In the ITER Assembly Hall, inside one of the tall sector sub-assembly tools (SSAT-2), the first of these building blocks is progressively taking shape. In April, following an eight-month preparatory campaign after it was
With the scaffolding now removed, the three constitutive components of the first sub-assembly are revealed in all their technological splendour and complexity: to the right, the 40° vacuum vessel sector encased in its silver-plated thermal shield panels; to the left, toroidal field coil #12. (Toroidal field coil #13 is only partly visible through the sector's D-shaped opening.)
Over the past year, the Assembly Hall has been the stage of many a spectacular operation: components of all sizes, shapes and weight (up to 1,250 tonnes) have been lifted, upended, transported and installed. Some looked like flying saucers, others like a giant Life Savers mint; some were just plain steel, others shone like a silver armband.
Taken from high above, this image shows the complex system of alignment units used in positioning each toroidal field coil with utmost precision. In the background, sitting on the floor of the Assembly Hall, poloidal field coil #5 (17 metres in diameter) is being prepped for installation in the assembly pit in mid-September.