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Of Interest

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China completes toroidal field conductors

ITER China

Seven years after signing its first Procurement Arrangement for the supply of 7.5 % of ITER's toroidal field superconductors, China celebrated its successful achievement. In the background, the last of the conductor unit lengths are packaged for transport. (Click to view larger version...)
Seven years after signing its first Procurement Arrangement for the supply of 7.5 % of ITER's toroidal field superconductors, China celebrated its successful achievement. In the background, the last of the conductor unit lengths are packaged for transport.
In December, more than 100 people attended a ceremony in Hefei, China, to mark an important milestone for the ITER Project—the completion of the first Procurement Arrangement concluded between the Chinese Domestic Agency and the ITER Organization. Signed in 2008, the Procurement Arrangement covered the supply of 7.5 percent of the conductor needed for ITER's giant toroidal field coils.

Sophisticated manufacturing techniques and demanding process control and certification standards were set into place to meet ITER's technical specifications. The first conductor unit length was completed in the spring of 2009 and a short sample cut from this conductor was delivered in May 2009 to the SULTAN test facility, where conductor samples are exposed to magnetic fields, current intensity and temperature conditions that are equivalent to those of the ITER operational environment. The test results were successful and the conductor was accepted.

Series manufacturing began smoothly in August 2011, the tests on the conductor "short sample" cut from a production unit length were completed in May 2015, and the final delivery of niobium-tin (Nb3Sn) superconducting strand was shipped by Western Superconducting Technology (WST) in September 2015 to subsequent cabling and jacketing. The successful completion of the last unit length of toroidal field conductor is a significant milestone on the path to building ITER and a sign of the capacity of Chinese industry to meet the stringent ITER requirements.

The ceremony on 18 December was attended by Cao Jianlin, former Vice Minister of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology MOST; Luo Delong, head of the Chinese Domestic Agency; Wan Baonian, president of Institute of Plasma Physics Chinese Academy of Sciences ASIPP; and other governmental and institutional representatives.

Arnaud Devred, head of ITER's Superconductor Systems & Auxiliaries Section and guest speaker, called the effort to collectively build ITER not only an amazing technical challenge, but also one of the greatest human adventures of all times. "Over the last eight years, one of my guiding principles was to set uniform standards and to bring all toroidal field strand, cable and conductor suppliers to the same levels of quality assurance and quality control. As I had an opportunity to say in Xi'an in September at the time of the completion and delivery of the last Chinese toroidal field strands, all suppliers, ASIPP and Chinese Domestic Agency staff can be proud of what they have accomplished."


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