Neutral Beam Injectors (NBI), which need to be strongly optimized in the perspective of DEMO reactor, request a thorough understanding of the negative ion source used and of the multi-beamlet optics. A relatively compact RF ion source, named NIO1 (Negative Ion Optimization 1), with 9 beam apertures for a total H current of 130 mA, 60 kV acceleration voltage, is being installed at Padua, in Consorzio RFX, to provide a test bench for source optimizations in the framework of the accompanying activities in support to the ITER NBI test facility. NIO1 construction and status of the overall installation, including a high voltage deck and an optical cavity ring down spectrometer are here summarized and reported. Plasma and low voltage beam operations are discussed. Development of a sampling beam calorimeter (with small sampling holes, and a segmented cooling circuit) is also discussed.

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