Posts Tagged ‘ITER’

And what a story it is!  I was fascinated by this article from the New Yorker subheaded, ‘An audacious plan to create a new energy source could save the planet from catastrophe. But time is running out’.

The journalist Raffi Khatchadourian spent time at the plant north of Aix (more…)

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Trials for moving massive pieces of equipment from the coast at l’Etang de Berre across to the ITER construction site at Cadarache will be taking place over-night for four nights, 16-20th September.  See the map below: (more…)

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There are so many events coming up – Christmassy and otherwise.  Here we go!

The Christmas market is now in full swing down the cours Mirabeau.  The chalets seem to me to be identical to the ones last year and the year before that so they must be able to cover their 2,700€ rental.  Certainly the hot spiced wine chalet and the magic man seemed busy when I walked past.  It’s open 10-19:00hrs daily.  Plus, every day, there will be special events, Corsican singing, medieval dancing, Aixois rap, demos of guide dogs – lots of activities which are listed on www.mairie-aixenprovence.fr/festivites-de-noel-2012 if you haven’t been able to find a flyer.

Tuesday sees the opening of an exhibition of the abstract paintings of Giovanna Buttice and Annick Deroux at the Galerie Aix-positions, 29 rue Lisse des Cordeliers (bottom of Cours Sextius).  It’s on til Saturday Dec 1st and the vernissage is Tuesday at 17:00.

Wednesday is the opening day for the International Market when our twin towns come to Aix to give us a taste, often literally, of their typical food, drinks and crafts.  New this year are stalls from Baalbek, Lebanon, Ashkelon, Israel and Kumamoto, Japan who have just signed a letter of ‘intention de partenariat’ with Aix.  It’s always an interesting event with the people fromPerugia usually drawing a crowd for their Italian goodies.  Bath is the British twin and this year the mayor is attending.  It opens as 12:00 on Wed, then it’s 10-19:00 until 2nd Dec, Place François Villon, Les Allées Provencales.  www.aix-jumelages.com.

On Thursday, photographer Bernard Plossu will be signing copies of his book of photos of Mont Sainte-Victoire at the bookshop Harmoni-Mundi, place du Verdun, at 19:00hrs.  This is a tie-in with his exhibition at the Musée Granet which is on for another couple of weeks.  He’s a really nice guy who speaks English thanks to his years working in the US….and he likes meeting people who are interested in photography.

Friday will be a busy day.  Book In Bar are hosting the Poetry Corner meeting.  This month Sheighle Birdthistle is focusing on War Poetry.  She will introduce WWI poets and has asked people to contribute readings or suggestions of poets from other wars and conflicts. Should be a good session.  17:30hrs.  After that, there’s an expo of paintings at the Deux Garçons which looks interesting.  It’s for artists who either work or whose partners work at Iter.  It’s on the first floor, from 18-22:00hrs, Friday only.

On Saturday, if you still have energy, why not visit the Christmas Fayre at the English Bubble?  You may have seen its owner Caroline this week on the front page of Aix City Local News adorned with lots of union jacks?  Her cultural centre ,which welcomes children and adults who wish to learn English or meet Anglophones, has been a great success.  She also sells lots of English necessities like Heinz beans and marmite and usually has mince pies and crackers at this time of year. The event takes place 14-19:00hrs and there is ceramics painting for children while their parents shop.  453 Ave Jean- Paul Coste, Val St André,  Aix.

Carrefour will be opening from this coming Sunday (2nd) every Sunday until Christmas – and they have parsnips!

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ITER – which means ‘the way’ if you are a Latin scholar or International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor if you aren’tis an international nuclear fusion research and engineering project, which is currently building the world’s largest and most advanced experimental tokamak nuclear fusion reactor at Cadarache just north of Pertuis.

We visited today, a treat for M. Aixcentric, but to my surprise, I found it extremely interesting too.  The guided tours take one hour – we were bused from the car-park into the complex where we saw the massive building site and then went to the visitors’ centre to learn about what is happening there.

The fusion reactor itself will produce 500 megawatts of output power for 50 megawatts of input power, or ten times the amount of energy put in. The core will heat up to 150m degrees, ten times hotter than the sun.  Huge magnets around the reactor will confine the reaction and nearby they are constructing big pools to cool the water before it is released.

I was fascinated by the logistics of the operation.  All the partners (China, Japan, S Korea, Europe, the US and Russia) are supplying components which arrive in France at Fos.  From there they are taken by barge across the Etang de Berre and then by overnight convoys travelling at 5 kph.

This is the sort of driver-less 52-axel truck that will be used, and to smooth its way, bridges are being built alongside existing ones, roads are being widened, power-lines are being buried and round-abouts flattened.

We learned so much about the reactor, the numbers of people being employed, the international school created for their families, their work to preserve the local bio-diversity, their precautions against earthquakes – our guide was really excellent.

I can only suggest you try a tour yourself!  They take place Mon-Fri – email visit@iter.org.  Alternatively have a look at their website www.iter.org which has lots of info and video clips of their progress.


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