Subscribe options

Select your newsletters:

Please enter your email address:

@

News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • In-vessel electrical systems | What it takes to wire up a fusion reactor

    While the challenges of keeping cables operational in harsh environments such as jet engines and nuclear fission reactors have been understood for a long time, [...]

    Read more

  • Assembly preparation | Off goes the lid

    In the summer of 2017, a circular platform was installed inside of the large steel-and-concrete cylinder of the Tokamak pit. The 200-tonne structure was meant t [...]

    Read more

  • Deliveries | Two coils on their way

    For the past five years, 'highly exceptional loads' (HEL) have been successfully travelling along the ITER Itinerary to be delivered to the ITER site. As the pr [...]

    Read more

  • ITER NOW video | Ready for the big lifts

    This new video in our "ITER NOW" series provides an insider's view of the recent load tests performed as the ITER Organization prepares for the machin [...]

    Read more

  • Divertor | Far more than a fancy ashtray

    It has been likened to the filter of a swimming pool or an oversized ashtray. It has been called alien in shape and hellish in its affinity for heat. But whatev [...]

    Read more

Of Interest

See archived entries

Hoisting the roof, mountain-climber style

R.A.

In order to climb the face of steep cliffs, mountain climbers use a clever device, invented in the 1950s, called a "rope ascender." Also known by its brand name Jumar, the device can be compared to a mechanical hand that can slide up a rope but that is prevented from sliding down by a locking clamp.

 (Click to view larger version...)
A similar mechanical principle was used, last Thursday 10 September, to lift the steel roof structure of the ITER Assembly Building. Since April, construction contractors had been assembling the 730-tonne structure on the ground to be lifted as one piece.

Centimetre by centimetre, over the course of 14 hours, 22 hydraulic jacks hoisted the huge structure along thick steel cables that hung from support structures fixed temporarily to the top of the pillars, 60 metres above the surface of the building's basemat.

The operation had to be carried out with extreme care. The structure, measuring 60 metres long and 25 metres wide, had to be precisely positioned between two rows of vertical pillars, with a tolerance of only a few centimetres on each side.

It began with a mere 20 cm lift in the morning of Wednesday 9 September, followed by precise laser metrology to measure potential deformation of the steel structure. By Thursday morning, all systems were go, the wind below the 11 metre per second safety limit and the 50-metre lift could commence.

The successful lift operation had a high symbolic value for the ITER Project. "It is here, in the antechamber of the Tokamak Complex, that the main components of the ITER Tokamak will be prepared and pre-assembled," explained ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot in the short speech he gave prior to cutting the ribbon. "Without this building there would be no assembly, and without assembly there would be no machine and no project..."

The ceremony was broadcast live to the ITER staff assembled in the Headquarters amphitheatre and by video feed to the ITER community throughout the world.

The construction milestone demonstrated, once again, the value of close collaboration between all project stakeholders. Under the authority of the European agency for ITER (Fusion for Energy), more than a hundred workers, engineers and technicians worked in shifts for the success of the operation.

"The months and years to come will continue to demand effort and dedication from all of us," said Director-General Bigot, "but we are all conscious of working for one of the greatest ventures in the history of mankind, one that could change the course of our civilization..."

As the ribbon was cut, 500 ITER-yellow and European-blue balloons slowly ascended to the top of the structure and out to the clear sky. The "house" now has a roof and the ITER family is impatient to move in.


return to the latest published articles