EUR 4 billion.
The Italian company Belleli Energy is but one example of how ITER can help European businesses to grow and thrive through development opportunities and job creation: "Thanks to ITER, the staff of our company grew from 300 in 2010 to 1,000 today," reports CEO Paolo Fedeli. 
Spin-off technologies is another area with great potential. Participants discussed how spin-offs, spill-overs, start-ups and applications resulting from ITER-related contracts can promote development in other technological and industrial areas.
Jérôme Pamela, the chairman of EUROfusion, Europe's fusion energy think tank, pointed at ITER's impact on scientific research potential: "Facts speak for themselves. ITER, which provides us a common goal, is a key driver for 2,000 research positions that exist in the member states. Without ITER, there would be many fewer researchers involved."
It was not just about opportunities for Europe in Europe. As an international scientific project with 35 member states from three continents, ITER provides fertile ground worldwide for global technology cooperation, business opportunities, partnerships and innovation.

Assembly preparation | The ballet of the Titans

ma, 27/11/2017 - 20:38


The stage is ready, some of the props are already in place, and the show will soon begin. It will be a grand production served by an international cast of highly skilled performers. The central theme? Twin Titans, in the form of giant tools dancing a mechanical ballet to contribute to the assembly of one of the most complex machines ever conceived.
The rafters of the Assembly Hall are the catwalk of this oversized theatre. They offer a breathtaking view of the ongoing work on the stage floor some 45 metres below.
To the right side of the 6,000-square-metre open space, technicians are busy preparing for the Titans' arrival, bolting semi-circular rail tracks to steel plates anchored deep into the floor, adjusting torque, and verifying alignment with laser optics.
The Twin Titans, SSAT-1 and SSAT-2 (for vacuum vessel Sector Sub-Assembly Tool), will travel along these tracks, opening and closing their arms to bring together and pre-assemble a vacuum vessel sector with a pair of toroidal field coils plus thermal shielding—for a total mass of 1,200 tonnes. The operation will be repeated nine times, once for each of the nine vacuum vessel sectors.
The Titans will operate in close cooperation with another giant tool—the double overhead crane that will deliver the sub-components to be assembled and, when completed, will carry each sub-assembly to the Tokamak well.
Load tests for the 1,500-tonne overhead crane will begin next week. But the dummy loads are already in place, stacked in the centre of the stage ... approximately 40 steel-and-concrete blocks that will stand in the place, for the time of the trials, of ITER's massive components.
Several tests will be performed: a static test at nominal capacity, followed by a dynamic test at 10 percent over-capacity (reproducing all of the operational movements of the crane) and a final test at 25 percent over-capacity to verify that the flexion of the 43-metre-long girders remains within specifications.
The actual production on stage will open in a little more than a year. It is expected to be one of the most spectacular in the history of science and industry.

ITER Council | Project metrics confirm performance

ma, 20/11/2017 - 16:03


The governing body of the ITER Organization, the ITER Council, met for the twenty-first time on 15 and 16 November 2017 under the chairmanship of Won Namkung (Korea). Representatives from China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States reviewed a detailed set of reports and indicators covering both organizational and technical performance, and concluded that the project remains on track for success.

