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Media Days 2018 | ITER, from the inside out

ma, 15/10/2018 - 19:40

As concrete and steel structures rise on site and major strides are being made in the fabrication of machine components, interest in the project is growing worldwide. ITER is tangible; it is happening for real. Visitors on site—13,000 last year alone—can bear witness to the progress that is made every day.
But the pace of work on site and finite resources for on-site tours place a limit on the number of individuals ITER can receive. This is why—in addition to its weekly program of visits—the ITER Communication team organizes targeted events such as Open Doors Days for members of the public and annual media events for journalists.
In the latest Media Days event on 10-11 October approximately 30 reporters/camera teams were on site for a full two-day program of events—complete site tour with access to every major building, interviews with the ITER Director-General, and a slate of lectures on ITER's science, technology, international make-up, and status.
All ITER Members were represented at this year's event. Teams came from Agence France Presse (AFP), Al Jazeera (see video), China News Service, Chosun Biz, Corriere della Sierra, The Engineer, the Indo-Asian News Service, Nature, Nature Research, RAI News 24, Sky News and Xinhua News Agency to name but a few.
Stories have already been trickling through; please see the links below. The full list will be kept current on this page (scroll down to "In the Press").   Al Jazeera Chosun Biz Chosun Biz (interview) Economic Times of India RAI News Connaissance des Energies Sakal Times Europe Daily QQ News

Worksite progress | A view from the belfry

ma, 08/10/2018 - 22:14

If ITER were a small town (and in a way it is), crane C5 would be the belfry—the spectacular vantage point from which to take it all in.   From a height of some 80 metres, by the light of a midafternoon in October, buildings, vehicles, lifting fixtures and people at work are revealed in sharp detail.   The small town is booming with activity, its dwellers dwarfed by the giant structures that surround them: to the left, the 60-metre-high Assembly Hall and the circular bioshield ressembling a jewel in its box; to the right, part of the industrial infrastructure (power conversion, cryoplant, electrical switchyard) that will support machine operations.   A sharp eye will notice that Crane C1, rising from the centre of the bioshield and materializing the axis of the ITER machine, stands taller than it used to: the optimized version of the building plan required its extension by approximately 10 metres.   Compared to the view shot from the same location in July, progress on the Diagnostics Building (centre) is spectacular. The building has now reached its final height and most of the work is going on in the lower floors.   The gallery below will tell you more ...

