Sixth convoy in nine months
It wasn't Christmas yet, but all the lights were there: blue, red, yellow, white ... blinking, revolving and pulsating.
Over three nights, from 14 to 17 September, the sixth ITER convoy in nine months slowly rode along the 104-kilometre ITER Itinerary bypassing 16 villages, negotiating 16 roundabouts and more than 30 bridges, and crossing the thruway in two different locations.
The three trailers of the convoy each transported a large drain tank sent by the US Domestic Agency as part of its in-kind contributions to the project. The two largest tanks (79 tonnes) are destined for the the tokamak cooling water system; the smaller tank (46 tonnes) is needed as part of the neutral beam injection system.
While ITER convoys are financed by Europe, their organization is managed jointly by Agence Iter France, the French authorities and the global logistics group DAHER. Despite the experience accumulated since the first test convoy two years ago, the transport of an ITER load is never a routine operation.
The convoy travels in a kind of protective "bubble" containing a long and spectacular procession of men and machinery. French gendarmerie motorcycles and vans, a pilot car, rear-escort and assistance vehicles, more gendarmes, technical personnel to remove the traffic signs before and after the passage of the convoy ... an average convoy mobilizes close to one hundred people and requires the establishment of approximately 200 kilometres of detours to divert regular road traffic.
The drain tanks had shipped out of Newark, New Jersey on 28 August. They were unloaded at Marseille industrial harbour of Fos-sur-Mer on 6 September and completed the maritime segment of the trip (the crossing of an inland sea) on 9 September. After three nights of road transport, the convoy arrived on site at 3:00 a.m. on 17 September, right on schedule.
Right on schedule
Procured by the US as part of its in-kind contributions to the project, the three drain tanks—two for the cooling water system of the ITER Tokamak and a third for the neutral beam injection system—reached the ITER site on schedule at 3:00 a.m. on Thursday 17 September.
An oneiric atmosphere
Just a big truck and a large tank... but there's an oneiric atmosphere in this image of the convoy's arrival, accentuated by the presence of the illuminated Acropolis-like Assembly Hall.
Last leg of a long journey
The tanks were unloaded at Marseille industrial harbour of Fos-sur-Mer on 6 September and completed the maritime segment of the trip three days later. It took three nights, from 14 to 17 September, to cover the 104 kilometres to the ITER site.
Three trailers, 20 vehicles
Like a long caterpillar of men and machinery the three trailers, accompanied by 20 vehicles, progress along the ITER Itinerary on the last leg of the Itinerary. Like a long caterpillar of men and machinery, the three trailers (accompanied by 20 vehicles) progress along the ITER Itinerary on the last leg of the Itinerary. Some 200 kilometres of detours were organized to divert regular road traffic, not to mention the temporary closing of the thruway at two locations.
Crossing the thruway — twice
Night #3: the convoy has just crossed the thruway. It will take five hours to cover the last 30 kilometres to the ITER site.
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