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ITER plasma project achieves assembly milestone


The first sub-section of the ITER plasma chamber Photo: ITER
The first sub-section of the ITER plasma chamber has been lifted out of tooling and into the machine well

Photo: ITER

The ITER project – a global collaboration to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion power – has achieved a machine assembly milestone.

The first sub-section of the plasma chamber, under construction in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance in France, has been successfully lifted out of tooling and lowered into the machine well.  


The massive component was extracted from its assembly tool, rotated, transferred over the bioshield wall (with 20 cm to spare), and lowered into the tokamak* pit. The 1,380-tonne assembly (component plus rigging) weighed the equivalent of four fully loaded Boeing 747 aircraft and is six stories high.  


The installed sub-section is a modular assembly, formed from one vacuum vessel sector fitted with silver-coated thermal shields, and two D-shaped vertical superconducting electromagnets called toroidal field coils. Eight other similar assemblies will form the complete chamber and surrounding toroidal field coil superstructure. 


The ITER project will be the world's largest experimental fusion facility. It is a global collaboration, with Europe contributing almost half of the cost of its construction, while China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the US contributing equal shares of the remainder.  


*A tokamak confines plasma using magnetic fields in a doughnut shape called a ‘torus’