Fusion electricity | Navigating Europe's course

ma, 01/10/2018 - 18:28

Since 2013, the European Roadmap to Fusion Energy has been the fundamental document guiding European priorities in fusion R&D until the ultimate goal—achieving electricity from fusion energy. On the occasion of the release of version 2.0, Newsline asked EUROfusion Programme Manager Tony Donné about the updated document, the role of ITER, and the overall outlook for fusion energy.   What is the rationale behind the new Roadmap?
I always compare the Roadmap with a navigation system. You program your destination and the navigation system finds you the fastest route. Along the way, it takes account of the traffic situation and road conditions and adjusts the route accordingly to get you to your destination as fast as possible. But sometimes there are new roads and highways and you need an update of your navigation system.
Now, six years after the introduction of the roadmap in 2012 we see developments which are really good news for fusion. These were taken into account in the update of the Roadmap. The difference between a navigation system and the fusion roadmap is that the latter is dealing with completely uncharted territory. 
What are the new elements of the Fusion Roadmap?
The European Fusion Roadmap outlines the research and development required to provide the basis for an electricity-generating fusion power plant. This new version is an evolution, not a revolution. In the first Roadmap we took DEMO (the DEMOnstration power plant) as the end point. We were—and still are—aiming at having electricity from fusion as fast as possible. But we didn't look at how we would get from DEMO to a commercial fusion power plant. Now, the design for DEMO will already include the requirements for a future fusion power plant to ensure an easy adaption.
The other new element is that the eight roadmap missions are much more interwoven. An example is the stellarator program, mission 8, which will give important input for the development of the heat exhaust, mission 2. Solving this challenge will be very helpful for both ITER and DEMO.
The roadmap 2.0 also reflects changes in the ITER Baseline which was renewed about two years ago. We needed to adapt for that as ITER is central to the Roadmap. The revised version is therefore fully aligned with the latest ITER Baseline and Research Plan.
How is the central role of ITER reflected in the document?
ITER is the central device and roughly 60-65 percent of the present EUROfusion budget is dedicated to research supporting ITER. Most of the campaigns at the European fusion devices are aimed at supporting the ITER Project. At JET, for example, we are conducting specific ITER-relevant tests like the upcoming deuterium-tritium campaign, the shattered pellet injection testing, and the helium campaign. All of these research activities are part of the Roadmap and contribute to the ITER Project. But also, EUROfusion work at the various national devices is strongly focused on research questions in support of ITER.
Mission 6 is to develop an integrated design for DEMO in Europe. What is EUROfusion's specific role?
DEMO will demonstrate first electricity production to the grid by fusion. The responsibility for the European DEMO lies in essence with Fusion for Energy (F4E), the European Domestic Agency. However, with ITER being the top priority for F4E in the next decade, EUROfusion has been asked to develop the design for DEMO. Taking on this task, we realized that we will have to involve industry from the beginning. Based on experience from various large engineering projects, we believe that the involvement of industry in the pre-conceptual and conceptual design phases will be very advantageous.
The first Roadmap stopped with DEMO, the demonstration power plant after ITER. The new version goes further ...
An important new element is the involvement of our stakeholders. We have created a stakeholder group with representatives from electricity plants, grid operators as well as representatives from the nuclear and nuclear waste industries. Before fusion energy comes on the market we need to identify the most useful way for fusion power plants to deliver energy for conversion to electricity. We develop this input with our stakeholders to define the requirements for DEMO—it's like a retro-planner for fusion energy.
The quest for fusion energy is a global endeavour—does the cooperation foreseen in the Roadmap go beyond Europe?
The collaboration has to be global as the development of fusion energy is of global importance. And it is a big challenge, so we all need to work together to achieve this goal of producing energy from fusion. Naturally, our work with ITER is international in the sense that we collaborate with all ITER Members.
Our cooperation within Europe and beyond is embedded in the Roadmap. There is intense international scientific collaboration in various fields in order to be efficient in driving scientific discovery and avoiding duplication. At the moment, the most extensive collaboration is with Japan on the Broader Approach which includes research activities on key physics questions using the fusion device JT-60SA or the work of IFMIF (the International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility) on fusion materials. There is a lot of interaction worldwide in many fields involving all ITER Members, but also others such as Brazil, Kazakhstan and Australia.
What is your view on the role fusion energy in the future energy mix?
The question really is: do we need fusion electricity? To answer that question I use the example of Germany which is currently subsidizing wind and solar energy concepts with about EUR 25 billion per year. That is roughly equivalent to building one ITER per year. Last year Germany managed to cover 37 percent of its energy consumption from renewables, mostly wind and solar. But, at the same time CO2 emissions from electricity production didn't decrease as fossil fuels such as peat are still being used for the base load.
Renewable energy sources have their limitations and even with efficient energy storage facilities we still would need large scale back-up energy sources. This is where fusion can play a vital role by replacing fossil fuels as the base load and contribute to reducing CO2 emissions. Fusion does not compete with other renewables; I believe that there is good place for fusion in the energy mix of the future.

Thermal shield | First 23 panels fit like clockwork

ma, 24/09/2018 - 17:46

During fitting trials in Korea, 23 stainless steel panels have been successfully pre-assembled into the first sector of vacuum vessel thermal shield.

In a major achievement for the thermal shield procurement program, the pre-assembly test on the vacuum vessel thermal shield sector #6 has been successfully completed at SFA Engineering Corp in Changwon, Korea. Technical responsible officers and engineers from the ITER Organization, the Korean Domestic Agency (ITER Korea) and SFA were there to witness the milestone, which took place in early August.

The purpose of the pre-assembly test was to demonstrate the feasibility of assembling the same sector of thermal shield at ITER. The test jig and fixture design (inboard frame, outboard frame) and the clamping conditions were identical to those that will be called into action as part of vacuum vessel sector sub-assembly activities in the ITER Assembly Hall beginning next year on the sector sub-assembly tool.