In November 2007—ten years ago exactly—the ITER Council convened for the first time in the history of the ITER Organization. Clearing had just begun on the ITER site, the ITER design was under review, and only 170 people were working in temporary offices, housed by ITER's host and neighbour—the CEA Cadarache research centre.
Twenty Council meetings later and a quantum leap forward, the ITER Organization assesses the level of manufacturing completion for First Plasma components and systems at 61 percent and the level of total construction work scope completion through First Plasma at 49 percent.
Since early 2016, the ITER Organization has been controlling and reporting project progress on the basis of high-level milestones. Whether related to construction, manufacturing or deliveries—or rather to programmatic milestones like recruitment and contract signatures—these milestones are underpinned in the schedule by the many thousands of activities that make up progress to First Plasma, with each one representing a firm achievement on the road to ITER operation.
During the two-day meeting, participants confirmed that the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies have achieved all Council-approved milestones for 2016 and 2017, maintaining strict adherence to the overall project schedule and critical path. Processes for schedule control, risk management and cooperation also continue to improve, with project performance metrics that now measure physical progress in construction, manufacturing, assembly and installation down to the level of each building system and component. 
The Council continued its candid discussions acknowledging continuing efforts made by each Member to overcome various challenges, which include ensuring approval of the cost baseline, as concluded at the Nineteenth ITER Council in November 2016 (IC-19¹). Council members reaffirmed their strong belief in the value of the project, and its mission and vision, and resolved to work together to find timely solutions to ensure ITER's success.
Photos from the twenty-first ITER Council (IC-21) can be viewed here.
Download the full press release in English or French.
¹ As stated in the press release of IC-19 on 27 November 2016, at that time: "The overall project schedule was approved by all ITER Members, and the overall project cost was approved ad referendum, meaning that it will now fall to each Member to seek approval of project costs through their respective governmental budget processes."

ITER Council: project metrics confirm performance

do, 16/11/2017 - 19:56

The governing body of the ITER Organization, the ITER Council, met for the twenty-first time on 15 and 16 November 2017 under the chairmanship of Won Namkung (Korea). Representatives from China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States reviewed a detailed set of reports and indicators covering both organizational and technical performance, and concluded that the project remains on track for success.

In November 2007—ten years ago exactly—the ITER Council convened for the first time in the history of the ITER Organization. Clearing had just begun on the ITER site, the ITER design was under review, and only 170 people were working on site, housed by ITER's host and neighbour—the CEA Cadarache research centre.
Twenty meetings later and a quantum leap forward, the ITER Organization assesses the level of manufacturing completion for First Plasma components and systems at 61 percent and the level of total construction work scope completion through First Plasma at 49 percent.
Since early 2016, the ITER Organization has been controlling and reporting project progress on the basis of high-level milestones. Whether related to construction, manufacturing or deliveries—or rather to programmatic milestones like recruitment and contract signatures—these milestones are underpinned in the schedule by the many thousands of activities that make up progress to First Plasma, with each one representing a firm achievement on the road to ITER operation.
During the two-day meeting, members confirmed that the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies have achieved all Council-approved milestones for 2016 and 2017, maintaining strict adherence to the overall project schedule and critical path.
Processes for schedule control, risk management and cooperation also continue to improve, with project performance metrics that now measure physical progress in construction, manufacturing, assembly and installation down to the level of each building system and component. 
The Council continued its candid discussions acknowledging continuing efforts made by each Member to overcome various challenges, which includes ensuring approval of the cost baseline, as concluded in IC-19¹. Council members reaffirmed their strong belief in the value of the project, and its mission and vision, and resolved to work together to find timely solutions to ensure ITER's success.
Photos from the twenty-first ITER Council (IC-21) can be viewed here.
Download the full press release in English or French.
¹ As stated in the press release of IC-19 on 27 November 2016, at that time: "The overall project schedule was approved by all ITER Members, and the overall project cost was approved ad referendum, meaning that it will now fall to each Member to seek approval of project costs through their respective governmental budget processes."

