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Media Corner
09 January 2018

Working together on ITER’s vacuum vessel

All actors involved in delivering the ITER vacuum vessel during their visit to the workshop of MAN Diesel & Turbo SE in Deggendorf, Germany (copyright: Steve Schnieke).

​A meeting bringing together all actors involved in delivering the ITER vacuum vessel: the ITER IO Central Team, F4E and the three other Domestic Agencies from India, Korea, Russia, as well as international industry, namely the AMW consortium (consisting of Ansaldo Nucleare S.p.A, Mangiarotti S.p.A and Walter Tosto S.p.A), Equipos Nucleares SA (ENSA), Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), Avasarala Technologies Limited, MAN Diesel & Turbo SE (MDT), was held at the premises of ITER IO in Cadarache, France, as well as MAN Diesel & Turbo SE in Deggendorf, Germany.
Europe through F4E is responsible for delivering five of the nine vacuum vessel sectors for ITER, and Korea is responsible for providing the remaining four. Korea, who started work on the vacuum vessel sectors one year ahead of Europe, has recently completed the final welding of the first of the four segments for sector number 6. For the first time, this has allowed a substantial sharing of concrete technical knowledge from Korea to the involved Domestic Agencies participating in the meeting. In exchange, Europe also provided Korea feedback on its own manufacturing experience. “Since Korea is more advanced in its manufacturing, its contribution on manufacturing technologies, including non-destructive control methods, has been very valuable for Europe, as we can then use this knowledge in the fabrication of our own vacuum vessel sectors”, explains Francesco Zacchia, F4E’s Vacuum Vessel Project Team Manager. “The meeting also provided the opportunity for the participants to develop synergies and share experience”, he adds.

The group toured the MAN workshop and saw pieces which are being manufactured for the ITER project (photo courtesy of MAN Diesel & Turbo SE).

The ITER plasma will take place inside the vacuum vessel, a double-walled, hermetically-sealed steel container, consisting of nine “D” shaped sectors, that houses the fusion reaction. In its doughnut-shaped chamber, or torus, the plasma particles will spiral around continuously without touching the walls. In the space between the double walls, steel in-wall shielding blocks will provide protection from neutron radiation for components situated outside of the vessel; in addition, cooling water will circulate to remove the heat generated during operation. Openings, or ports, in the vacuum vessel will provide access for remote handling operations, diagnostics, heating, and vacuum systems.

The group also visited the ITER IO offices and the cryostat on the ITER site (photo courtesy of MAN Diesel & Turbo SE).

“These meetings are vital in collectively discussing manufacturing challenges – including complex interfaces, tight tolerances, first-of-a-kind technologies and constraining schedules”, says Francesco Zacchia. “Despite our geographical distance on a day-to-day basis, we are able to continuously streamline and improve”, he affirms.