Field Coils

Manufacturing milestone achieved in Europe

The first step in the fabrication of the full-size, superconducting prototype of a toroidal field coil double pancake has been successfully carried out in Europe. Winding was completed at the beginning of August at the ASG premises in La Spezia, Italy. The European Domestic Agency, Fusion for Energy, is responsible for procuring ten toroidal field coils (and Japan, nine). These D-shaped coils will be operated with an electrical current of 68,000 amps in order to produce the magnetic field that confines and holds the plasma in place. Toroidal field coils will weigh approximately 300 tons, and measure 16.5 m in height and 9.5 m in width. Each one of ITER’s toroidal field coils will contain seven double pancakes. These double pancakes are composed of a length of superconductor, which carries the electrical current, and a stainless steel D-shaped plate called a radial plate, which holds and mechanically supports the conductor through groves machined on both sides along a spiral trajectory. The first stage of toroidal field coil manufacturing—the winding of the double pancakes—is the most challenging. It consists of bending the conductor length along a D-shaped double spiral trajectory. As the conductor must fit precisely inside the radial plate groove, it is vital to control its trajectory in the double pancake and in the groove of the radial plate with extremely high accuracy. The trajectory of the conductor, in particular, must be controlled with an accuracy as high as 0.01 percent. For this reason, the winding line employs a numerically controlled bending unit as well as laser-based technology to measure the position and the dimensions of the conductor. The winding takes place in an environment with a controlled temperature of 20 °C +/-1 C, at an average speed of 5 m of conductor per hour. Czytaj dalej...

Toroidal field coils: strand production passes 400 tons

„Toroidal field strand procurement is going rather well,” reports Arnaud Devred, who heads the Superconductor Systems & Auxiliaries Section at ITER. „We are on schedule.” Manufactured by suppliers in six ITER Domestic Agencies—China, Europe, Japan, Korea, Russia and the USA—production of niobium-tin (Nb3Sn) superconducting strand for ITER’s toroidal field coils began in 2009 and has now topped 400 tons. That’s more than 80,000 kilometres of strand—enough to go around the world twice at the Equator. Worldwide capacity has had to ramp up significantly to meet the Project’s demand. There are eight qualified suppliers for ITER, including three that are new to the market (one in China, one in Korea and one in Russia). In 2011 and 2012, these eight suppliers, together, turned out over 100 tons annually. „One hundred tons per annum represents a spectacular increase in the worldwide production of this multifilament wire which was estimated, before ITER production, at a maximum of 15 tons per year,” says Devred. „As you would expect, the price has come down, and this ‚surge’ in production for ITER may well open up new markets.” Eighteen toroidal field coils will be produced for ITER plus a nineteenth (a spare). That’s approximately 420 tons of strand, give or take a bit of spare material planned by each Domestic Agency. The production curve will begin to flatten in 2013 (see graph above) as contracts are brought to a close in several Domestic Agencies. Devred estimates the market value of the toroidal field strand procurement at over EUR 200 million. „It has been very satisfying to see this procurement unfold and to watch our international collaboration develop at every step in the process,” says Devred. &# Czytaj dalej...

A visit to Mitsubishi’s Futami plant

Of the 19 toroidal field coils that will be produced for ITER (18 for Tokamak assembly, plus one spare), 9 will be procured by Japan. The Japanese Domestic Agency has contracted with four major Japanese and Korean companies—Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, Japan (main contractor, coil case manufacturer #1); Mitsubishi Electric Corporation, Japan (winding pack manufacturer #1); Toshiba, Japan (winding pack manufacturer #2); and finally Hyundai Heavy Industry, Korea (coil case manufacturer #2 ). Two weeks ago, participants to the Unique ITER Team (UIT) activities that followed the Twelfth ITER Council in Japan (19-20 June) had the opportunity to visit Mitsubishi Heavy Industry’s Futami facility near Kobe, where the first toroidal field coil will be wound and integrated. Installation of the winding equipment at the Futami facility should be completed in September, allowing for dummy winding to proceed until the end of the year. Double pancake dummy winding should begin in early 2014. The visit of the winding workshop and a discussion on the schedule presented by Mitsubishi Heavy Industry left the ITER guests with „a strong feeling of confidence,” says Head of IO-DA Coordination Songtao Wu. Czytaj dalej...

