The world’s most high-tech magnet is ready and it will be part of the equipment that will be installed in ITER, the world's largest experimental machine to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion energy. Italian know-how has celebrated a new achievement in the field of technology.
Powerful superconducting magnets– known as Toroidal Field (TF) coils—will be manufactured to confine ITER’s super-hot plasma, which is expected to reach 150 million °C. Each of these coils is 13 m high, 9 m wide and weighs approximately 300 T– as much as a Boeing 747. When powered with 68 000 A, the ITER TF coils will create a magnetic field that will reach 11.8 Tesla—about 1 million times stronger than the magnetic field of the Earth! ITER will operate with 18 TF coils. Europe will manufacture ten (nine plus one spare) and Japan will fabricate nine.
SIMIC, in consortium with the French CNIM, has completed the production of the 70 radial plates for the magnet—the metallic structures that support the insulated conductor in their grooves before they are laser welded, wrapped with insulating material, and impregnated by ASG Superconductors of La Spezia, in consortium with Iberdrola Ingeniería y Construcción and Elytt.
Once produced, the magnet with a weight of about 150 tons will be transported to Porto Marghera, where SIMIC will be responsible to perform a series of tests, insert them in their massive steel cases, weld, impregnate by resin and machine them with the most advanced technologies, before transferring them to Cadarache, where they will be installed in the machine. Marianna Ginola, responsible for the ITER program, explained that “It has been 4 years of intense work, a long journey made of hard challenges and continuous learning and improvement. The WP insertion contract is now another big challenge that SIMIC is very glad to take and that will keep up busy until 2020”.
Europe’s conductor for the ten TF coils, which has reached a length of 20 km in total, has been produced by the ICAS consortium consisting of ENEA, Criotec Impianti Srl and TRATOS Cavi spa.
For Alessandro Bonito-Oliva, F4E Manager for Magnets, and his team, this has been an accomplishment of significant importance. “Thanks to our determination and the excellent collaboration between F4E and its partners we have completed the core of Europe’s first Toroidal Field coil. This is the result of the good cooperation between the different parties of this one-of-a kind project and clear proof that when Europe wants to be a pioneer-Europe can!” he stated.
To view how SIMIC has produced its radial plates click here
To view the images of the radial plates produced by SIMIC, click here.
To view how CNIM has produced its radial plates click here
To view how the TF coils are being manufactured click here
To view images of the conductor produced by ICAS click here