Rosatom head visits Iter, latest equipment batch sent

12 September 2017

Rosatom Director-General Alexey Likhachov yesterday visited the construction site of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter), which the Russian state nuclear corporation said has now entered the "full-scale practical implementation phase". Rosatom also announced that it has sent the latest batch of six trailers with high-current busbars for the power supply systems of Iter's superconducting magnet.

Likhachov visits Iter - 460 (Rosatom)
Likhachov and Bigot (centre) during the visit to Iter (Image: Rosatom)

Under construction in Cadarache, France, Iter is the world's biggest tokamak - a magnetic fusion device that has been designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy based on the same principle that powers the Sun and stars. A total of 35 countries, including 29 European Union member-states, as well as China, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the USA, are participating in the Iter project. The launch of the reactor and production of the first batch of plasma is scheduled for 2025.

Russian companies are developing more than 25 "unique systems" for Iter, including superconductors, gyrotrons, and protection and diagnostic equipment, Rosatom said.

Likhachov visited Iter at the invitation of ITER Organisation Director-General Bernard Bigot, who said: "Russia has always been an exemplary partner, which meets all its obligations in full and on time."

Likhachov noted that progress with Iter is visible not only on the construction site, but also in the production and supply of components.

He said: "The exploration of thermonuclear fusion energy will open up vast scientific and technological prospects for mankind. That is why Russia, which has unique experience in nuclear and thermonuclear research, is now at the forefront of the Iter project and is making a fundamental contribution to its implementation. It is also important to note that the very concept of this international project, namely tokamak, was developed in our country."

In 1950, Russian academicians Andrei Sakharov and Igor Tamm suggested using magnetic field for plasma confinement. Later, Russian scientists under the direction of academician Lev Artsymovich developed and used the concept of thermonuclear facility - Tokamak (Toroidal Chamber Magnetic Coil), which later became the world leader in the controlled thermonuclear fusion research. This facility is assumed as the basis of the Iter thermonuclear reactor.

Likhachov added: "Iter is important for us as a testing ground for practical tasks related to the energy of the future, with the increasing role of Russia on the global technology market."

During his visit to Cadarache, Likhachov also met with the chairman of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, Daniel Verwaerde, with whom he visited the construction site of the Jules Horowitz Reactor. This is an international project to build a 100 MWt material testing reactor.


The latest consignment of Russian equipment for Iter has a total weight of about 85 tonnes and includes: aluminum water-cooled direct-current buses for the poloidal field, the central solenoid and correcting winding power systems; thermal expansion joints and other parts of the DC bus systems that connect the superconducting windings of the tokamak electromagnetic system with their power supply sources; as well as sections of operational resistors for plasma discharge initiation systems.

"To date, this is the third - and the largest - supply of electrical equipment for the Iter reactor," Rosatom said. The first two batches of busbar elements for power supply to Iter's superconducting were sent from Saint Petersburg in 2015-2016.

The consignment has been sent to the seaport of Saint Petersburg for further transportation to the site of the reactor in Cadarache, via Hamburg, Germany.

Switchgear equipment, busbars and power-absorbing resistors for power supply and protection of Iter's superconducting magnet system are manufactured by the D V Efremov Scientific Research Institute of Electrophysical Apparatus in Saint Petersburg.

The Iter magnet system comprises 18 superconducting toroidal field and six poloidal field coils, a central solenoid, and a set of correction coils that magnetically confine, shape and control the plasma inside the vacuum vessel. The poloidal field (PF) magnets pinch the plasma away from the walls and contribute in this way to maintaining the plasma's shape and stability. The PF is induced both by the magnets and by the current drive in the plasma itself.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News