2nd batch of Russian TF conductors en route to Italy

The superconductors for the ITER magnet system are among the longest-lead production items for the project; the first five Procurement Arrangements concluded by the ITER Organization between late 2007 and mid-2008 concerned the conductors for the toroidal field magnet system. The Russian Domestic Agency is responsible for 20 percent of toroidal field conductor procurement and 14 percent of poloidal field conductor procurement. Production is ongoing according to the schedule of the Procurement Arrangements. On 25 June, the second batch of toroidal field conductor unit lengths started on their way from the premises of the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow to the city of La Spezia, Italy, where the winding of ten toroidal field coils will take place. Demonstrating the attachment of Russian industry to fulfill its contractual obligations on time, two 415-metre production lengths of niobium-tin (Nb3Sn) conductor for toroidal field side double-pancakes were loaded onto trucks at the Institute. This latest shipment follows the delivery of four conductor unit lengths to Europe in October 2012, including a copper dummy and a 100-metre qualification length. Seven similar units lengths have passed all of the tests stipulated in the Procurement Arrangement and meet ITER Organization requirements; they will, in turn, be shipped as well. Czytaj dalej...

China delivers first load to ITER

It’s a long road from the Institute of Plasma Physics (ASIPP) in Hefei, China to the ITER site in southern France: 500 kilometres by route to the port of Shanghai; some 10,000 nautical miles from Shanghai to the port of Marseille-Fos; another hundred kilometres for the last leg of the journey, from Fos to the ITER site. The distance was covered by trucks and the container ship Lyra in 38 days. Three crates that had been loaded at Hefei on 25 April were delivered to the Poloidal Field Coils Winding Building on Monday 2 June, three days ahead of schedule. The crates contained the first batch of ITER items delivered by ITER China to the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy (F4E): 737 metres of dummy conductor, in three lengths, to be tested in a mockup of poloidal field coil number five (PF5). The 25-ton load was also the first ITER item to enter the large on-site winding facility. „The conductor will be used to test the whole fabrication process,” explained Neil Mitchell, head of the ITER Magnets Division, as the crates were being unloaded and inspected. „This copper conductor will be wound, tested for tolerance, insulated, impregnated under vacuum and formed into a ‚double pancake’ in the same way the actual superconducting niobium-titanium conductor will be handled by F4E at a later stage. What matters here are the mechanical properties, which are similar in both the copper dummy and the actual superconductor.” An ITER load, even when it’s only a dummy component destined for mockup testing, is not an ordinary load. The transport crates were equipped with several monitoring devices to record movement and accelerations throughout the journey; other systems monitored the pressure inside the conductors, which are filled with pressurized inert gas, to confirm that there Czytaj dalej...

Full house for 3rd ITER Open Doors Day

Spring 2013 may have been the coldest in southern France in over 25 years, but luckily Saturday 1 June, the first day of the meteorological summer, was warm and sunny and the weather conditions were perfect for the third ITER Open Doors Day. To give the public an overview of the progress on site since the last time ITER opened its doors, visitors were first driven up to the ITER Visitors Centre which offers a panoramic view of the 42-hectare ITER platform. In addition to explanations provided by ITER guides, visitors had access to a short film explaining the background and the challenges of the project, mockups of the ITER Tokamak and the construction site, a 3D video of the inside of the machine, and a workshop on the biodiversity of the site.  Bus tours left every 20 minutes from the Visitors Centre for the second part of the program: a guided tour of the worksite. The highlight of this year’s site tour was a stop inside the 257-metre-long Poloidal Field Coils Winding Facility where five of the six ITER poloidal field coils will be manufactured. The huge 40-ton circular spreader beam overhead particularly impressed the visitors. Thirteen hundred visitors participated in the third Open Doors Day. Feedback on the day’s events was again very positive, so rendez-vous next year at Open Doors Day #4! Click here to view a selection of photos of ITER Open Door Day. Czytaj dalej...