COP 23 | Placing ITER on the global scene

ma, 13/11/2017 - 17:52


On the western bank of the Rhine and not far from the seat of the UN Climate Change Secretariat, world leaders are discussing how to push ahead for international joint action to tackle climate change and implement the 2015 Paris Agreement.
In complete silence, Fijian warriors walk into the assembly hall at the opening of the UN Climate Change Conference, COP23. They perform their traditional welcome ceremony of preparing and sharing the Kava drink made from the root of a local Fijian plant. The recipient is Barbara Hendricks, German Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.
Looking very impressive even on a public display screen, it was a highly unusual opening for an international conference. But it drove home the message of urgency. As a Pacific island nation Fiji is extremely vulnerable to the impact of climate change; it is fitting indeed that Fiji is presiding over this conference, held from 6 to 17 November in the German city of Bonn.
"We are all sitting in the same canoe," said Frank Bainimarama, Prime Minister of Fiji, at the opening ceremony. "So let's make the hard decisions that have to be made for the sake of ourselves and the generations to come."
A few kilometers from the high-level political discussions is the Bonn Zone, where the global relevance of climate change is also visible. Countless meetings, discussions and workshops take place in side rooms, at exhibition stands, over coffee or in the halls. It is here where government offices, civil society activists, scientists, youth organizations, industry as well as several international organizations present their ideas, initiatives and actions to deal with the consequences of climate change.
With its quest for carbon-free, safe and abundant energy, ITER fits right into this vibrant and buzzing atmosphere. The ITER stand hosts a constant stream of visitors wanting to know more about the process of nuclear fusion, the progress with the building of the research reactor, or the scientific and technological challenges this ambitious project is facing.
Most visitors, having never heard of the project, are impressed. A German police officer compares the ambitious endeavor with the TV series Star Trek. A visitor from Canada, after taking a virtual tour of construction, feels that the work on site alone is futuristic.
The ITER stand attracts younger people in particular as they realize the advantages, hopefully in their lifetime, of a new source of clean energy. They are also particularly receptive to ITER's collaborative model—35 nations joining efforts across continents and borders—as a way of addressing important global issues.
As COP23 enters its second week expectations are high. It is hoped that the conference—with its 25,000 participants from all around the globe—will find a common understanding on practical actions and solutions to the many climate-change-related problems.
There is agreement among all on one issue: time is short. As Frank Bainimarama said at the opening: "Let's get this job done."

Magnet system | First superconducting component ready for tests

ma, 30/10/2017 - 19:12



From the outside, it's just another big, shiny stainless-steel pipe bent at a 90° angle. But take off the shipping caps at one end or the other, have a peek inside, and you will see a technological marvel.
A cryostat feedthrough is part of the feeder system that accommodates and relays all the essential "services" for the operation of a superconducting magnet.
Connected to a coil terminal box at one end and crossing into the cryostat at the other, it carries the superconducting busbars for the electrical current, the piping for the cryogenic fluids, and the cables for the diagnostics signals—all carefully insulated by an actively-cooled thermal shield and a vacuum duct.
Last week, the first of the 31 cryostat feedthroughs that must be delivered to the ITER construction site stood in the hall of the Magnet Infrastructure Facilities for ITER (MIFI), a workshop operated by a joint team from ITER and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) to develop and qualify the ITER magnet elements and their assembly procedures.
Designed by the ITER feeder team, procured by the Chinese Domestic Agency, and manufactured at the Institute of Plasma Physics ASIPP in Hefei under the feeder team's supervision, the cryostat feedthrough is the first magnet component required on site because it needs to be brought into position before the completion of the cryostat base support ring.
At MIFI, the cryostat feedthrough will be subjected to high-voltage tests, leak tests and endoscopic inspections before being installed into the Tokamak assembly arena and later connected to poloidal field coil #4, one of the two largest of the machine's six poloidal field coils (24 metres in diameter).
To celebrate this highly symbolic event, representatives from CEA's Research Institute for Magnetic Fusion (IRFM), MIFI and the Chinese Domestic Agency joined ITER management and staff from the Magnets Division inside the MIFI hall, in the presence of the massive component.
"The arrival of this component is in itself a cause for celebration," said ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot. "It is the very first in a long line of magnet system elements for the most complex, most challenging electromagnetic device ever designed—the ITER Tokamak."
For Luo Dulong, head of ITER China, the moment—ten years, almost to the day, after the official establishment of the ITER Organization—will be "recognized as historical."
"MIFI is the most visible element of our cooperation with ITER in the field of superconducting magnets, and this component is the most spectacular among those that will be tested in this workshop," said Alain Bécoulet, the head of IRFM. "But it is only a beginning. As more magnet components are delivered to ITER in the coming weeks and months our collaboration with increase and expand." 
"We began working on feeders with ASIPP 12 years ago," reflected Neil Mitchell, head of the ITER Magnet Division. "It is hugely motivating for the different teams to see the arguments, discussions, tests and prototypes finally condense into the real component that is standing here today."
The long adventure is drawing to its successful conclusion—an indication that, in Luo Dulong's words, "ITER is in very good shape."
And so is fusion research as a whole: a few steps from MIFI, in a crowded and intensely silent control room, operators were monitoring plasmas shots in the Tore Supra tokamak, now refurbished into WEST and operating as a test platform for ITER.

