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Media Corner
16 August 2017

F4E Director strengthens ties with Chinese ITER colleagues

From right to left: F4E Director J. Schwemmer with Chinese ITER Domestic Agency Director General Prof. D. Luo

​The success of ITER depends on a strong partnership between Europe and the six other countries involved in the project. To this end, F4E's Director, Johannes Schwemmer, accepted an invitation to visit the Chinese ITER Domestic Agency and two major fusion research organisations at the end of July. The status of EU ITER contributions contracted to China was also reviewed, and the visit served to improve the mutual understanding of the organisation of ITER work and explore areas for deeper collaboration in the future.

To begin the visit, productive meetings took place in Beijing with the Head of the Chinese ITER Domestic Agency(CNDA), Professor Delong Luo, and other senior managers from CNDA, which is part of the Ministry of Science and Technology. The participants reviewed the progress of the shared ITER work as well as the status of the work CN DA does for F4E.. Interesting exchanges took place on the organisation of ITER work in Europe and China and possible areas for deeper collaboration in the future.

Leaving Beijing, Johannes Schwemmer visited the Institute of Plasma Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ASIPP) in Hefei.He played an official part in the celebration proceedings for the completion of the first of 31 feeders for the ITER Poloidal Field coils. This is the first ITER magnet component to be completed. During the visit, Professor Yuntao Song, the Deputy Director General of ASIPP, provided a tour of the factory that produces the ITER Toroidal and Poloidal field conductors, as well as of the ITER magnet power supplies test facility. Johannes Schwemmer also visited the factory where ASIPP is manufacturing the 18 superconducting correction coils which will reduce imperfections in ITER's magnetic field. Last but not least he showed the EAST Tokamak – which achieved the major milestone of a 100 s long H-mode plasma just a month earlier.

F4E is responsible for five of the Poloidal Field coils (PF2-PF6) and Russia for one (PF1). Due to their impressive diameter and weight, F4E manufactures PF2-PF5 at the ITER site. ASIPP manufactures the remaining one (PF6) in China through a collaboration agreement between F4E and ASIPP. During his visit Johannes Schwemmer took the opportunity to tour the PF6 coil workshop to see all stages of the coil fabrication from the winding to the impregnation and meet the F4E team. Mr Schwemmer congratulated the Chinese colleagues on meeting the main milestones, in particular, the qualification work and the winding of the dummy double pancake as well as the excellent working relationship between F4E and ASIPP. Building on the good progress achieved, all participants agreed on the importance of maintaining the manufacturing schedule.

To conclude his visit to China, The F4E Director travelled to the Southwestern Institute of Physics (SWIP) in Chengdu. SWIP, like ASIPP, is providing important contributions to the ITER project as well as running fusion research experiments. Professor Xuru Duan, Deputy Director of SWIP, welcomed Johannes Schwemmer and provided a tour of the HL-2A tokamakwhich focuses on research in advanced divertor concepts. Mr Schwemmer also toured the First Wall R&D facility run by SWIP which is well-advanced with developing the production line for the enhanced heat flux panels for the blanket inside the ITER vesselfollowing the successful completion of the stringent ITER qualification programme.

The F4E Director's visit to China served to improve the mutual understanding of the European and Chinese fusion programmes among the two Domestic Agencies and the organisation of ITER in particular. It was an opportunity to acknowledge progress and support, especially for the production of PF6, to learn and exchange views, and ultimately to strengthen collaboration. "I was very impressed by the progress made by China in its contributions to ITER and the far-sighted vision for future fusion energy development. I am personally grateful to our Chinese hosts for the time they devoted to our visit and their warm hospitality which greatly exceeded our expectations," said Johannes Schwemmer.

From left to right: J. Schwemmer (F4E Director) presenting F4E’s work and stakeholders during the meeting at the Chinese ITER DA with Dr M. Wang (Director), Dr T. Fang (Director) and Prof. D. Luo (Director General)
The F4E Director visited the ITER PF6 coil manufacture workshop
In front of the EAST tokamak: J. Schwemmer, Prof Y. Song and R. Monk
During the meeting at SWIP with Prof. D. Luo, Prof X. Duan and other colleagues
The F4E Director with Prof. D. Luo, Prof. X. Duan and other colleagues in front of the HL-2A tokamak