ITER project reaches licensing milestone; but concerns over schedule remain

25 June 2012

During its tenth meeting in Washington D.C., the ITER Council acknowledged progress towards ITER construction and licensing, but stressed reported slippages to the project schedule need rapid correction.

The Council welcomed the completion of the Tokamak Complex Seismic Pit as all 493 anti-seismic bearings were successfully installed at the site in Cadarache, France.

The ITER Organization also informed the Council that it had received an official letter on 20 June from the French nuclear regulatory authority, ASN, stating that after a thorough 18 month-examination—and taking into account all recommendations made during the examination process—the ITER Organization proposal on the operational conditions and the design of ITER fulfils the expected safety requirements at this stage of the licensing process. In the next weeks, the ASN will transmit to the French government the draft decree that authorizes the creation of the ITER facility. This is a major milestone in the ITER licensing process.

The Council expressed concern over delays in the manufacturing of some major components such as the vacuum vessel. The ITER Organization presented proactive and forward-looking measures to stop further slippage; the implementation of some of these measures has already begun. The Council urged the ITER Organization to further develop and implement a complete schedule recovery strategy in close cooperation with Domestic Agencies. Council members reasserted the necessity of keeping the project well on schedule and within cost.

Several technical decisions have been made to reinforce the ITER project’s ability to stay on schedule. The Council noted the progress made in qualifying high performance superconductors for ITER's Central Solenoid and endorsed the timely manufacture and testing at the Switzerland-based SULTAN facility. The Council also endorsed a strategy for the cold testing for the ITER Toroidal Field Coils.

During the meeting, it was also reported that 76 Procurement Arrangements have been signed to date by the ITER Organization and the respective Domestic Agencies, a figure that represents close to 80% of the total procurement value of ITER construction.

The 20-21 June meeting brought together representatives from all the seven ITER Members—China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States—under the chairmanship of Dr. Hideyuki Takatsu (Japan).




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