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INTERNATIONAL THERMONUCLEAR EXPERIMENTAL REACTOR : ITER MEMBERS AGREE TO PREVENT FURTHER SCHEDULE SLIPPAGE.

High-level representatives of the seven ITER members agreed, on 6 September, to accelerate the construction of the experimental reactor to catch up with delays. Convening for a meeting at ministerial level in Saint Paul-lez-Durance, France, they agreed to "stop collectively schedule slippage" through accelerated procedures and a better integration of works. The in-kind contributions of the ITER members have been divided into approximately 140 procurement arrangements, which proves quite complex to manage. "The final design of the reactor was finalised quite late and on top of that it's the first project of its kind," ITER organisation sources told Europolitics energy .

"The latest schedule submissions show several significant delays with respect to the schedule that leads to the first plasma production in November 2020," explained Osamu Motojima, director-general of the ITER organisation. He identified four major causes for the delay: procurement arrangement signatures and contract awards; document approval; design completion and review; and project change request control. "Priority is given to stopping the slippage within several months, then we can move on to the next step: schedule recovery." The ITER organisation has committed to "complete a consolidated and realistic schedule" within a year or so "to make the transition of its organisational structure from design and fabrication of components to machine integration, commissioning and testing". Intensive technical discussions have been and will be held with the domestic agencies and their manufacturing and construction contractors to investigate the possibility of schedule recovery, Motojima said. He agreed to implement an independent assessment of the project schedule. His road map includes redistributing resources to super-critical, critical and high-risk systems; strengthen delegation of authority to accelerate decision making; and encourage integration to deliver the critical activities on time. "We understand that the ITER project is a historic undertaking and that intensive efforts and innovative methods will be required to meet all the challenges that still lay ahead, especially the challenge of staying within a tight but realistic schedule while containing costs," Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger has said.

ACHIEVEMENTS

Motojima cited "good progress" on ITER site since the start of its construction in 2010: 82.17% of the contracts have now been signed between domestic agencies and leading industrial players, and 92% of the essential milestones had been achieved up to June. It took three years to adapt the roads, bridges and roundabouts of the 104 kilometre ITER ittinerary to the needs of the exceptional convoys that will transport ITER components arriving by sea. Material from China was already delivered to the ITER site on 3 June and a test convoy will arrive at ITER on 20 September. The first large components are expected on site in June 2014 in time for assembly to begin.

Financing

For long-term financing beyond 2013, the EU reached an agreement, in February, to reintegrate ITER into the EU budget. The EU capped its contribution at 6.6 billion euro for the period 2007-2020.

The estimated cost of ITER construction for the seven members is 13 billion euro. The EU and Switzerland have to foot approximately 45.5% of the construction costs, while China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the US will contribute approximately 9.1% each. France's contribution, representing approximately 20% of the total EU budget, was estimated at 1.1 billion euro for the ten-year construction phase. The lion's share (90%) of contributions will be delivered in kind. That means that rather than cash, the members will deliver components and buildings directly to the ITER organisation. For the operation phase (2019-2037), the sharing of costs amongst the members will be as follows: Europe 34%, Japan and the US 13%, and China, India, Korea, and Russia 10%. Operation (2020-2037) and decommissioning (2037-2042) should cost around 12 billion euro.
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Publication:Europe Energy
Date:Sep 18, 2013
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