Subscribe options

Select your newsletters:


Please enter your email address:

@

News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • Fusion machines | The second-hand market

    Whatever their size, fusion devices are fine pieces of technology that are complex to design and expensive to build. As research progresses and experimental pro [...]

    Read more

  • Manufacturing in China | A set of clamps to resist all loads

    China is providing an extensive array of supports and clamps for ITER's superconducting magnet systems—in all, more than 1,600 tonnes of equipment. On 9 June, t [...]

    Read more

  • Power electronics | Coaxial cables arrive from Russia

    Thirty-eight reels of cable on 13 specially equipped trailers ... the recent convoy of electrotechnical equipment shipped by the Russian Domestic Agency was the [...]

    Read more

  • Conference|Lions and mammoths and cave bears—oh my!

    Separated by less than 200 kilometres in space—but by 36,000 years in time—the ITER Tokamak and the Chauvet Cave may seem to have little in common. But to scien [...]

    Read more

  • Neutral beam test facility | First ITER test bed enters operation

    For all those who had contributed to designing and building the world's largest negative ion source, it was a deeply symbolic moment. ITER Director-General Bern [...]

    Read more

Of Interest

See archived articles

Vacuum vessel in Europe

Assembling the puzzle

Five thousand tonnes of steel, dozens of "port" openings at three levels, interfaces with nearly every major system ... ITER's steel vacuum vessel is one of the largest-scale and most complex of the ITER "objects" to manufacture.

Assembly work is underway on one of the sub-segments of vacuum vessel sector #5. Vacuum vessel manufacturing is time-consuming and labour intensive due to the sheer volume of sub-elements, their unconventional shapes, and their size. (Click to view larger version...)
Assembly work is underway on one of the sub-segments of vacuum vessel sector #5. Vacuum vessel manufacturing is time-consuming and labour intensive due to the sheer volume of sub-elements, their unconventional shapes, and their size.
In Europe, which is producing five of the nine vacuum vessel sectors, a consortium of industrial firms has divided out the tasks of manufacturing the many sub-elements of each sector, step-by-step assembly activities, and demanding welding and non-destructive examination stages.

With contractors and subcontractors located across Europe, the European vacuum vessel fabrication consortium (see more here) has sought to increase its manufacturing capacity. In a recent article on vacuum vessel manufacturing progress, the European Domestic Agency reports that all five sectors are now in some stage of fabrication, with sector #5—the first due on site according to the ITER machine assembly schedule—leading the pack.

European companies CNIM (France), ENSA (Spain), MAN (Germany), ProBeam (Germany), Belleli (Italy), Mangiarotti (Italy), Walter Tosto (Italy), and Ansaldo Nucleare (Italy) are all involved.

Vacuum vessel manufacturing is time-consuming and labour intensive due to the sheer volume of sub-elements, their unconventional shapes, and their size. At the end of the process, each sector will measure 6.5 metres high, 3 x 6 metres in width and depth, and weigh between 400 and 500 tonnes. Fabrication is a multiyear process that has involved multiple qualification phases before passing on to manufacturing design, material procurement, precise machining, and finally welding. Because the vacuum vessel and ports are classified as nuclear pressure equipment under French ESPN regulations, the welding and non-destructive examination activities are submitted to particularly stringent specifications.

For the European industries involved participation in such a high-profile and demanding manufacturing project has contributed to increasing their expertise and skill base, and improving their competitiveness on world markets. (See related article in this issue.)

Read the full article on the European Domestic Agency website here.


return to the latest published articles