The vacuum vessel thermal shield is a 10- to 20-millimetre-thick barrier interposed between the vacuum vessel and the superconducting magnets. It will be actively cooled with gaseous helium at 80 K (minus 193 °C) to minimize the radiation heat load that is transferred by thermal radiation and conduction from warm components (vessel) to the components operating at 4.5 K (minus 269 °C) such as the magnets.

Each of the nine 40° sectors of vacuum vessel thermal shielding consists of 23 stainless steel panels, each with its own welded cooling tube. The pre-assembly test for sector #6 took place in four steps:

  1. Jig assembly of the outboard 10° segment, with dimensional inspection
  2. Jig assembly of the outboard 20° segment
  3. Jig assembly of inboard 40° segment, with dimensional inspection
  4. Jig assembly of inboard 40° segment and two outboard 20° segments, with dimensional inspection
Dimensional inspection of the shell was performed for the sub-assembled segments by 3D laser scanning.

Observers were also able to verify the tight tolerances (2 mm) that are required for the 1,800 bolt holes of the sector. "Nine hundred bolts and corresponding holes were verified and all the flanges were assembled well without gaps," says Dongkwon Kang, ITER technical responsible officer for the thermal shield. "This gives us confidence that there will be no critical interface issues for the assembly and the operation of the vacuum vessel thermal shield at the ITER site."

Vacuum vessel thermal shield sector #6 will now be dismantled for silver coating before being re-assembled into inboard and outboard segments for shipment to ITER. All is on schedule to meet the ITER Council milestone for delivery of the thermal shield sector by April 2019. 

ITER Research Plan | The 400-page scenario

ma, 17/09/2018 - 18:16

The ITER Organization has just made publically available the most recent version of the ITER Research Plan, a 400-page document that describes the present vision for operating the ITER Tokamak from First Plasma through high-fusion-gain deuterium-tritium operation.
The ITER Research Plan was initially developed during the ITER Design Review in 2007-2008 in order to analyze the experimental program towards high-fusion-gain deuterium-tritium operation. In the ensuing years it was further elaborated to identify the main lines of physics R&D required to support preparation for ITER operation, and to incorporate elements of the testing program for tritium breeding technology in the fusion environment.
Since 2017—with the collaboration of fusion science experts from the ITER Members' physics communities—the ITER Research Plan has been undergoing revision in order to reflect the revised baseline cost and schedule for the project—Baseline 2016.
Baseline 2016 identifies the date of First Plasma as December 2025 and lays out a multi-phase approach to full deuterium-tritium operation in 2035, in which periods of machine operation alternate with shutdown periods for further assembly. This "staged approach" to assembly is considered to represent the best compromise between the desire of all partners to advance quickly, technical constraints (including risk), and the financial constraints of the Members.
_To_143_Tx_With the acceptance of the revised ITER Baseline by the ITER Council in November 2016¹, a study was launched to bring major elements of the Research Plan in line with the framework of the staged approach to ITER construction to ensure that the operation of ITER required to commission ancillary systems was consistent with the phased installation of these systems. Also taken into account were the most recent advances in physics research.
In the staged approach, two main phases are foreseen following First Plasma:
  • Pre-Fusion Plasma Operation — in which the basic controls and protection systems are demonstrated, and the auxiliary heating systems and diagnostics are fully commissioned. (Two operational campaigns are expected.)
  • Fusion Power Operation — in which ITER fusion performance goals are demonstrated. ITER fusion power production goals are the production of 500 MW of fusion power with an energy gain (Q) of Q=10 for >300 s, and in-principle steady-state operation with Q=5. The development of long-pulse inductive plasmas² for fusion technology development is also envisioned. (The ITER Research Plan anticipates at least three operating campaigns to be required to achieve these goals.)
The revision of the ITER Research Plan has involved a re-analysis of ITER plasma scenarios in each phase and the identification of open issues that need to be resolved by physics R&D with support of the ITER Members' fusion communities.
"This revision of the ITER Research Plan was a major effort, spearheaded by my predecessor, David Campbell," said Tim Luce, Director of the Science & Operations Department. "It combines the detailed knowledge of the ITER Organization staff about the ITER facility with expertise from the Members' fusion research programs. We are especially grateful for the delegates who were appointed by the Members to help revise this document. This release is the first time the ITER Research Plan has been publicly available, which we hope will enable a stronger partnership between the fusion community and the ITER Organization to realize the ITER goals."
The Plan will continue to be updated over the years to reflect the results of continuing fusion R&D and the detailed implementation of the staged approach to ITER assembly.
Click here to view/download the "ITER Research Plan within the Staged Approach" from the ITER Technical Reports page of the website.
¹ The overall project schedule was approved by all ITER Members at the Nineteenth ITER Council in November 2016; the overall project cost was approved "ad referendum," meaning that each Member is seeking approval of project costs through respective governmental budget processes.
² An inductive plasma is a tokamak plasma in which the circulating current is sustained using the central solenoid, as opposed to a steady-state plasma in which the plasma current is sustained by heating and current drive sources and plasma-driven processes.