STAC Chair reflects on latest meeting

The 14th meeting of the Science and Technology Advisory Committee (STAC) took place recently at the ITER Headquarters, from 14-16 May. We had the honour to be the first committee that met in the impressive Council Room after it was inaugurated by the ITER Council last November. The STAC advises the ITER Council on two areas: the monitoring of ongoing project activity and the assessment of new proposals which imply a change in the ITER Baseline. The work at every meeting is based on the „STAC charges” adopted by the ITER Council. We assess the input from the ITER Organization that replies to recommendations made by the STAC and answers questions implied in the STAC charges. The preparation of each STAC meeting involves an important work load on key ITER Organization staff and, as Chair of the STAC, I am aware that we must be careful with the amount of work that our requirements put on ITER Organization resources. I must also recognize the high overall quality of the reports and presentations delivered to our committee. One of the first agenda points since I have participated in the STAC is the review of the project schedule from a technical point of view. Essentially, we analyze the technical causes of delays, including aspects which are midway between the technical and the managerial world such as configuration control, quality control, process control, etc. As is happened in previous meetings, STAC 14 continued to express its concern about delays in the project. A number of systems are „critical or supercritical,” which means that they drive the First Plasma schedule, amongst them buildings, vacuum vessel, the poloidal field coils … and even the toroidal field coils could come into this category if delays are not stemmed. In addition, the „microschedule” reflected Czytaj dalej...

Let there be light!

Once the components of the ITER Tokamak are assembled and individually verified, a delicate and complex series of operations will be necessary before lighting the fire of First Plasma. Commissioning, as this phase is called, means that all the different systems of the machine—vacuum, cryoplant, magnets—will be tested together in order to verify that the whole installation behaves as expected. These commissioning operations all converge toward one point: the breakdown of the gas inside the vacuum vessel. It happens in the following way: Initially, the toroidal field coils are electrically charged. Then the varying electrical current in the central solenoid and poloidal field coils generates an electric field around the torus of the tokamak causing the atoms in the gas to collide with the accelerated electrons. The gas in the vacuum vessel becomes ionized (electrons are stripped from the atoms) and reaches the state of plasma. „At this moment,” explains Woong Chae Kim who joined ITER two months ago as Section Leader for Commissioning and Operations, „First Plasma will be achieved and the commissioning process will be over.” ITER commissioning is expected to last more than two years and every step—from vacuum vessel leak-testing to the electrical charging of the magnets—will bring its own challenges. Woong Chae, however, is confident. „In the long history of tokamaks, start-up operations have never failed. Technically, I am not afraid. I’ve done it before …” „Before” was five years ago, when Woong Chae was in charge of plasma commissioning at KSTAR. On 13 June 2008, following six months of commissioning operations, the large Korean tokamak (and the first to implement superconducting niobium-tin coils) achieved a First Plasma that surpassed th Czytaj dalej...

First hardware afloat from China

On Thursday 25 April, the morning silence at the Institute of Plasma Physics (ASIPP) in Hefei, China, was broken by the noise of a high powered trailer. Inside the superconductor shop of ASIPP, workers were busy preparing to load the 737 metres of dummy conductor for ITER’s Poloidal Field Coil number five (PF5)—this represents the first delivery from China to the ITER construction site in France.  According to the Procurement Arrangement signed between the Chinese Domestic Agency and the ITER Organization, China will fabricate 64 conductors for ITER’s poloidal field coils, including four dummy conductors for cabling and coil manufacturing process qualification. ASIPP is responsible for all the poloidal field conductor fabrication in China. The fabrication of the PF5 dummy was completed in by ASIPP in 2011.  „This is the very first batch of ITER items to be shipped from China to the ITER site in Cadarache," said Luo Delong, Deputy Director-General of ITER China. Before, conductors for the toroidal field coils had been shipped to Japan and Europe. "This milestone is a further step for the ITER project. According to our schedule, we will now start massive production of conductors this year. Our goal is that all procurement items from China be supplied consistent with the ITER schedule and with ITER quality requirements.” According to the shipment schedule the PF5 dummy conductors, which left Shanghai on 30 April, will arrive at the ITER site on 5 June. Czytaj dalej...

