F4E’s Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) for the design of Diagnostic components for the ITER Plasma Position Reflectometry is signed. Amounting to 3.5 million EUR for a period of up to four years, the FPA has been awarded to a consortium consisting of three EURATOM associations: Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), from Portugal; Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT), from Spain; and Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Istituto di Fisica del Plasma "Piero Caldirola" (IFP-CNR), from Italy. The FPA concerns the design of the Plasma Position Reflectometry components (antennas, waveguides, microwave electronics and real-time analysis software) for the Diagnostics systems. The antennas and waveguides launch and receive a radio frequency signal in the range 15-75 GHz which is assessed by microwave electronics and real-time analysis software to determine the density profile at the plasma edge and the distance between the plasma and tokamak wall. Control of the plasma density profile is important in order to keep the plasma stable and prevent it from touching the wall, leading to a plasma disruption which would stop the fusion process.
So what exactly is a Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA)? It establishes a long-term collaboration (for up to 4 years) with a beneficiary or consortium (i.e. group of beneficiaries). The Agreement defines a set of rules (i.e. a framework) for conduct of the work; with the work itself performed under separate specific grants agreements. The FPA is well-fitted to projects requiring mostly R&D and design and where the design is at its first stages. It is ideal for Diagnostics, where designs are usually ‘first-of-a-kind’ and require a large, specialised design base; and need long continuity of the design team. A further advantage of the FPA is that it enables F4E to have stronger project management roll, to steer the work and to develop a better collaboration with the recipient of the Agreement.
The FPA for the design of Diagnostic components for the ITER Plasma Position Reflectometry covers R&D, engineering, quality support and managerial activities, and testing from functional specifications, up to the supply of an F4E-approved final design. It will bring together the work of some 30 physicists and engineers per year.