US ITER project completes management team

August 17, 2006

A team of scientists and engineers has been chosen to manage the United States' role in a multinational project to harness the power of fusion, the project manager announced Monday.

Completing a process that began October 1, 2005, the 12-member contractor team will manage the U.S. contribution to ITER. ITER is a global initiative to build the world's most advanced magnetic fusion experimental facility, said Ned Sauthoff, head of the U.S. ITER Project Office at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

"This team will help chart the nation's course for one of the largest energy-science projects in history," Sauthoff said. "Each member brings the outstanding technical abilities, strong management skills and experience, and the determination needed to make ITER a success. With these appointments, we are off to a great start."

ITER, Latin for "the way," is an international experiment to hasten the demonstration of the feasibility of power from fusion -- the process which heats the sun and stars. The goal of fusion research, including ITER, is to develop the knowledge base needed for an economically attractive fusion energy source.

The U.S. ITER project team members are:

• Dr. Ned Sauthoff, Project Manager, who has joined ORNL after completing a distinguished career at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, where he served as U.S. ITER's planning officer for 18 months before becoming US ITER Project Manager in February. A leading coordinator of international fusion research activities, he headed PPPL's Offsite Research Department, which supports fusion research collaborations around the world. He is a former president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers-USA.

• Mr. Carl Strawbridge, Deputy Project Manager, of ORNL, who served as Deputy Project Manager for the Department of Energy's $1.4 billion Spallation Neutron Source at ORNL. His over 25 years of technical project management and industrial engineering experience includes top leadership positions in several US Navy nuclear-capable shipyards.

• Mr. Brad Nelson, Engineering Manager, of ORNL, group leader in Fusion Energy Division and principal developer for projects such as the Quasi-Poloidal Stellarator at ORNL; the High Power Prototype antenna for the Joint European Torus; and the National Compact Stellarator Experiment at ORNL and PPPL.

• Mr. Jeff Geouque, Project Procurement Director, of ORNL, currently the manager for the SNS procurement group and worked on international agreements in technology transfer at Argonne National Laboratory.

• Dr. John Miller, Magnet Systems Team Leader, who has returned to ORNL from Florida State University, where he directed the construction of the $12 million 45-Tesla Hybrid Magnet System, the highest steady state magnetic field in the world for research, at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. He also was director of the lab's Magnet Science and Technology Department.

• Ms. Jan Berry, Cooling Water Systems Team Leader, of ORNL, a senior engineer and program manager in the Engineering Science and Technology Division, who has managed large industrial contracts, complex projects, and multi-disciplinary teams in development of prototype thermal energy recovery and electricity generation systems.

• Mr. Charles Neumeyer, Electric Power Systems Team Leader, of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) who was project engineering manager of the National Spherical Torus Experiment at PPPL, a $25M project for fusion energy research .

• Dr. Dave Johnson, Diagnostics Team Leader, of PPPL, who has served as Division Head of Diagnostic Development for PPPL experimental activities in fusion facilities around the world, and also managed diagnostic development for the National Spherical Torus Experiment and led diagnostics planning for the National Compact Stellarator Experiment, also at PPPL. He is the coordinator for US participation in diagnostic work in the International Tokamak Physics Activity.

• Mr. Mike Hechler, Blanket Shielding and Port Limiter Systems Team Leader, of ORNL, most recently senior engineer for the SNS Accelerator Systems Division, responsible for the design integration and installation of proton accelerator systems. He also designed the high energy particle detector subsystem for the DOE's Superconducting Super Collider.

• Dr. Dave Rasmussen, Vacuum Pumping and Fueling, Ion and Electron Cyclotron Systems Team Leader, of ORNL, group leader of the Plasma Applications and Technology Group in the Fusion Energy Division. Rasmussen is a leader in U.S. projects for plasma heating, including experiments at Japan's National Institute for Fusion Science and Germany's Max Plank Institute for Plasma Physics.

• Mr. Don Green, Tritium Plant Exhaust Processing Manager, of Savannah River National Laboratory (SRNL) currently Director of Engineered Equipment and Systems at SRNL and has led development of equipment in robotics, computer modeling, electrical instrumentation and other areas. He was Chief Engineer for Tritium Facilities at Westinghouse Savannah River Company, where he oversaw enrichment, processing and compression of gaseous tritium.

• Ms. Suzanne Herron, Project Controls Manager, of ORNL, who most recently was Project Management Controls and Information Systems Manager for the SNS, playing a vital role in keeping the SNS project -- a collaboration of six national laboratories -- on schedule and on budget. She also headed the SNS Records Management and Document Control Program, overseeing computer software systems to support SNS business and technical data.

As US ITER Project Manager for UT-Battelle, Sauthoff will direct all non-governmental aspects of U.S. involvement with the international ITER project, include securing technical assistance from within U.S. fusion community labs, universities and industries; procuring and shipping U.S. hardware contributions; arranging for U.S. personnel to work abroad at the ITER site; and representing the U.S. to the international ITER organization on construction and preparation for ITER operations.

On February 1, 2006, the DOE announced the move from PPPL to ORNL to optimize the roles of the two DOE national labs and allow the project to take better advantage of project management experience gained by ORNL in construction of the SNS.

Officially completed in May, SNS is the world's premier neutron scattering facility and reestablishes U.S. leadership in the next generation of materials research.

Project management teams also are being named for the six other ITER partners: China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea, and the Russian Federation. The project is to be located in the European Union site at Cadarache, France.

Construction of the ITER facility is expected to begin in 2008 and be operational in 2016, enabling fusion research on burning plasma physics and technology for up to 20 years.

Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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