The Blanket Integrated Project Team (BIPT) quarterly meeting, hosted by F4E on 14-15 May, gathered the Integrated Project Team for the ITER blanket consisting of ITER IO representatives and the Domestic Agencies from China, Russia as well as F4E in order to work together and share information on the design and activities of the blanket project.
The blanket is the part of the ITER machine that acts as a first barrier and protects the vacuum vessel, the heart of the ITER machine, from the neutrons and other energetic particles that are produced by the hot plasma. F4E is responsible for the supply of about 50% of the ITER first wall panels of the blanket (Russia contributes 38% and China the remaining 12%), which encompasses 218 panels. Each panel consists of a stainless steel support structure bonded to a heat sink material and beryllium tiles. The heat sink material is made up of a copper alloy which transfers the heat generated from the plasma to the water coolant, while the beryllium tiles act as an interface for the plasma. F4E also contributes with the manifolds, the stainless steel piping system used to bring cooling water to the inner in–vessel components. The series fabrication for the first wall panel will start in 2017, and the procurement for the manifolds in 2016.
During the BIPT meeting, two issues which have implications for the blanket design were in special focus. Firstly neutronics, due to the fact that the neutrons generated in deuterium–tritium plasmas (as will be produced in ITER) deeply penetrate into surrounding components where they cause damage which has repercussions for the performance and lifetime when shielding is not effective enough; and secondly, the new and more refined calculations of the values of the power that will be deposited in the ITER Vacuum Vessel have seen an important increase. In general, the meeting was very fruitful, enabling work to advance and communication to be enhanced.