Weekly LIPAc highlights (9-13/November)

Start-up of Injector

The PPS test and the HV tests for the injector were successfully performed on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Deuterium gas injection was resumed on Wednesday afternoon but after few hours the pressure in the injector vacuum chamber started to rise. Even at low gas flow rate the stability of the vacuum was not satisfactory. Today the previous configuration using the oil vane rotary pump was reinstalled and vacuum resumed. Plasma production was immediately started to resume the conditioning of the ion source. The vault will now be predominantly closed until mid of December in preparation of the facility inspection.

HEBT (High Energy Beam Transport) commissioning

HEBT magnets – The HEBT quadrupole magnets functional tests were completed for 6 magnets with remote support from CIEMAT: individual automatic cycling tests, simultaneous cycling test and powering at maximum level were carried out this week.

HEBT vacuum – HEBT vacuum functional tests were started resuming the operation of the cryopumps and all went smooth. It is planned to run a long stability test.

The start-up behaviour of the 2 freshly regenerated ionic pumps was tested and demonstrated the effectiveness of the regeneration process. The remaining 2 ionic pumps will be regenerated after the facility inspection.

Disclaimer: the information reported is not meant to be technically complete and doesn’t cover all the activities currently carried out on LIPAc. 

Remote data transfer success

A demonstration of data transfer from the Rokkasho BA site to F4E Garching was conducted on 23/10/2020 through a data diode. The newly connected Central Control Room was used, which is located in the Remote Experimentation Center. Data was transferred successfully, providing a read-only access to all LIPAc live data channels, as a demonstration of remote participation to be used in future LIPAc accelerator operation.

Photo 1: Data transfer test at Central Control Room in Rokkasho
Photo 2: Data transfer test at F4E Garching

General LIPAc status of last week 45 (2-6/November)

Maintenance of Injector vacuum

The replacement of the oil rotary vane primary pump with a dry multi root pump was successfully completed. Performance tests of the oil rotary vane pump and of the dry multi root pump were carried out to ensure adequate performance in pumping H species. The results are considered satisfactory to proceed with the conditioning of the ion source in preparation of the facility inspection. Longer tests will be performed after the facility inspection to further assess the dry pumping performance in pump H2 at high gas flow rates.

It is planned to resume the injector conditioning on 11th of November.

Preparation for injector scroll pumps testing (using a new workbench installed in front of the injector to ease maintenance operation).

HEBT (High Energy Beam transport) commissioning

Checks and fine tuning of the HEBT magnets with CIEMAT remote support are on-going.

The regeneration of one of the four ion pumps of the HEBT was completed successfully. One more ion pump will be regenerated next week before the start of the Injector operation. Two remaining pumps are scheduled to be regenerated after the facility inspection (after mid-December).

Disclaimer: the information reported is not meant to be technically complete and doesn’t cover all the activities currently carried out on LIPAc. 

General current status and a nice technical achievement of last week 44 (26-30/October)

Maintenance of Injector vacuum

After the replacement of the turbomolecular pump last week, this week the replacement of the oil rotary vane primary pump with a dry multi root pump was performed. Operating the injector vacuum system with oil free pumps is considered a major improvement and will eliminate the risk to have oil contamination in the vacuum chamber. Along with the replacement of the pump, performances tests of the oil rotary vane pump and of the dry multi root pump are performed to ensure similar and adequate performances in pumping H species. Next week the tests will be completed and the injector vacuum chamber will be pumped down to nominal vacuum: it is planned to resume the injector conditioning on 9th of November.

HEBT (High Energy Beam transport) commissioning

Checks and fine tuning of the HEBT magnets were resumed with CIEMAT remote support. We are facing some issues with two power supplies of two quadrupoles magnets of the second triplet. Investigations are on-going to minimize the impact on the schedule.

The replacement of the cooling pipes network for the HEBT scrapers in the vault was completed and successfully tested.

Top view of the last section of the HEBT: from bottom to top, the doublet magnet, the dipole and the second triplet.

Disclaimer: the information reported is not meant to be technically complete and doesn’t cover all the activities currently carried out on LIPAc. 

Project Committee #26

22 & 23 October 2020

The 26th Project Committee (PC#26) was held at Rokkasho IFERC Site on October 22nd and 23rd and by video conference. An update of the project status was presented as well as the outlook for 2021.

The main topics discussed were the progress since the last PC#25 and how the Team has adapted to the constraints imposed by the situation with the Covid-19 outbreak. The following main outcomes were reported:

  • Steady progress for the preparation of the beam commissioning at high duty cycle with a deuteron beam at 5 MeV;
  • Start of the commissioning phase of the individual systems;
  • New features to allow the remote participation access to the LIPAc beam operation.

In the frame of the new phase of the Broader Approach, the resuming of the engineering design activities for the fusion neutron source was presented with objectives for the next 5 years.

General current status and a nice technical achievement of last week 43 (19-23/October)

Maintenance of Injector and Injector vacuum

The maintenance of the injector and its annexed LEBT (Low Energy Beam transport) was completed with the maintenance of the EMU (Emittance Meter Unit): visual inspection of tungsten tiles, insulation check among electrodes and ground, check of slit integrity and slit thickness were performed. The slit thickness (0,1mm) was found to be aligned with the values measured last year and judged satisfactory to operate in Phase B+.

EMU extracted from the LEBT (left) and close-up on the EMU slits (right). The EMU aims to measure the emittance profile of the beam.

Before resuming injector operation in November, the maintenance of the injector vacuum chamber has to be completed. This week the former turbomolecular pump was replaced by an identical one.

