Project: ITER – Fusion For Energy
Location: South of France
Cable type: Supply of key components of the ITER experiment
ENEA, a world leader in the design and production of superconducting cables for Controlled Thermonuclear Fusion, led by Eng. Anthony Court; Criotec Srl, experts in the manufacturing of components operating at very low temperatures and TRATOS, a leading global manufacturer of electric cables and optical fibre, together supply key components of the ITER experiment.
Built at Cadarache in France, its purpose is to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of energy production by controlled thermonuclear fusion. Tratos and other members of the industrial partner community have been specifically identified and qualified by ENEA for joint participation in the contract, and a world-stage experiment.
The tender was instigated by Fusion for Energy (F4E) for the production of Cable-In-Conduit (CIC) superconducting wire. The wire, manufactured by Tratos, was to be used in the worldwide construction of magnets for the ITER reactor and also the Japanese JT60SA. F4E awarded Tratos the contract for cabling and jacketing of approximately 20 km of ITER Toroidal Field (TF) conductors and in the region of 28 km of JT-60SA TF conductors, plus the jacketing of around 22 km of Poloidal Field (PF) conductors.
The superconductivity laboratory (ENEA) made its selection from the international firms chosen to tender, based on the synergy between the scientific and technical knowledge of ENEA and potential partners’ production capacity. Tratos and its partners had to create excellent prototypes to ensure the group succeeded against high-level international competitors.
The four-year contract, which is worth around €49 million, is managed by the ICAS consortium (Italian Consortium on Applied Superconductivity) and coordinated by ENEA. In addition to Tratos’ cabling and jacketing, ICAS is responsible for the procurement of the stainless tubes, wraps and central spiral required for the conductors. The copper and Niobium-tin (Nb 3Sn) superconducting wires (strands) for the ITER TF coils are supplied by F4E.
The cables for the ITER PF coils are supplied by the Russian Federation for final jacketing, in the frame of a bilateral agreement with F4E. The European contribution to the manufacture of the PF1 and PF6 coil conductors is approximately one-third, with the Russian ITER Domestic Agency procuring the remaining part. The schedule, technical aspects and legal issues for successful implementation of the contract were discussed during the kick-off meeting held between F4E and ICAS in early January 2011. Next ICAS went on to complete building the jacketing line; a stand of 800 metres where the jacket assembly, and inserting cable into the jacket, takes place.
The basic superconducting material supplied by Fusion for Energy and valued at around €90 million, went on to undergo initial processing by TRATOS at its Pieve Santo Stefano (AR) manufacturing plant, with the final assembly carried out by Criotec in Chivasso (Turin). ENEA’s task was to oversee and coordinate all activities to ensure the ‘the art’ of producing these components was realised.