Central solenoid module
Tests and verifications prior to assembly
In January next year, the "most powerful magnet in the world" will begin taking shape. The first module of the Tokamak's central solenoid will be positioned on a bespoke platform and the assembly process will begin in the ITER Assembly Hall. One by one, the six modules that make up the 18-metre tall, 1,000-tonne component will be stacked one upon the other and held together by a sets of tie plates (18 exterior and 9 interior).
At both ends, the tie plates will be locked to "key blocks" weighing up to 6 tonnes each. Removable hydraulic jacks inside the key blocks will exert huge pressure (210 meganewtons¹) on the module stack and keep them in mechanical compression.
Delivered to ITER in September, the first central solenoid module is undergoing a battery of tests and verifications—metrology, sensors, electrical insulation inspection, etc. Assembly of the 18-metre tall, 1,000-tonne central solenoid is set to begin in January 2022.
This huge load is indispensable in order for the central solenoid to withstand the mechanical and magnetic forces it will be submitted to. These forces are equivalent to twice the thrust of a space shuttle...
Two central solenoid modules have already been delivered to ITER. The first one is presently undergoing a battery of tests and verifications—metrology, sensors and electrical insulation inspection, etc.
The remaining five modules (including one spare) are in the final stages of fabrication at General Atomics in California. All are expected to be delivered by mid-2023.
¹A meganewton (MN) is a unit of force corresponding to the force required to accelerate a mass of one million kilograms by one metre per second.
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