Subscribe options

Select your newsletters:

Please enter your email address:

@

News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • FEC2020 | Seeking sponsors for 28th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference

    For only the third time since 1961, the International Atomic Energy Agency's Fusion Energy Conference will be taking place in France—hosted jointly by the Frenc [...]

    Read more

  • Nuclear safety | Under constant scrutiny

    Because one of the elements involved in the fusion reaction is the radioactive isotope tritium, and because the hydrogen fusion reaction itself generates a high [...]

    Read more

  • Power conversion | Alien structures and strange contraptions

    There are places in ITER that seem to belong to another world, places full of alien structures and strange contraptions. The feeling—a mixture of awe and puzzle [...]

    Read more

  • Tokamak Complex | A changing landscape

    For the past three years, the view from the top of the highest worksite crane has not changed much. Inside of the Tokamak Complex, 80 metres below, concrete gal [...]

    Read more

  • Ion cyclotron heating | How to pump 20 MW of power into 1 gram of plasma

    To power the ion cyclotron system, the ITER Organization and its partners are designing not only new antennas, which will be housed in the tokamak vessel, but a [...]

    Read more

Of Interest

See archived entries

Central solenoid

Module #1 nears completion

US ITER

US ITER and contractor General Atomics recently achieved a major milestone in the fabrication of the ITER central solenoid, completing vacuum pressure impregnation (VPI) on the first production module. The VPI process is the penultimate step of fabrication that turns almost 6 km of carefully wound superconducting conductor into a structurally strong, electrically insulated electromagnet.
The module fabrication team at the General Atomics Magnet Technology Center in Poway, California. Six stacked modules will form the 1,000-tonne central solenoid magnet. Photo: GA (Click to view larger version...)
The module fabrication team at the General Atomics Magnet Technology Center in Poway, California. Six stacked modules will form the 1,000-tonne central solenoid magnet. Photo: GA
"Completion of VPI is a critical step in the process and the team worked diligently and with great care to insure its success," said John Smith, project manager for General Atomics. "The first production unit now looks like a central solenoid module, and it won't be too much longer before it is complete and begins to function as one."

The central solenoid, often called the "heart of ITER," is essential for operation, serving to initiate plasma and generate the necessary current for plasma heating and sustainment. Six modules will be stacked to form the 1,000-tonne central solenoid, which will be the largest pulsed superconducting magnet in the world when it is complete. General Atomics is under contract to US ITER to fabricate the six modules plus one spare.

During vacuum pressure impregnation, the team evacuates a rigid mold encasing the coil and injects a three-part epoxy mixture to impregnate the insulation materials wrapped around each conductor turn, plus the ground insulation around the module itself. The epoxy provides both electrical insulation and structural support to the module. In a final fabrication step, piping is added and the assembly undergoes final testing.

Fabrication of the modules began in 2016 at the General Atomics Magnet Technologies Center in Poway, California. The manufacturing process takes approximately 22-24 months per module plus an additional 5-6 months of testing. Five modules are currently in various stages of production.

General Atomics has been a pioneer in fusion research and development for over 50 years and is also home to the DIII-D National Fusion Facility, funded by the Department of Energy through the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences.


return to the latest published articles