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Mark Verbeek - Master graduation project at ITER

Master graduation project at ITER - Caderache, France
Report by Mark Verbeek. Powered by FuseNet

As part of my master graduation project, I had to spent some time at the ITER-site in Cadarache, which is in the south of France. Working at ITER was a lot of fun, even though I was alone in the office during the first weeks of my stay. At first, it was also quite weird that I could see the construction pit of what is supposed to become the world's largest fusion reactor, right outside my office window.

Fortunately, I was soon joined by a Japanese coworker and a Czech PhD student. It’s always nice to have some company when working. During the last couple of weeks, our student group even grew to consist of 5 members, coming from Japan, Russia, the United States, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands. I really enjoyed meeting all of them and working in this international environment.

It was also very nice to work with the other scientists at ITER. They were all very kind and they really know a lot about fusion research, especially those of them who are now working in the field for several decades. The conversations during lunch time were also very interesting, in particular the ones about the current status of the ITER project.

My supervisor at ITER is currently working on JOREK, a non-linear MHD code, which is mainly used to study the non-linear evolution of the MHD instabilities. During my project, I have been using the JOREK-code to predict the amplitude of the Edge-localised modes (ELMs) that are expected to occur for different divertor conditions in ITER. Based on these simulations, I have made a comparison of the ELM energy losses in low and high recycling divertor conditions and an overview of the change in energy deposition of ELMs on the divertor targets for different amount of gas injection.

During my time at ITER, I have also been playing rugby with the third team of the local rugby club, which was their leisure team. The team trained twice a week and they played just for fun. The team consisted mostly of French players and since I do not speak French and many of them did not really speak English, communication was often quite difficult. However, it was very nice to be able to keep playing. Later on, I also trained with their first team and I could easily keep up with them.

I have had a good time in France, even though I do not necessarily want to go back there. However, I do like to work for the ITER project in the future in some kind of way.