ITER Tritium building civil engineering works completed

Representatives from F4E, Vinci, Ferrovial, Razel-Bec, Engage consortium, ITER Organization celebrating the completion of civil engineering works of the Tritium building, ITER site, Cadarache, France, December 2023. ©ITER Organization

Another construction milestone on the ITER site was successfully reached. This time, however, the spotlight was in the Tritium building. It’s where the fusion fuel will be stored, in order to be released in the heart of the device to produce the fusion reaction. Inside the walls of this facility, the equipment to handle and recycle tritium and deuterium, as part of the detritiation process, will also be housed. The completion of the works came a few months after F4E and its contractors signed off all paperwork pending paving the way for the handover of the Tokamak building to ITER Organization. For those interested in the history of ITER and its components, there is an interesting detail to keep in mind.  In 2016 the water detritriation tanks , produced by Europe, were the first pieces of equipment installed in the Tokamak complex, and more specifically in the Tritium building. One could argue that eight years later we have come full circle where there these components have a roof over their head.

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Start of the civil engineering works of the Tritium building, ITER construction site, Cadarache, France, January 2021. ©ITER Organization

The civil engineering works of this building started in January 2021, following the signature of a contract between F4E and the consortium of Vinci, Ferrovial, Razel-Bec, ITER Organization (VFR) for the value of 60 million EUR. A total of 172 contractors were involved at peak time amounting to 700 000 hours of work. The facility counts five floors and the area covered by this contract represents 9 000 m2 . It is hosting 3 100 tonnes of steel, 20 000 embedded plates, and 12 000 m3 of concrete that works as a barrier for nuclear confinement. Remember this is a facility that must comply with the strict prerequisites set by France’s Nuclear Safety Authority. Some may wonder why the rush to complete the works when tritium operations for ITER are scheduled much later. The reason is that non-nuclear components, needed at an earlier phase of the project, had to be installed in this facility (vacuum pumping, HVAC, etc). Through other contracts put in place by F4E future works will be conducted such as painting, expected to be completed by the end of this year, and the installation of 200 nuclear doors by the end of 2025.

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Completion of the civil engineering works of the Tritium building, ITER construction site, Cadarache, France, December 2023. ©ITER Organization

We spoke to Romaric Darbour, F4E Deputy Programme Manager for the Buildings and Site Management Programme, whose team was responsible for the execution of this contract. “ The successful completion of the works in the Tritium building, results from the excellent collaboration with the VFR consortium and colleagues in ITER Organization. I would also like to thank the Engage consortium, Apave, Energia for their contribution to this achievement. We worked as one team and the previous experience we acquired from works on-site helped us in executing our plan. We have delivered on time, in line with our initial budget and with an even stronger team spirit.”

Civil engineering works on the ITER construction site have progressed on many fronts reaching an impressive 95% of completion for the buildings and infrastructure required for the first phase of the experiment. The teams on the ground continue to work relentlessly as the new baseline is being prepared to be rolled out during this year.

 To view the latest progress of the ITER site click here.