ITER evaluates progress of construction, manufacturing & assembly

23 November 2021

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The ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) Council has convened via remote video conference to assess the latest progress reports and performance metrics of the ITER Project.

The two-day, online meeting (November 17-18), was the 29th session since the first ITER Council convened in November 2007, just one month after the formal establishment of the ITER Organization.

Under the chairmanship of LUO Delong, from China, representatives of the ITER Members reviewed the progress of construction, manufacturing, and assembly, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on project execution.

"The project has continued to progress, with respect to both Members' best efforts for delivery of components and worksite installation and assembly activities," said Delong. "The effects of technical challenges and the ongoing pandemic are being closely monitored, with constant attention to mitigation measures to uphold project progress."

The ITER Organization has now accumulated significant experience in the assembly and installation of the components received from ITER Members. Five major components have been installed in the Tokamak pit (cryostat base, cryostat lower cylinder, lower cryostat thermal shield, poloidal field coil #6, and poloidal field coil #5), and the next large lift—the first vacuum vessel sector sub-assembly—is imminent. Major progress has been achieved on the installation of plant support systems.

A second vacuum vessel sector has been received on site and will soon be lifted into assembly tooling. The ITER Organization has also received the first two central solenoid modules and eight toroidal field coils (with four more travelling).

The ITER Council asked the ITER Organization to prepare a baseline update for consideration at its next meeting in June 2022 and to take all possible measures to ensure the start of fusion power operation in 2035 as currently planned.

The 29th ITER Council was the last meeting for Mr Delong, who reaches the end of his two-year term on December 31. The Council elected Massimo Garribba, from Europe, as the next Chair of the ITER Council and Viktor Ilgisonis, from Russia, as the next Vice-Chair.

The Council noted that the ITER Organization and its collaboration partners are facing unprecedented pressure due to the pandemic and the difficulties encountered in manufacturing some of ITER’s First-of-a-Kind components.

The Council encouraged all ITER Members to meet their in-kind and in-cash commitments to enable the successful implementation of the construction strategy on schedule. The Council requested the ITER Organization and its collaboration partners to take all possible measures to ensure Fusion Power Operation in 2035 as currently planned.

Council Members reaffirmed their strong belief in the value of the ITER mission, and resolved to work together to find timely solutions to facilitate ITER’s success. The Council congratulated the One-ITER Team on the commitment to effective collaboration that has put the project on the path to success.The Council will continue to monitor project performance closely, and to provide the support needed to ensure a robust pace of achievement.

ITER—designed to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion power—will be the world's largest experimental fusion facility. Fusion is the process that powers the Sun and the stars: when light atomic nuclei fuse together to form heavier ones, a large amount of energy is released. Fusion research is aimed at developing a safe, abundant and environmentally responsible energy source.

ITER is also a first-of-a-kind global collaboration. Europe is contributing almost half of the costs of its construction, while the other six Members to this joint international venture (China, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the USA), are contributing equally to the rest. The ITER Project is under construction in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, in the south of France.

To learn more, WATCH our video with Lee Coxon, CMA (Construction Management as an Agent) Lifting & Handling manager, ITER.