The ITER Organization entered an important phase of its history in July 2010, when construction began on the scientific buildings and facilities that will house the ITER experiments. On the elevated, 42 hectare platform in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, France, bulldozers, concrete mixers, and cranes are now working from dawn to dusk. Approximately 500 construction workers were active on the ITER platform in 2013; at the peak of construction activity in 2014-2015, this number will rise to 3,000.
As Host partner to the ITER project, the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy (F4E) has responsibility for the financial contribution and technical supervision linked to the construction of 39 scientific buildings and dedicated areas on the ITER platform. The Tokamak Complex will be among the first buildings completed; here, from 2015-2019, scientists and engineers will progressively integrate, assemble, and test the ITER Tokamak. Commissioning will ensue to verify that all systems function together and to prepare the ITER machine for operation. In nine years' time—November 2020—the ITER installation will be ready for operation.
The successful integration and assembly of over one million components (ten million parts), built in the ITER Members' factories around the world and delivered to the ITER site in Saint Paul-lez-Durance, constitutes a tremendous logistics and engineering challenge. The assembly workforce, both at ITER and in the Domestic Agencies, will reach 2,000 people at the height of assembly activities in 2017. In the ITER offices around the world, the exact sequence of assembly events has been carefully orchestrated and coordinated beginning with the arrival of the first large components on the ITER site in 2014.