Replacement of the Injector vacuum chamber turbomolecular pump: the position, size and weight of the pump make this operation challenging. This time the flat bench was newly installed for easy access.

HEBT (High Energy Beam transport) commissioning

The HEBT (High Energy Beam Transport) and the Beam Dump are the last parts of the LIPAc currently in commissioning phase. After few issues on the HEBT cooling skid and one of its vacuum chambers (HEBT sector IV), this week the skid operation was successfully resumed and the vacuum in sector IV recovered after fixing the leak at the viewport flange. From next week the checks and fine tuning of the HEBT magnets can restart with CIEMAT remote support.

Disclaimer: the information reported is not meant to be technically complete and doesn’t cover all the activities currently carried out on LIPAc. 

General current status and a nice technical achievement of last week 42 (12-16/October)

Background information about general status

The LIPAC accelerator is currently shut down and in a planned long-term maintenance phase that is scheduled to be completed at the end of October.

One week intervention completed on 15/10. Modification of the beam line configuration in the MEL (Medium Energy Beam Transport Extension Line): installation of RGBLM (Residual Gas Bunch Length Monitor) chamber.

This is a complex intervention requiring venting of the beam line with N2, disassembly the turbolomecular pump, removing the vacuum chamber and installing a new vacuum chamber equipped with specific port to host the RGBLM sensor. The RGBLM in this position of the line will be an important instrument to monitor the beam in the next campaign.

The new RGBLM chamber after the completion of the installation in the MEL (the turbomolecular pump is placed horizontally and visible in the front)
Extended view of the MEL with the new vacuum chamber for the RGBLM

Disclaimer: the information reported is not meant to be technically complete and doesn’t cover all the activities currently carried out on LIPAc. 

1st Fusion Neutron Source Technical Coordination Meeting

The first Fusion Neutron Source (FNS) technical coordination meeting was held on September 28-29 via videoconference. This meeting follows the EU-JA Workshop on Neutron Source Status and Technologies held under the bilateral agreement in Rokkasho on August 2019.

The objective of this virtual meeting is to further identify areas of collaboration between EU and JA for the neutron source development, and to develop the contents of the future IFMIF/EVEDA activities to be performed in the frame of the BA. In order to progress in the technical content, the FNS activities carried out or planned in EU and in JA were reviewed.

  • Workplans were jointly prepared by the EU and JA contact persons for each topic, providing technical descriptions;
  • Each workplan includes schedule and required budget;
  • Some topics may benefit from LIPAc operation, but LIPAc can only provide limited support as a test bench, and its focus remains the technical feasibility of the neutron source.
  • The strategy is under discussion for sharing the tasks and optimizing the project resources

Actions were agreed:

  • Technical description of workplans are to be further detailed for clarifying the proposed sharing and collaboration activities;
  • Expected EU and JA resources and budget will be refined and balanced, before an agreed proposal is presented to the IFMIF/EVEDA Project Leader.

A 2nd FNS technical coordination meeting is scheduled for November 2021 in Granada (Spain).

IFERC and IFMIF/EVEDA Technical Coordination Meeting on remote participation

A joint IFERC/REC and IFMIF/EVEDA Technical Coordination Meeting was held on July 28-30 via videoconference. The purpose was the following:

  • To take stock of the activities and developments performed in both IFMIF-EVEDA and IFERC projects for remote participation for LIPAc accelerator;
  • To clarify the high-level requirements for remote participation;
  • To discuss the detailed technical issues on various aspects of remote participation, and translate them into practical requirements;
  • To identify preferred solutions, agree on the hardware and software needed in data sharing, and on a distribution of tasks and responsibilities.

The plan of collaboration between REC and LIPAc will be part of a Procurement Arrangement of REC project. The expertise of IFERC team will allow LIPAc team to improve operation and maintenance. The Covid-19 outbreak has highlighted the importance to enhance the Information Technology remote system to allow support from Europe, and also to complete and improve the tools to operate and to manage efficiently the LIPAc accelerator.

In the Technical Coordination Meeting various visions, expectations and needs have been expressed. More discussion and work will be needed to share a common understanding of the high-level requirements, technical tools and preferred solutions to be developed.

This Joint coordination is the beginning of new phase which will enable us to exchange intensively to bring our projects and the Broader Approach site at the cutting edge of technology.  Remote participation systems are not just tools that can improve LIPAc operation. They are research subjects, proposing innovating concepts which will become the future standards.

Real-time information shared between QST and F4E

LIPAc maintenance progress

06 July 2020

LIPAc maintenance activities are on-going. On-sites activities have never stopped, but they were slowed down during a period of recommended teleworking due to Covid-19 outbreak. It is not yet possible for EU experts to travel for supporting activities at the Rokkasho BA site.

The Medium-Energy Beam Transport extension line has been successfully manufactured and installed. It has been designed to transport the beam to the permanent Beam Dump at 5 MeV instead of the cryomodule. LIPAc is now upgraded into its future phase B+ (125 mA, D+, 5 MeV, high duty cycle) configuration, with its High Energy Beam Transport line and the Beam Dump.

Newly installed Medium-Energy Beam Transport extension line

Work is currently on-going with the following activities:

  • Licensing preparation with Japanese authorities;
  • Maintenance of LIPAc systems;
  • Start of a training campaign for operators and experts;
  • Setting remote participation tools to ease and increase participation of EU experts;
  • Resuming of the RFQ conditioning;
  • Preparation to resume operation with Phase B+ objectives.