Project management | The elephant must be sliced

ma, 23/10/2017 - 19:09


Any way you cut it, ITER is fantastically complex. Whether you're counting components or the lines in the machine assembly schedule, or taking a closer look at the project's vast procurement sharing scheme ... complexity needs to be managed in ITER. Hans-Henrich Altfeld, head of the Project Control Office, tells us how it's done.

From a lay person's view, what makes the ITER Project stand out is the sheer scale of the undertaking in terms of size and budget, its level of scientific and technological innovation and, not least, its relevance to critical global issues.

A project manager looks at it differently. With costs of EUR 20 billion, millions of parts, supply chains spanning the entire globe and a multi-cultural workforce coming from 35 different countries, ITER is complexity to be managed. Altfeld has experience in the domain, having worked as a senior project manager for Airbus and in the automotive industry. His experience in mega projects is serving him now.

"Whereas at Airbus, 79,000 design drawings were needed for the development of the A380, at ITER we stand at 250,000 design drawings."

Why is it important to address complexity? "What we ultimately want to achieve is control over the project," Altfeld explains. "We do this by reducing its complexity. This will give us better control of the project, which is a precondition for success."

_To_125_Tx_Recognizing complexity is the first step to addressing and ultimately reducing it. But, how is this done with a project of this magnitude? "You have to slice the elephant," says Altfeld. Slicing the elephant? "You essentially cut the project into smaller units. This allows you to address the project in incremental steps that you manage individually."

At ITER, the "slicing of the elephant" follows the contour lines of other highly complex projects. "The ITER Project is not particularly unique in this sense," says Altfeld. It includes breaking down the entire project into systems, sub-systems and components; breaking down all required work into work packages; establishing and cascading requirements along with dedicated verification and validation plans; establishing a schedule governance which incorporates the activities of the Domestic Agencies, and developing a coordinate system for the ITER site.

"Slicing the elephant" requires tight management and strict control of the interfaces and interdependencies between the separate "slices."

"There is still room for improvement in this area," says Altfeld. "For ITER—as a first-of-a-kind experiment—it was impossible to identify all interfaces and interdependencies right from the beginning. It is learning by doing."

One example of the need for stricter interface control surfaced at a recent workshop. Considering the number of components the ITER machine will consist of and the extended time frame for construction, clear and understandable coding of components will ensure their correct placement in the machine. In previous years, not all components were coded early in the process, during the design phase. Now, these parts need to be coded retroactively—a situation that new procedures will correct in the future.

Another lesson learned from other mega projects is the importance of identifying and prioritizing risks and opportunities. These can be of a technical nature, or relating more to the project control issues of schedule or cost. New risk and opportunity management practices are helping the project to anticipate challenges in critical-path areas such as Tokamak Building construction and vacuum vessel manufacturing.

"Identifying the potential risks to delivery allows the project to develop and implement response actions," concludes Altfeld. "In the same way, it is of utmost importance to 'hunt' for opportunities—to proceed more quickly or optimize assembly sequences, for example—to make sure they can be cashed in on."

