Neutral beam heating is the workhorse of plasma-heating techniques, injecting high-energy particles into the plasma in order to bring it to the temperature at which fusion reactions can occur. "Basically, a neutral beam injector is an ion accelerator. The speed of the particles, and hence the kinetic energy they can communicate to the plasma, is proportional to the voltage used to accelerate them," explains Hans Decamps, the electrical engineer responsible for the ITER neutral beam power supply.
Civil works for the neutral beam power supply infrastructure are now 40% complete. Hans Decamps, the electrical engineer responsible for the project (left) is seen here discussing with Aleksei Fedotov, the technical responsible officer for the Japanese contribution.
Such ultra-high voltage, sustained for such a long duration, is "outside and beyond anything that's ever been done in terms of electrical engineering," says Decamps. Designing the system has required a full decade of research and development and the construction of full-scale mockups in a
The steel frames for the twin halls of the heating neutral beam system (25 metres tall) are anchored in massive concrete slabs. For each heating neutral beam injector the building will accommodate one 9-metre-tall high-voltage deck sitting on its 6-metre-tall insulating supports, as well as the even-taller bushing (16 metres) for the giant insulating transformer.