Nuclear Fusion: Iter Renews Contract with Framatome

The Iter Organization has renewed its trust in Framatome and its Chinese partners with a significant new contract. This contract focuses on the assembly of the vacuum chamber modules of the tokamak.

In 2019, the Franco-Chinese consortium CNPE signed the TAC-1 contract for the assembly and installation of various Tokamak modules. The five members[1] of the same consortium met again at the Cadarache site to extend this contract until 2027. Originally, the TAC-1 contract was focused on the assembly of several key elements of the tokamak, such as the cryostat and its thermal shield, magnetic power supplies, central solenoid, poloidal field, and correction coil magnets, as well as cooling structures and instruments.

Framatome announces that “this consortium is now responsible for a scope of intervention that goes beyond the assembly of the Tokamak, including the pre-assembly, transfer, and positioning, to the millimetre in the reactor pit, of components making up the nine sectors of the vacuum torus, each weighing 1350 tonnes.” The manufacturing of these nine sectors of the vacuum torus is shared between Europe and South Korea. Two have already been manufactured, with one already delivered by the Korean agency and the other awaiting validation of acceptance tests before shipment.

Photo: Assembly of one of ITER’s tokamak modules, Credit: ©Framatome

The completion of these operations, entrusted to the consortium, will mark a significant milestone in the progress of the Iter project. Catherine Cornand, vice president of Framatome and signatory of the contract, is delighted with the trust placed once again in the company: “This contract is a recognition of the performance of our teams deployed on the Iter project. Our missions are extended until 2027 to support this fusion project, which remains one of the most ambitious technological challenges in the world today.”

As a reminder, Iter is a project located in France, near Cadarache, involving more than 35 countries. Its purpose is to demonstrate the feasibility of nuclear fusion as a large-scale, carbon-free energy source using a tokamak. No electricity for commercial purposes will be produced at Iter. ■

By François Terminet (Sfen)

Photo: Photos of the consortium members on the day of the contract signing, Credit: ©CNNC, ©Framatome, ©ITEROrganization [1] China Nuclear Power Engineering; China Nuclear Industry 23 Construction Company Ltd.; Southwestern Institute of Physics; Institute of Plasma Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences ASIPP; and Framatome