2012 F4E Annual Report published
Fusion for Energy (F4E) has released its 2012 Annual Report reporting on the progress of Europe’s contribution to ITER and the Broader Approach.
Professor Henrik Bindslev, writing his first foreword as F4E Director said “At the ITER construction site at Cadarache, there is visible evidence demonstrating that the construction of the ITER project is well underway”. Highlights described in the report include the completion of the Poloidal Field coil fabrication building, the completion of works for the tokamak pit and the installation of all 493 concrete plinths and their anti-seismic plinths upon which the foundations of the tokamak building will rest. Work also advanced on the foundations of the assembly building and the systems for drainage as well as other critical networks.
The report describes progress in the development and fabrication of key components for the ITER project. In particular, 68.3 tons of superconducting cable has been produced for the huge magnets that will be required. Mock-ups of the vacuum vessel sectors, made of 60mm thick steel, have been successfully manufactured. The report also describes how agreement has been reached on the detailed designs for components inside the vacuum vessel as well as the systems that will heat the plasma and measure its properties. Progress in the design and development of the Test Blanket Modules is also described in the report.
Mr Stuart Ward, Chair of F4E’s Governing Board, wrote that “ITER has made significant progress in site preparation and in the construction of buildings, facilities and infrastructure for which Europe is principally responsible.” He added that “In other areas of ITER technology under F4E’s responsibility (magnets, vacuum vessel, in-vessel systems, fuel cycle systems, plasma heating systems, diagnostics and Test Blanket mModules), this Annual Report testifies to good progress. Almost 90% of the principal items to be procured by F4E are now agreed and F4E is moving from preparatory activities, such as R&D, prototyping and qualification, to manufacturing and industrial fabrication.”
Many of the figures in the Annual Report speak for themselves. In 2012 over 50 contracts were signed by F4E with European industries and research organisations for a value approaching EUR 750 million and 16 grants with a value of EUR 20 million. By the end of 2012 the total value of running contracts being managed by F4E exceeded EUR 1,600 million. At the same time, 57 new procurement or grant procedures were launched and five new procurement arrangements were signed with the ITER Organization. In 2012 F4E also managed its largest budget to date of just over EUR 1.2 billion in commitments and just under EUR 350 million in payments.
Moving to the Broader Approach (BA) projects, the Satellite Tokamak made considerable progress in 2012. The first European contribution, the cryostat base was manufactured and shipped to Japan on schedule. For the BA’s International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (IFMIF) project, one of the highlights is that the first deuteron beam was extracted from an accelerator source and final acceptance tests were successfully performed. The BA’s International Fusion Energy Research Centre (IFERC) project has made good progress, with two of its three subprojects entering the exploitation phase. In particular, the “Helios” supercomputer was officially inaugurated in March 2012 and was ranked 12th in the world ranking of supercomputers.
Last but by no means least, both the F4E Director and the Governing Board have paid attention to the importance to containing costs in order to response the budget for the European contribution to the project of EUR 6.6 billion (in 2008 values). In late 2012 F4E launched a number of initiatives that will allow F4E to make progress in the development of a new cost baseline and framework for the implementation of cost containment and reduction measures. Efforts to strengthen relations with European industry and research laboratories have also been redoubled in view of achieving optimal sharing of costs and risks. In addition, F4E’s industrial policy was adopted in 2012 and is now in the process of being implemented.
You can either receive a paper copy of the 2012 F4E Annual Report upon request or download it from here.