Construction of Cryostat Workshop to begin

There’s already one facility on site for the fabrication of ITER components that are too large for transport and there’s soon to be another. Ground breaking begins in May for a temporary workshop where the four main sections of the cryostat will be assembled from 54 smaller segments manufactured by India. Like the largest poloidal field coils, the size and weight of the main cryostat segments makes travel along the ITER Itinerary impossible. The cryostat base section—1250 tons—is the single largest load of ITER Tokamak assembly; the other three cryostat sections (lower cylinder, upper cylinder and top lid) weigh in the range of 600-800 tons each. Within the on-site Cryostat Workshop, assembly activities will take place on two huge steel platforms built to support the weight of the components, jigs and fixtures. „The 30 x 30 metre assembly platforms will also act as transporters,” explains Bharat Doshi, Leader of the Cryostat Section. „The Cryostat Workshop will be linked by rail to the Assembly cleaning facility and building. Once completed, the cryostat sections can be moved on their assembly platforms by rails/rollers to the Assembly cleaning facility and from there transported to the Tokamak Pit by main bridge crane.” Planned along the fence on the northeast corner of the ITER platform, the football field-size (50 x 100 m) Cryostat Workshop will be approximately 100 metres from the Assembly Building. It will be equipped with equipment for machining, welding and testing, and a large „goliath” crane capable of travelling the facility’s full length. „Assembling the four main sections, each 30 metres in diameter, will require several kilometres of joint welding in total,” specifies Bharat. As a high vacuum component, the cryostat is subject to Czytaj dalej...

Team work celebrated at last Conductors Meeting

In pre-ITER times, the world production of niobium-tin (Nb3Sn) strands did not exceed 15 tons per year. Discovered in 1954, this intermetallic compound that exhibits a critical temperature of ~18 K and is able to withstand intense magnetic fields was used mainly in high field coils and nuclear magnetic resonance equipment. To match the needs of ITER’s 19 toroidal field coils (18 plus one spare), the world production capacity of Nb3Sn strand had to be ramped up by one order of magnitude. As of today, 400 tons of Nb3Sn have been produced by the industry of the six ITER Domestic Agencies involved in conductor procurement, representing 85 percent of toroidal field coil needs. Nb3Sn conductors will also form the core of the central solenoid, the backbone of the ITER magnet system. Strand production has been launched in Japan for the lower module (CS3L) and conductor lengths will be shipped at a later time to the US where the central solenoid will be manufactured. For ITER’s third major magnet system—the poloidal field coils—because the magnetic field they produce is less intense, they can be manufactured from the metallic alloy niobium-titanium (NbTi), which is cheaper and easier to produce than the brittle Nb3Sn. The Russian-European collaboration that procures NbTi strands for ITER has already produced 80 tons of Strand 1, destined for poloidal field 1 and 6. China, responsible for the procurement of conductors for poloidal field coils 2 to 5, has registered nearly 50 tons of of NbTi Strand 2 into the Conductor Database (this essential tool monitors the strand, cable, jacket and conductor production of each Domestic Agency). China will send its first poloidal field conductor shipment to the ITER site within the next two months. Altogether, conductors for the magnet systems accoun Czytaj dalej...

Fusion, with a touch of science fiction

An imposing object stands at the heart of the Tom Hunt Energy Hall in the recently opened Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas. The four-metre-high structure is a mock-up of the ITER Tokamak—or, rather, a designer’s „interpretation” of the science of fusion and of the flagship device of fusion research. Those familiar with the arrangement of components that make up an actual tokamak—central solenoid, vacuum vessel, toroidal and poloidal field coils, divertor, piping and feeders—will be a bit lost when gazing upon the towering mockup. This is intentional. „Our goal was to create a sense of wonder in our visitors that might inspire them to learn more about the subject,” explains Paul Bernhard, whose team designed and installed the 700-square-metre Tom Hunt Energy Hall. „We see our tokamak as based in science, but coloured by a future vision influenced by science fiction—a somewhat cinematic element that you might imagine seeing in a new Star Trek film…” The result is indeed spectacular. Although Bernhard’s tokamak looks a bit like a thermonuclear mushroom cloud—a „purely coincidental” similarity due to the geometry of the large rounded shape containing the brightly glowing "plasma" suspended over the narrower central core—it is a truly astonishing work of science art. The moment of awe passed, visitors can experiment with a neon/argon plasma, manipulating it with a magnet; have a hands-on experience with actual toroidal field coil and central solenoid conductor sections provided by the US Domestic Agency; or watch video clips. Impressed by the „amazing potential of fusion energy,” Bernhard and his team sought to „pass along [their] sense of inspiration.” In stimulating curiosity and en Czytaj dalej...

