Walking among the spartan aisles and towering shelves of the massive ITER warehouse is like walking through the self-serve area at the back of an IKEA store. But instead of bookcases and bed frames, this warehouse is home to parts for the world's largest nuclear fusion facility, from multi-tonne tokamak components to tiny pieces of hardware smaller than walnuts. Like the 90° elbow joint that Daniel Mittag has just plucked from a box on shelf 31-B-03-C.
Daniel Mittag heads the Integrated Material & Logistics Management Group, with responsibility for the 1.5 million components currently being stored in the ITER warehouse system. Including this 3 x 20 mm elbow joint.
Storage was another puzzle to solve. ITER has a main 36,000m² warehouse on the northern edge of its site in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance and five 6,000m² storage facilities near the port in Fos-sur-Mer. An item's initial location depends on available space and storage requirements (D for outdoors, C for indoors, B for temperature control, and A for humidity and temperature control). Because of its radioactive confinement role in the tritium system, the elbow joint was classified as a Protection Important Component (PIC) and given a C classification for the main warehouse, so this is where it was delivered by AStrans.
The main ITER warehouse on site, where components are stored according to specific requirements such as temperature and humidity control. On average, four or five shipments arrive at the main warehouse each day.