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Of Interest

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Central solenoid

Fabrication complete on first of 7 modules

US ITER

When ITER begins operations in 2025, its plasma will be initiated by the largest stacked pulsed superconducting magnet ever built—the ITER central solenoid. The US ITER magnets team, based at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is overseeing the fabrication of the central solenoid modules, support structures, and assembly tooling. A major milestone was reached this spring when vendor General Atomics completed fabrication of the first of seven modules.

Before a 110-tonne module can be completed, it must be turned over by a specialized handling tool. US ITER contractor General Atomics is fabricating seven modules for the central solenoid (six plus one spare). Photo: GA (Click to view larger version...)
Before a 110-tonne module can be completed, it must be turned over by a specialized handling tool. US ITER contractor General Atomics is fabricating seven modules for the central solenoid (six plus one spare). Photo: GA
"General Atomics has done an outstanding job to reach the difficult and important milestone of completing module 1 fabrication," said Wayne Reiersen, US ITER Central Solenoid Magnets Team Leader. "This is the culmination of an eight-year effort involving concurrent engineering of the module design, the creation of a facility in which these powerful superconducting magnets could be built and tested, the qualification of the manufacturing processes, and the building of this first-of-a-kind module."

The module during completion of helium piping. Photo: GA (Click to view larger version...)
The module during completion of helium piping. Photo: GA
The next step for the module is intensive testing to ensure that the component is ready to perform in the ITER Tokamak. The module has already completed the first Paschen voltage test as well as a global leak test.

The central solenoid will be installed in the centre of the ITER machine, and will drive up to 45,000 amps of current in each module during plasma operation. Six modules will be stacked to form the 17-metre-tall solenoid, while the seventh module will serve as a spare.

Fabrication of each module requires multiple fabrication steps spread out over 24 months.

Click here to read the General Atomics press release.

For a detailed view of the module manufacturing process, see "Building the Heart of ITER" on the Oak Ridge National Laboratory YouTube channel.


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