From an ultralight’s perspective

The last time an aerial photo survey was conducted of the ITER site, in September 2011*, the lower basemat had yet to be poured in the Tokamak Seismic Pit; cladding and roofing operations were underway on the Poloidal Field Coils Winding Facility; and windows were being installed at ITER Headquarters. A year and a half later, a four-hectare electrical switchyard is in place and 500 people work from the completed Headquarters building. Preparatory works have just begun for the Tokamak Complex basemat (the B2 slab) that will rest atop the Seismic Pit’s 493 concrete columns (plinths) and pads. Whereas in 2011, vast expanses of barren land still existed between the different work areas on the platform, this new series of photographs, taken two weeks ago, shows a much different landscape: mounds of earth, trenches, and material and vehicle storage areas now occupy most of the available space between the buildings. In the Seismic Pit, the radial pattern of the plinths is clearly visible from the air. Nearby, the completed sections of the Assembly Building foundation slab reflect the mid-afternoon winter sun. From the Headquarters Building, long shadows extend almost all the way to the deserted parking lot (the photograph was taken on a Saturday). On the „green” rooftops of the Access Control Building, the Amphitheatre and the Medical Building, the sedum plants wear their winter colour—they will turn from red to green in the summer and from green to yellow in the fall. Photographer Matthieu Colin carried out the latest ITER aerial campaign from an ultralight aircraft flying at an altitude of 500-900 metres. (The September 2011 photographs had been taken from a helium-filled balloon hovering at 70-100 metres above ground.) * The December 2012 pictures that appear in our web site’s pho Czytaj dalej...

12 minutes to understand TF coil manufacturing

The magnets responsible for confining the ITER plasma—the eighteen D-shaped toroidal field coils—will form an impressive superstructure within the ITER machine: at approximately 6,000 tons (coils plus cases), they will represent over one-fourth of the Tokamak’s total weight. In two new videos produced by the European Domestic Agency, we are taken inside a vast manufacturing facility in La Spezia, Italy, where preparations are under way for the fabrication of ten toroidal field coils (nine plus one spare) that are part of the European contribution to ITER. From winding through heat treatment and on to insertion into radial plates, the toroidal field coil manufacturing process is complex and exacting, requiring unprecedented levels of tolerances and performances. In the videos, experts from the ASG consortium* and Europe speak of the technical challenges, the specialized tooling, and the qualification work underway. You can see the two 6-minute videos on F4E’s website. *ASG consortium: Iberdrola Ingeniería y Construcción SAU, ASG Superconductors SpA and Elytt Energy SL Czytaj dalej...

Corrective actions in place to accelerate construction

Last Wednesday, ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima called for an all-hands meeting in the Headquarters’ brand-new amphitheatre in order to brief the ITER Organization staff on the outcome of the recent meetings of the projects scientific and managerial advisory committees. To this memorable event, Director-General Motojima had invited both the present and former chairmen of the Management Advisory Committee, Ranjay Sharan and Bob Iotti. At the outset, the Director-General presented the conclusions of the 14th meeting of the project’s Management Advisory Committee (MAC) that had taken place on 29-31 October. The MAC had acknowledged the intensive work done by the ITER Organization in collaboration with the seven Domestic Agencies since the special MAC meeting held in August. Required schedule recovery actions have been taken and the collaboration between the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies has been intensified through the establishment of the Unique ITER Team. „However, the MAC recognized that further and intensive efforts are necessary,” MAC Chair Ranjay Sharan explained. „The variances will have to be minimized by parallel working approaches and innovative methods. The MAC will closely monitor these approaches.” „Yes, there are issues,” Iotti admitted, „but we are working closely together to resolve them.” Of great concern: the delays related to six super-critical items—the buildings, the vacuum vessel, the poloidal field coils, the toroidal field coils, the central solenoid conductor and the cryostat. Two other essential issues were the focus of this 14th MAC meeting: the rules for further distribution of credits amongst the ITER Members as proposed in the „MAC-10 Guidelines,” and the proposal for a simplified assembly pla Czytaj dalej...

