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Contract for tokamak excavation awarded

-Samina Shamsie, Fusion for Energy

''Once upon a time,'' it will read in the history books, there was a flagpole marking the centre of the ITER Tokamak Pit. (Click to view larger version...)
''Once upon a time,'' it will read in the history books, there was a flagpole marking the centre of the ITER Tokamak Pit.
The contract giving the go-ahead for the first steps in constructing the building which will host the ITER Tokamak, the heart of the project, was signed by the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy (F4E) and GTM Consortium on 20 May. Entitled "Construction of the Tokamak Complex Seismic Isolation Pit," this contract is worth approximately EUR 36 million.

As a first step in the construction, a 20-metre-deep excavation will be carried out. The foundation of the building will include a system to isolate the building from the rock on which it is built in order to protect against the effects of possible seismic activity. Approximately 200,000 m3 of rock will be excavated—equivalent in volume to 43 of London's Big Ben towers. The construction of the reinforced concrete basemat and walls forming the seismic isolation pit structure will involve the casting of approximately 35,000 m3 of reinforced concrete.

The contract also includes options on the construction of the tokamak upper basemat with 19,200 m3 of reinforced concrete, the Assembly Hall basemat with around 18,000 m3 of reinforced concrete, and 13,500 m3 of excavation. It is foreseen that when finished, the entire Tokamak Building will measure 63 metres in height and 600,000 m3 in volume.

The construction of the foundation for the Tokamak Building will start in mid-June this year and will be completed by November 2011. The contract signature markes the beginning of the process, and is a significant sign of the ITER project moving forward.

For more information, visit the F4E website.



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