Subscribe options

Select your newsletters:


Please enter your email address:

@

News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • Question of the week | Will fusion run out of fuel?

    One of the paradoxes of fusion, the virtually inexhaustible energy of the future, is that it relies on an element that does not exist—or just barely. Tritium, o [...]

    Read more

  • Managing data | Setting up a robust process

    Are the ITER systems and processes robust enough to manage the technical and project data for a program of ITER's complexity? Will quality information be made a [...]

    Read more

  • Image of the week | Bullseye

    Two perfectly circular structures, looking a lot like archery targets, have been installed on the west-facing wall of the Tokamak Complex. They are not for sh [...]

    Read more

  • Art and science | Seeking new perspectives on fusion

    Standing in the middle of the Tokamak Building, sound artist Julian Weaver positions his 3D microphone near one of the openings of the bioshield to record the s [...]

    Read more

  • Worksite photos | The view one never tires of

    For the past three-and a half years, ITER Communication has been documenting construction progress from the top of the tallest crane on the ITER worksite. Altho [...]

    Read more

Of Interest

See archived entries

The end of a nine-year journey

K.D.

In December, as toroidal field conductor unit length #133 came off the production line, the ITER community celebrated a major milestone—the end of a nine-year procurement campaign to procure 88 km of niobium-tin (Nb3Sn) superconductor for ITER's toroidal field coils.

Six ITER Members have contributed to the production of 88 km of toroidal field conductors: China (7.5 percent), Europe (20.18 percent), Japan (25 percent), Korea (20.18 percent), Russia (19.3 percent) and the United States (8 percent). The last conductor unit length was produced by the ICAS consortium in Italy (pictured) in December 2016. (Click to view larger version...)
Six ITER Members have contributed to the production of 88 km of toroidal field conductors: China (7.5 percent), Europe (20.18 percent), Japan (25 percent), Korea (20.18 percent), Russia (19.3 percent) and the United States (8 percent). The last conductor unit length was produced by the ICAS consortium in Italy (pictured) in December 2016.
Six ITER Members have participated in ITER's longest running procurement effort: China, Europe, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States.

Considered a difficult material to work with due to the sensitivity of the Nb3Sn superconducting strands to strain, the world production capacity in 2007 at the start of the campaign did not exceed 15 tonnes per year. To meet ITER's needs, this had to be ramped up by one order of magnitude.

In close association with the ITER Organization, the ITER Members developed winding and jacketing facilities, launched qualification programs for processes and tooling, and followed demanding process control and certification standards to ensure conformity with ITER's technical specifications. Some 500 tonnes of copper and niobium-tin (Nb3Sn) multifilament composite wires were produced for the toroidal field coils, then "bundled" to form cables and contained in a structural steel jacket. Eight strand suppliers and four jacketing facilities were qualified by the ITER Organization in the course of the global procurement effort.

The last toroidal field conductor unit length was jacketed in December 2016 by the European ICAS consortium in Italy from superconducting cable manufactured in the US and steel tubes sourced in Japan by the US Domestic Agency.

"This milestone represents the end of an amazing and challenging nine-year journey, which has been completed on time due to the good understanding and collaborative spirit between the partners," said an enthusiastic Arnaud Devred, head of the Superconductor Systems & Auxiliaries Section at ITER. "This procurement sums up much that is ITER—advanced technology, innovation, perseverance and strong international collaboration. For me, it's an excellent illustration of how ITER is bringing people together."

The many technical issues encountered along the way were overcome by facing them head-on and working out pragmatic solutions together, added Arnaud. "This spirit is expected to continue in the next phases of the toroidal field magnet procurement, as our European and Japanese partners produce the final coils."

Eighty-eight kilometres of cable-in-conduit conductors for the toroidal field coils represents approximately 825 tonnes of material and an estimated market value of EUR 350 million.


return to the latest published articles