Corrective actions are now in place to accelerate ITER construction

Last Wednesday, ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima called for an all-hands meeting in the Headquarters’ brand-new amphitheatre in order to brief the ITER Organization staff on the outcome of the recent meetings of the projects scientific and managerial advisory committees. To this memorable event, Director-General Motojima had invited both the present and former chairmen of the Management Advisory Committee, Ranjay Sharan and Bob Iotti. At the outset, the Director-General presented the conclusions of the 14th meeting of the project’s Management Advisory Committee (MAC) that had taken place on 29-31 October. The MAC had acknowledged the intensive work done by the ITER Organization in collaboration with the seven Domestic Agencies since the special MAC meeting held in August. Required schedule recovery actions have been taken and the collaboration between the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies has been intensified through the establishment of the Unique ITER Team. „However, the MAC recognized that further and intensive efforts are necessary,” MAC Chair Ranjay Sharan explained. „The variances will have to be minimized by parallel working approaches and innovative methods. The MAC will closely monitor these approaches.” „Yes, there are issues,” Iotti admitted, „but we are working closely together to resolve them.” Of great concern: the delays related to six super-critical items—the buildings, the vacuum vessel, the poloidal field coils, the toroidal field coils, the central solenoid conductor and the cryostat. Two other essential issues were the focus of this 14th MAC meeting: the rules for further distribution of credits amongst the ITER Members as proposed in the „MAC-10 Guidelines,” and the proposal for a simplified assembly pla Czytaj dalej...

First Russian TF Conductors shipped to Europe

Russia makes progress with the well-timed procurement of the future facility’s components to the ITER Organization. On 9 October 2012, two qualified unit lengths of Toroidal Field Conductors for the ITER magnetic system were shipped from Kurchatov Institute, in Moscow, to the customs office for their subsequent transportation to Europe. These were the copper dummy and the 100-metre qualification conductor, Russia’s first procurement of the Toroidal Field Coils Conductor. The conductor lengths, manufactured at the Open Joint-Stock Company All-Russian R&D Project-Design and Technological Institute of Cable Industry (OJSC VNIIKP) were delivered from the National Research Centre „Kurchatov Institute”, where they had previously undergone vacuum tests involving special equipment. The next shipment of Toroidal Field Conductors is planned to take place in compliance with the schedule. Click here to view a video of the operation. Czytaj dalej...

Toroidal Field coils manufacturing gains momentum

Ever since Dr Heike Kamerlingh Onnes walked the pace of superconductivity back in 1911, there have always been scientists endeavouring to exploit its tremendous properties through powerful;  high magnetic field magnets. These endeavours are turning into a reality at ITER, as the largest and most powerful superconductive magnets ever designed, with an individual stored energy of 2.2 Gigajoules (GJ), are being manufactured. The Toroidal Field Coils is the ITER magnet system responsible for confining the plasma inside the Tokamak vacuum vessel, using Cable-In-Conduit niobium-tin-based conductor technology. Procurement for the 19 Toroidal Field Coils (TFCs) is shared between the Japanese Domestic Agency (JA-DA), and the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy(EU-DA). Following the last call for tender in August 2012, the first of a series of procurement contracts of the nine Japanese TF coils has been awarded to Mitsubishi Heavy Industry as a main contractor, with Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO), as a sub-contractor — a well-known stakeholder in superconducting magnet world. _To_39_Tx_TF Coils are encased in large stainless steel structures. The nineteen encasing stainless steel coil structures (TFCS) procurement is the responsibility of the Japanese Domestic Agency (JA-DA) who recently placed two contracts respectively for First of Series European TFCS with Hyundai Heavy industry  in Korea and for Japanese TFCS with Mitsubishi Heavy Industry in Japan. With a total weight of 3400 tons, the „superstructure” of TF coils is pushing the limits of manufacturability. Millimetric tolerances require state-of-the-art welding techniques (plate thickness on 316LN is up to 180 mm) to reach high quality requirements. As a result it is necessary to use specialists in heavy industry. Fr Czytaj dalej...