Magnet feeders: first component completed

wo, 18/10/2017 - 11:51



In a major milestone for the ITER magnet procurement program China has successfully completed the first manufactured component of the feeder package: the cryostat feedthrough for poloidal field coil #4. The 10-metre, 6.6-tonne component is on its way now to the ITER Organization.
Measuring 30- to 50-metres in length, ITER magnet feeders will relay electrical power, cryogenic fluids and instrumentation cables from outside of the machine in to the superconducting magnets, crossing the warm/cold barrier of the machine.
These complex systems are equipped with independent cryostats and thermal shields and packed with a large number of advanced technology components such as the high-temperature superconductor current leads, cryogenic valves, superconducting busbars, and high-voltage instrumentation hardware.
Of the 31 feeders distributed around the vessel—and all supplied by China—six will service the poloidal field coils.
The component that is now en route to ITER is the cryostat feedthrough for poloidal field coil #4—the first magnet component required on site because it needs to be brought into position before the completion of the cryostat base support ring. Two other components—the in-cryostat feeder (nearest the vacuum vessel) and the coil termination box (outside the bioshield)—will complete the feeder that connects to the fourth poloidal field coil.
At the Institute of Plasma Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ASIPP) in July approximately forty scientists and engineers from the ITER Organization, the Chinese Domestic Agency, the European Domestic Agency, ASIPP and suppliers Keye Company and Henxing Company, took part in a milestone ceremony. ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot, who could not be present, sent his "warmest heartfelt congratulations" to the team members from different institutes who had all come together to realize this significant accomplishment according to schedule.
Arnaud Devred, who has led the Superconducting Systems & Auxiliaries Section at ITER for ten years—and who has made the "journey east" dozens of times—voiced his great sense of pride.
"The feeder system involves some of the most difficult and risky manufacturing and assembly processes of the ITER Tokamak, but thanks to the hard work and dedication of the teams at the ITER Organization, at the Chinese Domestic Agency, and at ASIPP and its subcontractors, we learned how to work together and to reconcile our cultural differences to meet the tough technical and quality control standards of the Procurement Arrangement. If we are at this successful point in the program today it is because, at our level and for our scope of the ITER Project, we have been able to develop the good collaborative spirit and mutual trust that has enabled us to overcome hurdle after hurdle and to achieve our common goals. I can only wish that the cryostat feedthrough for poloidal field coil #4 remains a testimony to common will power and shared resilience." 
The ceremony was especially poignant to Arnaud because he was just one month from leaving ITER to join the Large Hadron Collider Luminosity Upgrade at CERN that calls for the manufacture and installation of niobium-tin (Nb3Sn) dipole and quadrupole magnets—a type of superconductor that is massively used in the toroidal field and central solenoid coils of ITER. 
The complete magnet feeder system will weigh more than 1,600 tonnes and integrate more than 60,000 individual components.

Construction site | The lights of autumn

ma, 16/10/2017 - 20:32

Summer is over in Provence and the beautiful autumn light is back, revealing every detail of the landscape... and of the ongoing works on the ITER construction site.
Taken at the very end of the afternoon from the top of the highest worksite crane, this view takes in the "heart" of the ITER installation.
To the left, the Tokamak Complex with the spectacular structure of the bioshield at its centre, to the right four massive constructions: the twin Magnet Power Conversion buildings with three transformers already installed in their outdoor bays; the cryoplant, with its frame now covered in the trademark ITER stainless steel cladding; and the Poloidal Field Coils Winding Facility with its red trim... the first building to rise on the ITER platform.
View the gallery below for a full update of construction progress.

Crown mockup | Answering questions 3D models can't

ma, 09/10/2017 - 18:29

In some areas of the Tokamak Building the steel reinforcement is so dense and the arrangement of the bars so complex, that even the most detailed 3D models are not sufficient to demonstrate full constructability.
A 3D model certainly describes the position, dimension, relative angle and curvature of every steel bar needed in a construction with utmost precision. But there are important questions that a model cannot answer. What are the most efficient rebar installation sequences? Will there be enough moving room for the workers to insert the bars, manoeuver them into the right position, and tie the stirrups?
And the 3D model will provide no information on how the concrete will settle into the steel lattice.
This is why when things get particularly challenging, constructors choose to try their hand on a mockup. "A 1:1-size mockup provides the ultimate demonstration of constructability," explain Laurent Patisson and Armand Gjoklaj, from ITER's Civil Structural Architecture team. "It's all about learning and fine-tuning procedures."
Mockups for ITER construction are like everything at ITER—large and complex. Since work began on Tokamak Complex foundations seven years ago, mockups have been erected on three occasions: in 2013 for the building's supporting slab (B2); in 2015 for the bioshield; and now one for the "crown" that will support the combined mass (23,000 tonnes) of the machine's cryostat, vacuum vessel, magnet system and thermal shield. (Compared to the 2015 mockup, the present one includes more elements of the crown such as toroidal beams and circular wall.)
Construction of the latest mockup—which has a footprint of 50 m² and a height of 3 metres—began three months ago. Reproducing a 20-degree section of the crown, the mockup's dense lattice is created from 50-millimetre-thick steel bars, a breadth not encountered anywhere else in the Tokamak Complex.
The mockup will enable the Buildings Infrastructure and Power Supplies (BIPS) Project Team to demonstrate not only the feasibility of the rebar installation but also the penetration and placement of the concrete into the steel lattice.
The concrete's formulation for the crown ("C90") is also unique in the Tokamak Complex. It combines fluidity when poured and extreme "hardness" when settled.
Inside the mockup, the temperature during the hardening process will be regulated and homogenized by cooling water circulating inside of thin pipes¹ and monitored by sensors distributed throughout the structure.
In preparing for the actual construction of the crown, the BIPS Project Team feels confident but has decided to take no chances—the 1:1 mockup must deliver the final demonstration that, yes, it can be done.
(¹) Once the process is complete, the pipes will be filled with grouting.

