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Media Corner
26 October 2016

F4E Director meets with Japanese partners

Johannes Schwemmer and Bernard Bigot visited JT-60SA

Johannes Schwemmer met with Drs Mori, Kurihara, Ishida and Kusama – the top management of the Japanese ITER Domestic Agency QST – in Naka, Japan. The Director discussed issues related to ITER and visited together with ITER Director General Bernard Bigot, the JT-60SA construction site. This was the opportunity to experience the machine up close: Johannes Schwemmer climbed the scaffolding surrounding the JT-60SA tokamak, visited the area where the Toroidal Field (TF) magnets are being prepared for assembly and went to see the cryoplant and power supply installations. He was impressed with the progress that JT-60SA has made while staying within the cost envelope.

The F4E Director saw where the JT-60SA Toroidal Field (TF) magnets are currently being prepared for assembly

The Director’s next meeting was at Toshiba, the company dealing with the assembly of JT-60SA’s Vacuum Vessel, the ITER Toroidal Field (TF) coil cases, and the owner of Mangiarotti – the company which works on the ITER Vacuum Vessel for F4E. Shigenori Shiga, Chairman of the Board of Toshiba Corporation, welcomed him at the headquarters in Kawasaki and assured F4E that Toshiba, having focussed its business units toward the energy sector, fully supports ITER and sees fusion as a key element of their longer term innovation strategy.

At the Toshiba product operations in Yokohama, General Manager Tomohiko Yabu showed Johannes Schwemmer the welding activities on the huge stainless steel coil case components which will be used, partly by F4E, to build ITER’s TF coils. The Director was glad to see how the investments in automation, infrastructure and tooling that Toshiba has made optimise the manufacturing process.

At Rokkasho Fusion Institute, in the very north of the Honshū island, Johannes Schwemmer discussed the Broader Approach collaboration and progress with Kenkichi Ushigusa (Director General), Yoshitaka Ikeda and Shigeru O'hira (Vice-Directors). A visit to the laboratory allowed him to see not only the DEMO research activities, but also the supercomputer HELIOS (one of the IFERC projects) and the impressive progress of installation of the Linear IFMIF Prototype Accelerator (LIPAc). Last but not least, this was an opportunity to understand, over a cup of coffee, how F4E employees and other European researchers live and work in Rokkasho.

The progress of the Broader Approach collaboration was discussed at the Rokkasho Fusion Institute
The F4E Director visit the laboratory of the Rokkasho Fusion Institute

Concluding his visit in Asia, Johannes Schwemmer attended the IAEA Fusion Energy Conference, organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency and held in Kyoto. The conference is a platform for sharing results of nuclear fusion research but also aims to set these results in context with the wider requirements for a net energy producing fusion device and a fusion power plant in general. “My meetings in Japan have been invaluable in understanding the work being done on the ground, in particular for JT-60SA”, says the F4E Director. “We will use these lessons to further F4E’s progress with ITER.”