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Latest ITER Newsline

  • IAEA and ITER | Even closer cooperation

    Under Practical Arrangements signed in June, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the ITER Organization will be expanding and deepening a long history of [...]

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  • Neutral Beam Test Facility | High voltage component for MITICA

    Creating reliable high-energy neutral beams at ITER parameters, from a negative ion source, requires such a large technological leap that the components of the [...]

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  • 24th ITER Council | En route to First Plasma, 63% of the work is done

    The ITER Council has met for the twenty-fourth time since the signature of the ITER Agreement. Representatives from China, the European Union, India, Japan, Kor [...]

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  • Upper ports | A very international effort

    The 18 upper ports of the ITER vacuum vessel are procured by Russia, manufactured in Germany, and mounted (in part) on the vessel sectors by contractors in Ital [...]

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  • Paint job | One level done, five to go

    The job is done and the effect is spectacular. At the deepest basement level (B2) of the Tokamak Building, the floors, walls, and ceilings are now perfectly whi [...]

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Of Interest

See archived entries

A spectacular antechamber to the Tokamak Building

Robert Arnoux

The basemat will have to accommodate ''penetrations,'' for electrical galleries, drainage, piping, and tunnels to service the neighbouring Tokamak Complex, explains Miguel Curtido, Fusion for Energy's technical project officer for the Assembly Hall. (Click to view larger version...)
The basemat will have to accommodate ''penetrations,'' for electrical galleries, drainage, piping, and tunnels to service the neighbouring Tokamak Complex, explains Miguel Curtido, Fusion for Energy's technical project officer for the Assembly Hall.
With its layer of soft soil removed, the ITER Assembly Hall work site looks a lot like the surface of an alien world. Fine white dust and sharp debris cover the ground. Methodically boring holes deep into the substratum, a lone, insect-like drilling rig adds to the illusion. With a bit of red in the sky it would be easy to believe we were walking on Planet Mars ...

Located adjacent to the temporarily deserted Tokamak Seismic Pit, the Assembly Hall area is the site of the latest construction campaign on the platform. This 60 metre by 100 metre rectangle of earth will host the 57-metre-high edifice in which ITER components will be assembled prior to their installation in the Tokamak.

As a follow-up to the scrapers, excavators and dump trucks that removed some 10,000 m3 of soil in three weeks, the drilling rig is carrying out "soil investigation." Long drill bits are being pushed as deep as 7 metres below the surface in order to identify possible discontinuities or cavities created by water erosion (karsts).

The rig will drill a total of 500 holes, collecting and transmitting data to the Engage/Fusion for Energy/ITER Organization team that manages the project. Geologists will then assess the rock profile and determine what treatment should be applied.

With a bit of red in the sky it would be easy to believe we were walking on Planet Mars ... (Click to view larger version...)
With a bit of red in the sky it would be easy to believe we were walking on Planet Mars ...
A month from now, workers will begin to pour a layer of blinding concrete over the 6,000 m2 surface. Foundation work will then begin in earnest.

Although less spectacular than those of the Tokamak Pit (no seismic pads will be installed), the foundations of the Assembly Hall will carry their fair share of challenges. The basemat (2.2 metres thick at the perimeter and 1.2 metres thick in the centre) will have to accommodate openings, or "penetrations," for electrical galleries, drainage, piping, and tunnels to service the neighbouring Tokamak Complex.

"Due to the challenge of ITER itself, it was necessary to incorporate a lot of flexibility in the design of the penetrations," says Miguel Curtido, Fusion for Energy's technical project officer for the Assembly Hall. "Space has to be reserved for them early on, when we begin installing the iron rebars prior to pouring concrete. The same holds for the anchor plates for the assembly tooling, which have to be embedded in the concrete. Their definition can still evolve."

The Assembly Hall worksite is located adjacent to the Tokamak Seismic Pit. (Click to view larger version...)
The Assembly Hall worksite is located adjacent to the Tokamak Seismic Pit.
Coordinating action on the Assembly Hall foundations and on the nearby "TB-alpha" worksite (more galleries and tunnels) that will open two months from now will be another big constraint to work with. "This will be the first time we need to manage the interfaces between different contractors working in such close proximity, which can drastically impact execution methodology."

Progressively, the barren, Mars-like landscape will give way to one of the most spectacular construction projects on the platform—the dramatic antechamber to the Tokamak Building.



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