TRATOS CABLE AT HEART OF ITER FUSION4ENERGY - Tratos

TRATOS CABLE AT HEART OF ITER FUSION4ENERGY

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Tratos has been part of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor’s (ITER) Fusion4Energy project for more than a decade.  

The company purpose-built cable creates some of the biggest and most challenging superconducting electromagnets ever produced in the history of mankind.

These gigantic magnets are 60m long, 9m wide and weigh 300 tonnes; the equivalent of a Boeing 747.

The magnets require 750m of conductor bound in a double spiral trajectory to form a series of seven precision-engineered D-shaped double ‘pancakes’ which are then stacked, bonded, wrapped, bound, laser-welded by robots and cured at high temperatures.

The Toroidal Field (TF) coils will be operated with an electrical current of 68 000 amps in order to
produce the magnetic field which confines and holds the plasma in place in the ITER tokamak.

The conductor cable is composed of about 1000 superconducting and copper wires inside a 2 mm-thick round stainless steel jacket, 43.7 mm in diameter.

Tratos’ cable was delivered on-spool in a single 760m length, weighing seven tonnes. It was initially unspooled and straightened, after which the cable was cleaned and sandblasted, before being used and shaped into a 12m (l) x 9m (w) double pancake.

The shipment of the first completed components for the ITER Fusion4Engergy project began in 2014 and will continue through the 2020s. 

The first Plasma is planned for December 2025. ITER is one of the most complex scientific and engineering projects in the world today.

Tratos has been involved in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) fusion for energy project since its inception.

Together with other members of the 26-strong international industrial partner community the company was specifically identified and qualified by ENEA for joint participation in a contract and world-stage controlled thermonuclear fusion experiment.

At Cadarache in France,  the project was set up to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of energy production by controlled thermonuclear fusion with a leading global manufacturer of electric cables and optical fibre, with Tratos, supplying key components of the ITER experiment.  

Tratos is responsible for the production of Cable-In-Conduit (CIC) superconducting wire.  The wire was destined for the worldwide construction of magnets for the ITER reactor and also the Japanese JT60SA.   F4E (Fusion4Energy) 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.

ICAS (Italian Consortium for Applied Superconductivity) performs all cabling activities at the TRATOS Cavi S.p.A. factory at Pieve Santo Stefano (AR – Italy).  

Two production lines were set up. The first line is dedicated to the manufacturing of Low-Temperature superconducting cables (based on Nb3Sn and NbTi strands) which means that it is currently involved in the ITER and JT-60SA productions.

The second line is dedicated to the production of High-Temperature superconducting cables, based mainly on YBCO tapes twisted into Aluminum slotted core: these cables are currently used for the development of power distribution/transmission lines.

ICAS (Innovation and Consulting on Applied Superconductivity) was founded in September 2010, with the original scope of supplying the European portion of the superconducting conductors for the ITER and the JT-60SA nuclear reactors, in France and Japan.  It provides services and products serving Superconductivity and High Tech power applications.

In the last three-four years the project has seen landmark progress:

March 2016
The first Toroidal Field coil for the JT-60SA tokamak reactor wound with conductors produced by ICAS has been successfully tested at CEA-Saclay, France.

19 April 2016
The first huge Toroidal Field coil for the ITER tokamak reactor has been successfully wound at ASG-La Spezia, using conductors produced by ICAS

5 May 2016
A large-size rectangular Nb3Sn Cable-in-Conduit Conductor for the European DEMO Toroidal Field Coil, designed by ENEA and manufactured by ICAS partners, has been successfully tested at the EDIPO facility of the SPC (Switzerland), establishing new record performance.

5 July 2016
The first Toroidal Field coil for the JT-60SA tokamak reactor, manufactured with conductors produced by ICAS, has arrived from Europe to the JT-60SA site in Naka, Japan, where its assembly will soon begin.

19 July 2016
The last European Poloidal Field conductor has been successfully produced at ICAS.

6 October 2016
ICAS has been assigned by CERN of the MgB2 sub-cables production for the HL-LHC Superconducting Link Project.

12 January 2017
JT-60SA TF coils with conductors produced by ICAS, begin to be assembled at NAKA.

6 March 2017
ICAS has been selected for the award of a contract for the qualification and development of the ITER In-Vessel Coils Conductors.

10 March 2017
ICAS is now a member of the Consortium of European Companies determined To Use Superconductivity (CONECTUS).

16 March 2017
ICAS is one of the Italian industrial excellences participating to the “Italy at CERN” event (Geneva, 4 – 7 April 2017), organized by the CERN ILO for Italy, in collaboration with the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Switzerland, and under the patronage of the Italian Permanent Representative in Geneva.

8 November 2017
After six years of intense work, the production of 100 km of superconducting cables for the magnets of the experimental ITER and JT-60SA fusion reactors has been successfully completed. The ICAS Consortium has celebrated this milestone with the event held on November 8th, at Criotec Impianti.

20 December 2017
Chinese company ASIPP has successfully wound the first Double Pancake of the ITER PF6 coil using superconducting cable produced by ICAS.

18 September 2018
ICAS exhibits at 30th Symposium on Fusion Technology (September 16-21, Giardini Naxos, Sicily – Italy).

23 November 2018
ICAS has been honoured by F4E with an appreciation plaque for having successfully supplied superconducting cables for 20 Toroidal Field coils of the JT-60SA fusion experimental reactor. The toroidal system assembly has been completed at Naka site (Japan) and this event has been celebrated at ENEA’s headquarters on the 15th of November, 2018.

16 December 2018
ICAS has been selected by ITER for the award of Phase 2 of “Conductor manufacturing of ITER In-Vessel Coils (IVC)”.

18 December 2018
ICAS has been selected by CERN for the supply of MgB2 Cable Assemblies for the HL-LHC Superconducting Links.

6 February 2019
ICAS set up a production line to process copper conductors in order to prepare, apply and cure a cyanate ester-based primer, aimed to improve the adhesion of epoxy resin insulation to copper. With this semi-automatic line, a total of about 1.5 km of conductors for nuclear fusion application have been already treated successfully in a complete temperature and moisture controlled clean environment.

March 2020
Production of the superconducting electromagnets. 

Tratos is one of three charter members of ICAS (ENEA, TRATOS and CRIOTEC) behind the design and manufacture of a rectangular Nb3Sn Cable-in-Conduit Conductor (CICC) with distributed pressure relief channels, that have reached the record performances of 81.7 kA in a magnetic field of 13 T up to about 7 K. 

  • ENA is Italy’s national agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable economic development.
  • CRIOTEC is a Spanish technology company which specialises in cryogenic and high vacuum technologies.

Tratos has manufacturing bases in Italy and the UK and offices in more than 50 countries.

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