ITER Itinerary | Make way for the elephants!

ma, 10/09/2018 - 15:08

Hannibal, crossing the Alps in the 3rd century BC, faced a critical problem: how would he get his elephants through the narrow mountain passes that opened to the plains of northern Italy he intended to march through?
ITER logistics provider DAHER also has elephants to deliver to the ITER construction site. And like Hannibal two millennia ago, the company will encounter obstacles that have to be overcome.
The historical parallel ends there, however. ITER's elephants are much larger and up to one hundred times heavier than Hannibal's, and modern technology offers more efficient rock-removal techniques than the pouring of vinegar on heated rocks¹.
_To_142_Tx_Still—ensuring the passage for the first ring-shaped coil of the ITER Tokamak (poloidal field coil #6, or PF6) was one of the most delicate, precise and complex operations the logistics operator has had to face since it began transporting ITER components along the ITER Itinerary in 2015.
The geometry of the load and the particular topography of the terrain combine to explain the challenge.
The package that contains PF6 (the second-smallest of the six coils that circle the vacuum vessel) is 12 metres long, 11 metres wide and a little more than 4 metres high.
Originally, the load was meant to be transported in an inclined position, which would have allowed the passage through the narrowest sections of the ITER Itinerary.
However, in order to minimize the risk of transport-related damage to the coil, this option was abandoned and it was decided instead to place the load flat on the trailer bed. The problem was that in this position, the load's width exceeded the Itinerary's gauge by almost two metres.
Two "blocking points" were identified: a 700-metre tree-lined section of road in the nearby village of Peyrolles, and a passage between two small cliffs a few kilometres ahead of the ITER site.
Using laser measurements, 360-degree 3D scanning and "point cloud" extraction, DAHER experts captured the precise topography of both sites, inserted a 3D model of the load sitting on its trailer, and produced an animated real-scale virtual rendition of the passage of the PF6 convoy.
In the case of the tree-lined road, the degree of precision achieved by DAHER made it possible to identify every single branch that could potentially stand in the way of the convoy, decide which ones needed to be pruned, and plot an adapted slalom course for the trailer.
The same techniques were applied to the cliff passage in order minimize the amount of rock and vegetation to be removed, and hence the cost of the operation.
Performed between 16 July and 9 August, the rock removal operation faced one additional challenge: operators needed to ensure that the vibrations generated by the excavators did not impact the concrete structure of the old water canal running under the road.
Vibration frequencies and acceleration were monitored by an array of sensors, sending real-time information to all parties involved. At no time did the works threaten the integrity of the canal—a strategic waterway that powers a nearby hydro-electric plant and delivers drinking water to the city of Marseille.
By 9 August, 1,700 cubic metres of rock had been removed and the vertical cliff cut to a 40-degree slant. The road is now open for the largest and most delicate elephants to be delivered to ITER: not only poloidal field coil #6, but also, beginning next year, the 18 toroidal field coils (10 metres wide, 17 metres high) that will also be able to travel in a flat position.
¹ According to Roman historians Polybius and Titus Livius, Hannibal, faced with a huge boulder blocking his way, had a pyre amassed around the stone and set afire. When the rock was red-hot and began fissuring, he had vinegar poured into the cracks. The chemical reaction between the hot limestone and the acetic acid contained in the vinegar accelerated the fracturing process. Using crowbars and wedges, sappers were then able to slit the rock and pry it to pieces.

