Iter wire contracts signed

07 October 2009

Two US companies plus Russia's Kurchatov Institute have announced they have signed contracts to supply superconducting wire for the Iter international nuclear fusion reactor project.
Two contracts, worth a total of $33.6 million, were awarded by Oak Ridge National Laboratory on behalf of the US Iter Project Office to Luvata Waterbury, a Connecticut-based subsidiary of international metals supplier Luvata, and New Jersey-based Oxford Superconducting Technology, a subsidiary of high-tech equipment company Oxford Instruments. Delivery is scheduled for 2011.
The $26 million contract awarded to Luvata will see the company produce 6430 km of niobium tin wire and 4795 km of copper wire, and follows on from a similar project to supply chromium-plated copper strand to European Iter project partner Fusion for Energy. According to Luvata, the latest contract will see it supply 86% of the US commitment to supply superconductive wire and copper wire to the Iter project over the next two years. "We are delighted to be playing such a significant role in this groundbreaking project," said Luvata Waterbury president Jim Lajewski.
Oxford Superconducting Technology is to supply 1840 km of niobium tin strand for the project. According to Oxford Instruments, the contract to supply the 9 tonnes of wire is worth about $5 million.
Fourth supply agreement for Kurchatov

Signing the procurement arrangement (image: ITER)
Ikeda and Velikhov sign procurement agreement (Image: Iter)

Meanwhile, Iter director general Kaname Ikeda and Kurchatov Institute president Evgeny Velikhov signed an agreement at the Moscow institute for the production of the so-called cable-in-conduit conductor for the Iter poloidal field coils.


According to Iter, this will involve the production of about 13 km of conductors from 50 tonnes of niobium-titanium strands and 200 tonnes of stainless steel jacket. The niobium-titanium strands will be produced at the facilities of the Chepetsky Mechanical Plant, itself part of Russia's TVEL nuclear fuel cycle company. Jacketing of the conductor is to be undertaken by an unnamed European supplier as an in-kind exchange through the European agency, Fusion for Energy, Ikegame noted.
Only one procurement arrangement for Iter's polloidal field coils, the winding of coil number one, remains to be implemented, and according to Ikegame, this is expected to take place before the end of 2009.
Iter is an international project to build a 500 MWt tokamak at Cadarache in France, to demonstrate and develop commercially viable nuclear fusion power. Site preparation began in January 2007 and construction is due to begin later in 2009, with operation around 2018. As part of the reactor's phased commissioning, it will initially be tested using hydrogen. Experiments using tritium and deuterium as fuel will begin in 2026.


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