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Media Corner
03 July 2017

Reinforcing the partnership with the Russian ITER Domestic Agency

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On 12 June F4E’s Director, Johannes Schwemmer, visited the Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics (BINP) near Novosibirsk accompanied by the Head of Russia’s ITER Domestic Agency, Anatoly Krasilnikov. BINP is making some key ITER components including the “port plugs” which house diagnostic systems to measure ITER’s performance. The visit also provided an opportunity to see the negative ion-based neutral beam plasma heating system under development.

The Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics (BINP) located near Novosibirsk is the largest institute in the Russian Academy of Sciences and a world-renowned centre of excellence for particle and plasma physics. Around 2700 staff work at BINP of which some 900 are scientists or engineers. One of the unique aspects of the BINP is that it possesses its own 60,000m2 workshop allowing scientists to develop and manufacture products from scratch.

BINP is involved in several aspects of work related to fusion. In terms of basic fusion research, BINP has its own research programme into alternative devices to the tokamak known as mirror traps. On the applied side, BINP has developed and manufactured around 20 neutral and ion beam systems to heat plasmas in many existing experiments. Finally yet importantly, BINP works with the Russian ITER Domestic Agency to fabricate components for ITER.

BINP Director, Academician Pavel V. Logatchov, welcomed Johannes Schwemmer and Anatoly Krasilnikov and showed them, amongst other things, a recently fabricated full-size mock-up of a key component of the ITER’s equatorial port-plug – the Diagnostic Shield Module as shown below.

Inspecting the full-size mock-up of the Diagnostic Module recently fabricated at BINP (left to right: Aleksandr Burdakov (BINP Deputy Director), Anatoly Krasilnikov (Russian DA Head) and Johannes Schwemmer

As their name suggests, the “port plugs” plug the openings in ITER’s vacuum vessel and act as containers for a variety of diagnostic systems, protecting them from the high-energy neutrons and heat generated by the fusion plasma. BINP is working on both upper and equatorial port plugs (up to 6 x 1.5 x 1.5 metres in size and weighing up to 45 tons). A challenging aspect of the diagnostic shield modules developed by BINP has been to drill holes of 2m length through the special stainless steel with an accuracy of better than 1 mm.

The visit to BINP also provided the opportunity for F4E’s Director to have a tour of the test stand for a negative ion-based neutral injection plasma heating system under development in collaboration with Tri Alpha Energy Inc. in the United States. A similar system, albeit based on a different technical concept, is under development by F4E and other international partners at ITER’s Neutral Beam Test Facility in Padua, Italy.

Visiting the test stand for a negative ion-based neutral injection plasma heating system under development at BINP (left to right: Aleksandr Burdakov (BINP Deputy Director), Yuri Belchenko (BINP Senior Scientist), Johannes Schwemmer and Pavel Logatchov (BINP Director)).

The one-day visit concluded with fruitful discussions on possible areas of future collaboration for ITER. Johannes Schwemmer expressed his deep appreciation for the warm reception in Novosibirsk that had been provided by Academician Logatchov, Drs Krasilnikov, Burdakov and Ivantsivskiy among others.

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