Tanks installation | Seven in one blow

ma, 03/09/2018 - 12:23

Deep inside the Tokamak Building is a room large enough to accommodate a three-storey building. The floor and lower walls are lined with stainless steel plates; like stars on the firmament, hundreds of embedded plates dot all other surfaces.
The drain tank room, 40 metres long, 15 metres wide, and 11 metres high, was designed to house seven containers with volumes ranging from 100 to 210 cubic metres: three drain tanks to support normal operation, maintenance and water collection following an accident in the machine; and four vapour suppression tanks to protect the vacuum vessel against overpressure in the case of a "loss of coolant accident" in the vacuum chamber.
With its leak-tight floor and lower-wall lining, the room acts like a "drip pan." In the improbable case of a leakage from any of the tanks, the contaminated water would remain contained within. In a way, the drain tank room is itself a tank.
The installation of the seven tanks, an operation that began on 14 August, was the most spectacular installation activity performed as yet in the Tokamak Complex.
The very nature of the tanks—classified within French safety regulations as nuclear pressure equipment (ESPN)—required the implementation of special procedures and control points for validation at every step: from transport out of storage, to lifting and handling, and finally to transfer on air pads to the final positions in the room.
_To_140_Tx_Another challenge was the chamber's topography. Tanks measuring up to 6.7 metres in diameter had first to pass through an opening only slightly larger (7 x 7 metres), then to be moved along the narrow room with manually operated hydraulic jacks in order to make room for the next.
The four vapour suppression tanks, half the height of the drain tanks but almost as heavy (close to 100 tonnes), were the first to be installed. Once deposited on the floor and paired (one tank sitting on top of the other) they were skidded to one side of the room.
Next, the three drain tanks followed the same sequence and, by Friday 17 August, the operation was complete. In four days, working from dawn to dusk, the teams installed 600 tonnes of steel tanks and the opening in the ceiling of the drain tank room can now be closed to allow work to continue on the level above.
Completed successfully, safely and on schedule, this major achievement was the demonstration of efficient team work and perfectly coordinated activity across multiple contractors operating under the responsibility of the European Domestic Agency: ITER logistics provider DAHER (for transferring the tanks out of storage) and Tokamak Complex works contractor VFR (plus subcontractor Ponticelli) for lifting and installation.
Now fully furnished, the drain tank room is no less impressive than when it was empty. In the vast open volume it was easy to feel the kind of awe and wonderment experienced in a cathedral; in the now-constricted space among towering tanks, it is like being inside the engine room of a giant submarine, the innards of a steel leviathan ready to come alive.  

Summer postcards

ma, 23/07/2018 - 19:10

A building that, from a certain angle, looks like the bow of a spaceship; a handling tool that evokes a mechanical Titan, slowly opening and closing giant arms; a steel-lined room that seems to open out onto the star-studded firmament; an intricate mass of pipes, pumps and tanks resembling the innards of a large marine creature ... All in all, the ITER worksite can be an astonishing visual experience.
This last issue of Newsline before our traditional summer break (we'll be back on 3 September) offers a guided tour of the main activities underway on site: the building of the "crown" on the floor of the Tokamak Building; the fabrication of the first poloidal field coil and the cryostat; and ongoing works in the cryoplant and Assembly Hall.
To this visual journey, we've added a brief report on the recent visit of the US Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry. Like many, he was positively impressed by what he saw.

