Europe is responsible for the production of the nine Pre-Compression Rings (PCRs) which will absorb the fatigue and deformation felt by the ITER Toroidal Field (TF) coils. Three of them will be placed on top of the TF coils and another three below them. An extra set of three will be kept in reserve.
The teams of F4E and ASIPP (The Institute of Plasma Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences) have every reason to be happy with the manufacturing progress of ITER’s sixth Poloidal Field coil (PF6)—they are only a few steps away from the finish line for this magnetic ring which has a 10 m diameter and a total weight of 400 t. The first of the six PF coils which will be part of ITER’s powerful magnetic system is almost ready.
A major ITER component, the Vacuum Vessel is the steel container where the fusion reactions will take place. F4E is responsible for manufacturing and delivering five of the nine first-of-a-kind, gigantic D-shaped parts known as sectors which make up the Vacuum Vessel and which will each measure 6.5 metres high, 3 metres wide and 6.3 metres deep, and weigh around 500 tonnes.
The morning shift comes to an end and a group of 160 workers involved in the construction of the Tokamak building is ready to go. Almost in perfect coordination they leave this labyrinth of concrete and steel wearing their hard hats, glasses, gloves and jackets to hand over to the next shift. Roughly 350 people are working round the clock during the three shifts. It has been a long day because there have been some new developments on-site: the first pieces of the 40 steel columns that will be erected to form the roof of the Tokamak building are here.
After a small hiatus required for the maintenance of equipment, the teams of engineers from Europe and Japan working for the Broader Approach IFMIF/EVEDA project are back in the control room to switch on again the beam of LIPAc – a prototype accelerator that will help them to validate the design of the future neutron source to test material for DEMO, the fusion machine to follow ITER.
A blanket of 440 modules covering a surface of 600 m² will protect the inner walls of the ITER Vacuum Vessel and the Toroidal Field coils from the scorching temperatures of the fusion reaction and the high-energy resulting from it.
Inside the clean room workshop of De Pretto Industrie (Vincenza) a team of technicians is inspecting the large stainless steel vessel. The vessel has passed successfully the Factory Acceptance Tests (FAT) proving it is leak tight. It will house the beam source of MITICA – a testbed which will allow industry to manufacture for the first time a real-size Neutral Beam Injector (NBI) according to ITER specifications, and give the opportunity to physicists and engineers to monitor its performance before the “real” component is produced to operate in ITER.
The F4E team is carrying out a routine inspection at CNIM (La Seyne sur Mer) before the machines are switched on to start fabricating the ITER Pre-Compression Rings (PCRs). The raw material to be used –pultrude laminate— comes from Exel, a company based in Finland. This is a genuinely European collaboration connecting north and south. The workforces have been briefed. Their mission is to produce all of the nine PCRs (six plus three spare). The prototypes produced by CNIM have responded well to the demanding tests they had to go through. Now is the time to start the production of the ITER PCRs which will be installed in the machine.
DEMO – the demonstration fusion machine to follow ITER— has always been a bit of an enigma.What will it look like, how many buildings will it have, will it resemble to ITER? F4E and EUROfusion joined forces to develop the first illustration of the entire power plant.
Teams from Europe and Japan are working relentlessly with companies and laboratories to design and manufacture the pieces of equipment that will allow us to perform these tasks. Man-in-the-loop robotics such as manipulators, movers, cranes and actuators will be deployed to work with extreme precision.
The International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (IFMIF)/ Engineering Validation and Engineering Design Activities (EVEDA) is one of the Broader Approach (BA) projects financed by Europe and Japan to perform research and to develop equipment in support of fusion.
A workforce of 1 900 people is working round the clock to conclude the works of the biggest fusion experiment.
Jean Arthuis, Chairman of the Budget Committee of the European Parliament visited the ITER site on 1 February 2019. The French MEP, and former Minister of National Economy and Finance, was welcomed on the site by Bernard Bigot, ITER Director-General, Johannes Schwemmer, F4E Director, and Jan Panek, Head of the ITER unit at European Commission´s Directorate-General for Energy.
When there is a will there is a way. Scientists from CEA’s WEST (Tungsten Environment in Steady-State Tokamak) fusion experiment, Cadarache, France, “hosted” virtually in their control room several of the colleagues siting in the Remote Experimentation Centre (REC), Rokkasho, Japan.
The Budgetary Control Committee of the European Parliament, chaired by German MEP Ingeborg Graessle, organized a public hearing on the added value of EU funding on 21 January 2019.