Largest European Iter contract so far

01 November 2013

A Franco-German consortium has been awarded a contract for the supply of climatic, mechanical and electrical systems at thirteen buildings, including the Tokamak complex, at the Iter fusion reactor project.

Iter tokomak complex 460 (Engage consortium)
A cutaway of the Iter Tokamak complex, which will house the fusion reactor. It is one of thirteen buildings on the site covered by the contract (Image: Engage consortium) 

The contract - worth some €530 million ($715 million) - was awarded to a consortium comprising three GDF-Suez subsidiaries (Cofely Axima, Cofely Endel and Cofely Ineo) and Germany-based engineering company M + W Group. It is the largest contract awarded so far by Fusion for Energy (F4E), the European Union's organization for coordinating Europe's contribution to the Iter project. Europe is responsible for the delivery of the 39 buildings that the 42-hectare Iter site at Cadarache in southern France will host.

The contract covers the design, supply, installation and commissioning of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, the mechanical and electrical equipment for the Tokamak complex. This consists of the Tokamak, diagnostic and tritium buildings, plus the surrounding buildings. The HVAC system will be powerful enough to treat the air flow of one million cubic metres per hour. In addition, instrumentation and control systems, power supplies, interior and exterior lighting, gas and liquid piping will be installed. Fire detection and protection systems are also included.

The consortium is scheduled to start work at the site next September. This work is expected to run for about five years. The consortium said that up to 450 people will be involved in the work at its peak in 2016. There are currently some 250 construction workers at the site, but by the end of 2014 this is expected to reach 2000 people.

A separate contract, worth €500 million ($675 million), was awarded in January 2013 to a seven-company consortium called VFR for the construction of some of the buildings on the site. These include the central Tokamak Building, as well as separate specialist buildings for diagnostics, tritium, radio frequency heating, the cryoplant compressor and coldbox, ventilation and air conditioning, control, fast discharge, cleaning and site services.

The Iter project is meant to take progress in nuclear fusion to a new level with the largest ever Tokamak unit, which should be capable of sustaining plasmas that produce 500 MWt for as long as seven minutes. Located within the EU, that bloc is funding half of the cost while the remainder comes in equal parts from the other partners: China, Japan, India, Russia, South Korea and the USA.

After five years of gradual site preparation, construction was officially authorised in November last year. The facility is expected to reach full operation in 2027.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News