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STAC reviews ITER progress.

The 14th meeting of the ITER Science and Technology Advisory Committee (STAC) took place at the ITER Headquarters, from 14-16 May. The STAC advises the ITER Council on two areas: the monitoring of ongoing project activity and the assessment of new proposals which imply a change in the ITER Baseline. The work at every meeting is based on the "STAC charges" adopted by the ITER Council. It assesses input from the ITER Organization that replies to recommendations previously made by the STAC and answers questions implied in the STAC charges.

One of the first agenda items was to review the project schedule from a technical point of view. STAC analyzed the technical causes of delays, including aspects which are midway between the technical and the managerial world such as configuration control, quality control, process control, etc. STAC 14 continued to express its concern about delays in the project. They considered a number of systems to be "critical or supercritical," which means that they drive the First Plasma schedule. STAC 14 stated that the "buildings, vacuum vessel, poloidal field coils and even the toroidal field coils could come into this category if delays are not stemmed." They said, "In addition, the "microschedule" reflected in the milestone achievement index and similar management parameters also indicates delays." The STAC did, however, acknowledge organizational efforts and the implementation of recovery plans in order to mitigate the delays.

In addition to technical analysis of the schedule, STAC also looked at deferrals, i.e., procurements which are proposed to be delayed in order to free resources for other items that are needed in earlier phases of the project. STAC stated that they were "worried about the deferred implementation of some systems, in particular diagnostics, and we have requested the ITER Organization to make every possible effort to implement those systems in time in order to avoid delays to the deuterium-tritium campaign derived from a slow implementation of the research plan."

This STAC meeting had the responsibility to make a clear recommendation on an important technical decision: whether or not to include in-vessel coils for ELM control in the Baseline. After they evaluated the specific problems that a lack of ELM control could cause, in particular when operating with a tungsten divertor, their unanimous recommendation was to include the coils in the ITER Baseline. They concluded that the "potential benefits of the use of the coils in achieving ITER's mission outweigh the risks, which were found to be very modest taking into account the solid design of the coils and the fact that they will be thoroughly tested during the non-nuclear phase." STAC expects to make a recommendation next October for another key technical decision: the material for the first ITER divertor (tungsten or carbon).
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Title Annotation:International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor; Science and Technology Advisory Committee
Publication:Fusion Power Report
Article Type:Conference notes
Geographic Code:4EUFR
Date:Jul 1, 2013
Words:458
Previous Article:Calendar.
Next Article:Senators request GAO investigation of U.S. ITER costs.
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