The first large component of the ITER project's magnetic system has arrived at the Institute for Magnetic Fusion Research (IRFM), ready to be tested. This event is worthy of the limelight. Bernard BIGOT, Director-General of ITER Organization, Luo DELONG, Director of the Chinese domestic agency responsible for the supply of ITER components from China, and Alain BECOULET, Director of IRFM, all applauded the delivery of this component weighing several tonnes and exemplifying the international collaboration launched 10 years ago as part of the ITER project.
This impressive component - known as a feeder - measuring almost 8 m long, 4 m high and 2.5 m weighs in at 6.6 tonnes. It is designed to supply liquid helium and power to one of the ITER superconducting coils (poloidal field coil No. 4). The instrumentation cables for this coil are also fed through this component. It will be jointly tested by the CEA and ITER teams, and is the first of 31 feeders to be delivered by China, with each measuring between 30 and 50 metres. A feeder is nonetheless a piece of complex technology comprising superconductors, superconducting power supplies, cryogenic pipes and valves, instrumentation, thermal screens and a vacuum vessel. It will be used to reduce the helium temperature from 300 K to 4 K, i.e. from ambient temperature to -269°C. This is the first in a long series of technological components to arrive onsite, which is concrete proof of the joint efforts of several dozen or sometimes even several hundred people across the world. This component will be positioned in the ring that supports the cryostat before the latter has even been completed. Its delivery is evidence of ongoing progress in the construction of the ITER facility. As for Bernard Bigot: "One day in the not-so-distant future, these components will come together to form a real machine."
This first component will be scrupulously examined at the CEA laboratory called the Magnet Infrastructure Facilities for ITER (MIFI). It will be subjected to high-voltage insulation tests, dimension checks and leak detection tests. The purpose of these tests is to confirm that the feeder operates correctly before its final installation in the tokamak building on the ITER site. Other components will be arriving at IRFM in the coming months, thereby further fostering collaboration between ITER and the CEA, with the latter contributing its expertise and skills to help build this incredible machine.
Last update : 12/13 2017 (644)