Intellectual property | ITER Members share inventions and solutions

ma, 02/10/2017 - 16:19

Whether working to design and test prototypes, develop advanced control systems, resolve open physics questions, or manufacture technically challenging components and systems, individuals and teams working within the framework of ITER-related contracts are bringing creative and innovative solutions into play.

Take Hyun-Kook Shin, for example. In the course of his work at the Korean Domestic Agency on ITER's AC/DC converters, he invented a new type of mount jig that significantly reduced the time and manpower required to assemble electrical converter stacks. Where it used to take three people to manually assemble the thyristor semiconductor element to the electrical busbar, his new clamping jig allows it to be accomplished by one person more quickly—an invention that will not only facilitate the completion of dozens of converters under Korean procurement responsibility, but that can also interest other Domestic Agencies.

This invention, now patented, is recorded in the ITER Intellectual Property Database—the ITER Organization repository for all inventions, patents, licenses and declarations. Other Members and the ITER Organization can obtain the rights to this invention in accordance with the legal framework set out in the ITER Agreement*—in nearly every case in the form of non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free licenses.
Participating in ITER, then, also means sharing the intellectual property that results from the design, construction and operation of the world's largest tokamak. In signing the ITER Agreement, the ITER Members (through their Domestic Agencies) agreed to support the widest appropriate dissemination of intellectual property.
In practical terms that means tracking—and making available to other signatories—the development of industrial knowhow and processes, technological solutions, inventions, and experimental results.
When placing contracts for the supply of goods or services, provisions are included to ensure that contractors first declare background intellectual property (for patents/knowhow developed before the execution of an ITER-related contract) and then—as techniques and processes are developed during the course of contract execution—generated intellectual property.
Both types can be shared with the ITER Organization and Member entities by way of license agreements or commercial arrangements, the terms of which are more or less stringent depending on the use envisaged.
The management of ITER-related intellectual property is supervised by the Intellectual Property Board at the ITER Organization, which assesses all aspects of intellectual property protection and monitors the operation of the ITER Organization's Intellectual Property Database, where background and generated intellectual property declarations are uploaded by all Members. 
For the Director General of the Korean Domestic Agency, Kijung Jung, it takes education, training and a number of well-designed incentive programs to encourage all the entities involved with ITER-related business to make the best efforts to produce and share intellectual property. "At ITER Korea, we have a designated intellectual property responsible officer, and training is offered to both staff and suppliers to understand both the general framework—which may be very unfamiliar to them—and also the specifics of uploading data on the ITER centralized system."
Staff at the Agency also benefit from the incentive policy of its host institution, the National Fusion Research Institute (NFRI), which encourages invention through compensation opportunities and provides support services to inventors.
To date, the Intellectual Property Database at ITER has 35 records and the pace is accelerating. For the stories behind four patents generated in Korea through ITER-related activities, see the gallery below (or download a pdf here).
* The legal framework for the management of ITER intellectual property is set out in the ITER Agreement (Article 10) and its Annex on Information and Intellectual Property.