ITER site to welcome two additional buildings

Aerial view of ITER construction site, where steel frame works of the Fast Discharge facility can be seen on the right of the Tokamak Complex, Cadarache, France, April 2022 © ITER Organization


There has been steady progress on the ITER site with more civil engineering works advancing in parallel. The handover of the ITER Tokamak building from F4E to ITER Organization, the operations in the Assembly Building, and the insertion of components in the tokamak pit have been on the spotlight. But rest assured that there is more happening on the ground. With nearly 80% of the buildings and infrastructure completed for first plasma operations, the F4E Buildings, Infrastructure and Power Supplies (BIPS) team has moved on to delivering buildings that will host people, and control equipment essential for operating the fusion device.

“Following the completion of the Tokamak Complex civil engineering works, we have shifted resources to the construction of buildings and infrastructure for future plasma operations. For instance, site infrastructure works, and the electrical distribution network are now mostly complete. Currently we are busy with the construction of buildings providing services or ensuring control operations for the fusion device. Thanks to the strong collaboration with the Engage consortium, ITER Organization, and our contractor Demathieu Bard Construction, we have successfully overcome any shortage of raw materials resulting from the pandemic. The delivery of the Control building, and the Fast Discharge Resistor buildings is testament to our strong team spirit and commitment,” explained Romaric Darbour, F4E Deputy Programme Manager for BIPS.

view of the ITER Control Building
View of the ITER Control Building, connected under the ground with ITER Organization Headquarters, ITER Construction site, Cadarache, France, September 2022 © ITER Organization

The works for the non-nuclear part of the ITER Control Building have been completed, counting on a workforce of 35 people on the ground, and resulting from a contract signed in 2019 between F4E and Demathieu Bard Construction for a value of 22 million EUR. With the shell in place, finishing works done, and having qualified as weathertight, the building is now ready to receive its first equipment starting with the electrical components. This will be one of the ITER flagship buildings for a number of reasons. First, it will stand out due to its futuristic look and feel. From illustrations already released, the design transmits simplicity and functionality. Second, in this building, operators will work to monitor the performance of the device. A sophisticated control room with screens and state of the art equipment will offer experts a view inside the machine. Third, an underground tunnel will connect building with the ITER Organization headquarters to facilitate access. The other part of the building, needed for the second phase of the ITER experiment, will be ready by 2030. Meanwhile, ITER Organization has already started installing equipment in the building.

illustration ITER control building
Artistic illustration of the ITER Control Building in dark grey and undulating steel © ENIA Architects

“We are pleased to have been involved in the civil engineering works of the ITER project through the Control and Fast Discharge buildings. The former being a flagship facility in terms of design and purpose will host personnel to supervise the device. The latter will house equipment to ensure that current is properly discharged from the superconducting magnets. We thank F4E for the good collaboration and our dedicated team of engineers and technicians who have demonstrated their capacity to contribute to the biggest fusion experiment of our times,” said Sébastien Berne, Nuclear Activities Director of Demathieu Bard Construction.

View of ITER Fast Discharge Building
View of ITER Fast Discharge Building works in progress, ITER construction site, Cadarache, France © ITER Organization

A few kilometers away, close to the Tokamak Complex, another facility is progressing under the supervision of F4E in partnership with Demathieu Bard Construction, for the ITER Fast Discharge Building. Design activities started in 2019 and civil works were completed in autumn 2022. Inside this facility, fast discharge resistors will be housed to extract and discharge an excess of energy received by the superconducting magnets, which will dissipate from the chimneys to be erected at a later stage. It is expected that the remaining works for this facility will be completed in autumn 2023 with electrical supplies and ventilation commissioned.