The road to assembly is now open
Alarm clocks rang early on Tuesday 8 April as the second ITER test convoy was completing the last leg of its 104-kilometre journey along the ITER Itinerary. But for many, it wasn't early enough: the convoy reached the ITER site nearly two hours ahead of schedule.
The last leg of the journey between the village of Meyrargues and the ITER site had gone smoothly. With the exception of the triple crossing of the A51 thruway, the 26-kilometre stretch doesn't present major difficulties or obstacles—only one roundabout to negotiate, no steep climb and no speed bumps.
As billions of fusion furnaces glittered in the pre-dawn light, the ITER convoy came to a halt near the Poloidal Field Coils Building ... nearly two hours ahead of schedule.
As the two diesel power packs purred reassuringly, the trailer progressed at a good speed. Unlike the two first nights of the test campaign, no incident occurred to slow or stop the convoy. Expected at 6:00 a.m., it passed the ITER gates at 4:00 a.m.
For the second time in eight months, the 800 tonnes of trailer and mock load had been safely delivered to the ITER site.
"For the duration of this test campaign you have mastered uniquely complex logistics and overcome some serious technical difficulties," said ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima as he addressed those who had participated in the operation.
''The part you play in the ITER Project is essential [...] Without you, there can be no ITER,'' said ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima to the French authorities and representatives of Agence Iter France and logistics provider DAHER. From left to right: Colonel Laurent Phélip, François Genevey and Bernard Bon, of DAHER; General David Galtier, head of the PACA region Gendarmerie forces; Préfet Jean-René Vacher, secretary-general of the South Defence Command; Pierre-Marie Delplanque and Jérôme Paméla of Agence ITER France.
To the French authorities Jean-René Vacher, prefect and head of the Southern Defence Command, and General David Galtier, head of the Gendarmerie forces in the PACA Region; to Jérôme Pamela and Pierre-Marie-Delplanque, respectively director and managing director of Agence Iter France; and to the representatives of logistics provider DAHER including Project Director François Genevey, he said: "The part you play in the ITER Project is essential. The convoys are the vital link between the manufacturing of the components in factories throughout the world and their assembly here on the ITER site. Without you, there can be no ITER."
A well-deserved breakfast!
The safe arrival of the second ITER test convoy was just the beginning of this great, common adventure. From 2014 to 2020, as ITER components are progressively delivered by the Domestic Agencies, the achievement will have to be replicated some 250 times.
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