Plasma physics | Be clean, be strong

ma, 23/07/2018 - 09:21

To achieve maximum fusion efficiency in a tokamak device it is essential to limit the impurities in the plasma. But this can be a challenge, as interaction between the hot plasma and the material surfaces of the vacuum vessel causes material particles to detach and enter the swirling cloud of gas.
The laws of physics dictate the maximum plasma density that can be achieved for a given current in a tokamak, which means that in ITER—as in other tokamak devices—there will be an upper limit to the number of atoms that can be confined.
Within this limit, it is important that the plasma contain as many atoms as possible that are capable of reacting to produce fusion—in ITER's case, atoms of deuterium and tritium.
Even in trace amounts, other atoms ("impurities") dilute the core of the plasma by taking the space that could be occupied by the fusion fuels, resulting in fewer reactions and a reduction in energy production. And because fusion reactions occur in a roughly proportional manner to the square of fuel density, the "multiplier" effect sets in quickly—fewer fuel atoms result in a dramatic drop-off in fusion reactions, while more fuel results in a rapid increase.
Impurities originate from vacuum vessel and the in-vessel component materials ... iron from the steel components, beryllium from the top layers of the first-wall panels protecting the vacuum vessel, and tungsten from the divertor targets. 
Impurities not only dilute the plasma but—depending on the physical properties of the atoms involved (the number of electrons)—they can also cool it to differing degrees. "The process is similar to that in a fluorescent lamp," explains Alberto Loarte, who leads the Confinement & Modelling Section at ITER. "The electrons of the impurity atoms run into the electrons in the plasma and drain their energy, re-emitting it as electromagnetic radiation—including visible light."
The heavier elements, in particular, drain a lot of energy from the plasma through radiation because of a high number of electrons (tungsten has 74). The energy lost through impurity radiation cools the plasma down and the fusion reactions stop.
In ITER, to keep these radiative losses to a minimum, the divertor will be working from its position at the bottom of the machine to continually exhaust impurities from the plasma and limit contamination.
The very properties that make impurities unwelcome in the core of the plasma, however, can be applied to beneficial effect in the plasma edge region.
Because the energy confinement provided by the machine's magnetic fields is not perfect, large power fluxes can find their way to the edge of the plasma and onto the divertor targets. To avoid localized depositions that would be too high for the material components to withstand, scientists will inject impurity gases at the plasma edge. The radiative properties of the impurities will act to reduce the power fluxes to the material elements by dissipating their energy over a larger zone.
As the plasma in this edge/divertor region is already at temperatures much lower than those required to produce fusion power, this plasma cooling will not affect fusion power production in ITER.

Worksite photos | The view one never tires of

ma, 09/07/2018 - 20:44

For the past three-and a half years, ITER Communication has been documenting construction progress from the top of the tallest crane on the ITER worksite. Although shooting the same place from the same viewpoint might be considered repetitive and boring, in this case it never is: the ITER worksite is an ever-changing landscape one never tires of.     See the gallery below for a new series of images, the first since April. More filming and photographing is scheduled for later this month.

Optic sensors | Testing the resistance to radiation

ma, 02/07/2018 - 16:34

Inside the ITER machine, the divertor and the blanket will be equipped with more than 1,000 fibre optic sensors for recording temperature, strain, displacement and acceleration—important feedback to estimating the health and residual lifetime of these components that are located so near the plasma. Sensor prototypes designed by the ITER Organization have already been tested thermally, mechanically and optically; now—thanks to the first Implementing Agreement of the ITER Organization-Kazakhstan Cooperation Agreement—they will soon be tested for radiation resistance.

