Transport of the components
For the two test convoys, a dummy load made of 360 concrete blocks was transported by a customized trailer along the whole length of the Itinerary. Its weight and dimensions—800 tons, 40 metres long, 9 metres wide, 11 metres high—replicated the most exceptional ITER loads. "Real" component transport along the Itinerary will begin late in 2014.
The seven ITER Members are sharing the responsibility for building the ITER machine and scientific facility. During the negotiations that preceded the signing of the ITER Agreement, the value of the shared procurement was decided between the Members—approximately 45.5 percent for Europe as "host Member" and 9.1 percent (each) for China, India, Japan, Korea, the Russian Federation and the United States. Ninety percent of contributions will be delivered "in-kind", which means that in the place of cash, the Members will deliver components for the ITER Tokamak, plant systems, site infrastructure, and buildings directly to the ITER Organization.
With the exception of buildings, whose construction is under European responsibility, the in-kind contributions to ITER will be shipped from destinations on three continents to the ITER site in Saint Paul-lez-Durance, France. The ITER Organization and all Domestic Agencies will work with a global Logistics Service Provider (LSP) for the transportation, logistics and insurance needs associated with these deliveries.
For all components sent by the Domestic Agencies, the European Domestic Agency will provide transportation services to the ITER site from the Mediterranean harbour of Fos-sur-Mer (or in the case of air transport, from Marseille-Provence airport). Up to these points, the expense of transport lies with each sending Domestic Agency.
In September 2014, the first completed components for the electrical installation reached the ITER Organization in France on behalf of the US Domestic Agency, from manufacturing locations in Europe and North America. From this point on, deliveries to ITER will be recorded every month—both "standard" deliveries by truck (Conventional or Conventional Exceptional Loads, CEL) and exceptionally sized loads along the ITER Itinerary.
The first extra-large components ("Highly Exceptional Loads," or HEL) are expected on the ITER site in early 2015.
vacuum vessel from Europe and Korea, as well as nineteen toroidal field coils from Europe and Japan—will be shipped beginning 2016.
The ITER Itinerary
The largest and heaviest loads shipped by the seven Members will arrive at the French harbour of Fos-sur-Mer, west of Marseille on the Mediterranean Sea; from there they will cross the inland sea Etang de Berre to the La Pointe harbour where a quay has been specially adapted to receive them. Exceptional convoys will then transport the loads along the dedicated ITER Itinerary to the ITER site in Saint Paul-lez-Durance. Some 250 such convoys, travelling at night in order to minimize disturbances to the local communities, will be organized between 2015 and the completion of machine assembly.
Between 2008 and 2011 large-scale public works were carried out along the 104 kilometres of the ITER Itinerary by the Host state France as part of its commitment to ITER. Roads were widened, bridges reinforced and intersections modified in preparation for the exceptional size and weight of some of the Tokamak components. The cost for these road works (EUR 110 million) was shared by the Bouches-du-Rhône département Council (66 percent) and the French State (34 percent).
The arrival of the loads has been programmed according to the ITER Tokamak assembly and plant installation schedule: the first convoys will carry elements needed in the lowest levels of the machine and in the first auxiliary buildings.
In advance of actual component transport, two test convoys were organized along the ITER Itinerary. In September 2013, the first of these test convoys, replicating the dimensions of the most exceptional ITER loads, successfully verified that the stresses caused to the roads, bridges and roundabouts of the ITER Itinerary agreed with engineering calculations. From 31 March to 8 April 2014 a second operation tested global logistics and organization, including the crossing of the Etang-de-Berre on a specially designed barge.