Europe and Japan celebrate completion of ITER Toroidal Field coils

On stage during the ceremony the ITER Director-General, the Director of F4E and President of QST, handing out the recognition certificates to the managers of the teams involved in the production of the TF coils, July 2024. ©ITER Organization

The Toroidal Field (TF) coils are unquestionably some of the most complex components of the ITER device. Their role will be to confine the super-hot plasma so that it floats inside a magnetic cage without touching the walls of the vessel. These powerful superconducting coils will generate a total magnetic energy of 41 gigajoules, making  ITER’s magnetic field about 250 000 times stronger than that of the Earth.

From developing a procurement strategy to rolling out production, it took roughly 15 years to complete them all. The two main partes responsible for manufacturing of these magnets were Europe and Japan. F4E was responsible for ten of them, while QST for eight plus one spare.  Each magnet measures 17 x 9 m and weighs roughly 320 t — as much as an Airbus A350. Europe’s magnet was the first of the 18 to reach the ITER site, Cadarache, in 2020 during lockdown.

F4E & SIMIC representatives in the middle of a Toroidal Field coil
F4E and SIMIC members of staff stand in the middle of the TF coil. Picture taken at SIMIC factory, Marghera, Italy, March 2020. ©SIMIC

In Europe, at least 40 companies, and more than 700 people, were involved in the production of these coils. The main contractors were SIMIC, ASG Superconductors, CNIM, Iberdrola Ingeniería y Construcción, Elytt y and the ICAS consortium. The manufacturing of the ten European magnets unfolded in several factories: Turin (Italy), where ICAS produced the conductor; La Spezia (Italy), where ASG Superconductors, in collaboration with Elytt Energy, and Iberdrola Ingeniería y Construcción, manufacture the inner-core of the magnets; Toulon (France), where CNIM produced the equipment to insert the conductor into the magnet; Marghera (Italy), where SIMIC produced special equipment to insert the conductor into the magnet. In the same facility, cold tests were performed, and subsequently, the coils were inserted inside their case coming from Japan. To watch how Europe produced its ten TF coils, click here.

Italian Minister during a guided tour
(L-R) Pietro Barabaschi, Director-General of ITER Organization during a guided tour in the ITER Assembly Hall with Italy’s, Minister for Environment and Energy Security, Gilberto Pichetto Fratin, July 2024. ©ITER Organization

Under the auspices of ITER Organization, with F4E (Europe) and QST(Japan) as co-hosts, a ceremony was organised on-site to celebrate the delivery of all TF coils by bringing together the teams from Europe, Japan and a selected group of dignitaries. Pietro Barabaschi, Director-General of ITER Organization, welcomed all guests on-site and captured their attention by drawing some links between science and fiction. “Created by human minds and hands, these technological marvels are more than the backbone of the ITER machine…Having brought together essentially all the ITER Member in their design and fabrication process they represent the very soul of the project.”

EU Commissioner for Energy delivering remarks at the Toroidal Field coils celebration
EU Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, delivering her remarks at the TF Coils ceremony, July 2024. ©ITER Organization

Japan’s Minister for Education, Culture, Sports, Masahito Moriyana, praised all parties for working together to bring fusion energy closer. While Italy’s Minister for Environment and Energy Security, Gilberto Pichetto Fratin, took the opportunity to highlight the need for a new energy model and congratulated Italian companies for their involvement in ITER. Kadri Simson, EU Commissioner for Energy, called it: “A good day for the world. Some of the companies involved now apply the technologies and know-how they developed for ITER to other projects. This demonstrates the added value of working for this international experiment.” 

Head of Tokamak Programme of ITER receiving the Toroidal Field coil recognition certificate
(L-R) Alessandro Bonito-Oliva, Head of Tokamak Programme of ITER Organization, receiving the recognition certificate by the F4E Director, Marc Lachaise at the TF coils ceremony, July 2024. ©ITER Organization

Marc Lachaise, F4E Director, explained that “the fabrication of the toroidal field coils required top expertise, large facilities with special equipment, a lot of coordination between the different interfaces and a procurement strategy that could provide all the above. From the outset, it could have seemed impossible… But our teams made it possible.”

During the ceremony a short video was projected bringing together some of the key voices involved in the production of the TF coils, and recognition certificates were handed out to various team members.

To watch the video on the fabrication of the ITER toroidal field coils, click  here
To watch the highlights of the TF coils ceremony, click here.