A large number of sensors on the divertor and blanket will tell engineers how these internal machine components are doing under the stress of operation.
Devices no larger than a postage stamp will be mounted on 3 of the 54 divertor cassettes and on 20 of the 440 blanket shield blocks installed inside the machine. These highly sensitive instruments—formed from steel-plate sensors embedded with neutron-resistant optical fibres—will be capable of measuring temperature, strain, displacement, or even the smallest vibration, and of transmitting the information to software for analysis.
"The optical operational instrumentation for the internal components is based on the analysis of transmission of light," explains Sergey Bender, instrumentation engineer in the Divertor Section. "As temperature or strain increases in the internal components of the machine, there is a corresponding shift in light wavelengths that can be measured and interpreted."
Optical fibre technology is attractive for fusion applications, in particular thanks to its immunity to the rapid and large variation of electromagnetic fields during plasma disruptions—exactly the moment when there is a major need for measurements. 
Neutrons can darken optical fibres over time, however, resulting in a reduction of their reflective index and hence their ability to transmit information. To overcome this drawback, ITER's instruments will use a special type of non-standard FBG optical fibre (for Fiber Bragg Grating) that is neutron-resistant. FBG measurements are based on wavelength shifts rather than on the amplitude of the optical wave, which is impaired by the reduction of reflective index.
According to Bender, the neutron immunity of this particular type of fibre makes it an essential feature in monitoring the internal components.
Under the first Implementing Agreement of the Cooperation Agreement that was signed between the ITER Organization and the National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakhstan last year, samples of sensors and optical fibres for ITER operational instrumentation will be tested for neutron resistance in Kazakh research reactors to confirm all design assumptions and to clear the way for industrial manufacturing.
Two test phases are planned:
  • Several four-hour irradiation campaigns at the IVG -1M research reactor in Kurchatov to test how the operational instrumentation works under different temperatures and dose rates and to define the characteristics of the samples (fibre length, temperature) for the second campaign.
  • A 23-day campaign at the WWR-K research reactor in Almaty, under fully ITER-relevant neutronic fluence (up to 1020 n/cm2, for an energy higher than 0.1 MeV). (Neutronic fluence is defined as the number of neutrons per unity of surface cumulated during a given time.)
"What we are looking for from these irradiation tests, is a final demonstration that the optical FBG sensors, as developed by the ITER Organization, are substantially immune to neutron damage in terms of accuracy and stability of measurements. The neutronic fluence attainable in the WWR-K reactor is similar to the one expected on the surface of ITER's internal components at the end of operations. This is the key capability proposed by our Kazakh colleagues, and it makes the tests highly interesting to us," explains Frédéric Escourbiac who, as Divertor Section Leader, is in charge of the operational instrumentation for the internal components.

Under the terms of the collaboration, the ITER team has ordered a small amount of radiation-resistant fibres from different manufacturers, had them "marked" with lasers to print the FGB feature¹, and created the sensors. Kazakh colleagues will prepare a special canister called an "ampoule" (see photo, left) with these sensors to be tested during the irradiation campaigns. The Kazakh team is also responsible for campaign implementation as well as the analysis of all results.

The first radiation-resistance tests are planned in November this year after six months of preparation to manufacture and prepare the samples.

¹Fiber Bragg gratings are created by using a laser source to "inscribe" or "write" a systematic interference pattern along the optical fibre. The "marks" reflect narrow bandwidths of light, which respond to changes in temperature or strain by shifting.

22nd ITER Council | Project on track for First Plasma in 2025

vr, 29/06/2018 - 09:19

The ITER Council, ITER's governing body, met for the twenty-second time on 20 and 21 June 2018 at the ITER Organization in Saint Paul-lez-Durance, France. Council Members approved refinements to the construction strategy which will optimize the installation of components in the Tokamak Complex. With this strategy in place, the project is on track to achieve First Plasma in 2025 while adhering to overall project costs.
Representatives from China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States gathered in the fifth floor Council Chamber for a two-day review of the most recent reports on organizational and technical performance. They agreed that the project continues to sustain its strong performance and fast pace. Since January 2016, ITER has achieved 33 scheduled project milestones, including the recent commissioning of the first experiment of the ITER Neutral Beam Test Facility in Padua, Italy. 
The Council stated that significant progress has also been made on the manufacturing of technologically challenging components such as the vacuum vessel and the toroidal field magnets. They also highlighted progress in the installation of the cryoplant and in the build-up of the magnet power supply and conversion system. Based on their review of the latest performance metrics, Council Members confirmed that project execution towards First Plasma is now over 55 percent complete.
The Council acknowledged the efforts undertaken by each Member to reach approval of the overall project cost through their respective government budget processes. Having completed their internal consultation procedures, China, Europe, Japan, Korea and Russia are ready to approve the 2016 Baseline.
Expressing their resolve to work together to find timely solutions to facilitate ITER's success, Council Members reaffirmed their strong belief in the value of the ITER Project to develop fusion science and technology.
Download the full press release in English and French.