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News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • 23rd ITER Council | Pace and performance on track

    Working as an integrated team, the ITER Organization and seven Domestic Agencies are continuing to meet the project's demanding schedule to First Plasma in 2025 [...]

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  • Huffing and puffing | Testing the endurance of steering mirrors

    On the computer screen, a set of three metal bellows 'breathe' in a steady rhythm. Nuclear engineer Natalia Casal and materials engineer Toshimichi Omori are on [...]

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  • ITER R&D | News from the Neutral Beam Test Facility

    At Consorzio RFX, where ITER's most powerful external heating system will be tested in advance, activities are progressing well on two distinct test beds. ITE [...]

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  • Vacuum vessel welding | Rehearsing a grand production

    There is a place near Santander, Spain, where one can actually feel what ITER will be like. Although we've seen dozens of drawings and 3D animations, the encoun [...]

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  • Image of the week | A plasma-enlightened training course

    The Vacuum Section hosted approximately 40 people last week from the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies for a two-day training session on vacuum. [...]

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Of Interest

See archived entries

Central solenoid feels the heat

The first of six independent magnets for ITER's central solenoid has successfully passed the heat treatment phase, which ultimately creates the solenoid's superconducting material. This milestone was reached in April at General Atomics (US), after the 110-tonne module spent just over ten days at 570 °C and another four at 650 °C.

The heat treatment furnace at General Atomics can accept one central solenoid module at a time. During a month-long process, heat treatment reacts niobium and tin to form the superconducting alloy Nb3Sn. (Click to view larger version...)
The heat treatment furnace at General Atomics can accept one central solenoid module at a time. During a month-long process, heat treatment reacts niobium and tin to form the superconducting alloy Nb3Sn.
Heat treatment is the fabrication step during which the niobium and tin are reacted together to form the superconducting Nb3Sn alloy. The furnace—which is 12 metres tall when opened, with a diameter of 5.5 metres—holds one module at a time.

Temperatures are increased very progressively, maintained, then decreased progressively in a process that maintains the uniform "cooking" of the module.

"The heat treatment is what ultimately creates the solenoid's superconducting material, and completion of this process demonstrates that we are continuing to make good, consistent progress on this project," said John Smith, program manager for General Atomics.

The central solenoid magnet is formed from six individual coil modules stacked vertically within a "cage" of supporting structures.

At a facility in Poway, California, the US contractor General Atomics is currently overseeing fabrication activity at several points along its manufacturing line. While the first production module passes from the heat treatment station to the turn insulation station, teams are already joining the conductor sections of the second module. Finally the qualification coil—used to validate all processes and tooling in advance of series production—has entered the final test station.

See the full press release from General Atomics.


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