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Civil engineering works have been completed on the building that will house the fusion machine of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) at Cadarache in south-eastern France. The final concrete was poured yesterday for the upper part of the Tokamak Complex, meaning the metal frame of its roof can now be installed.

The Iter Organisation's European domestic agency, Fusion for Energy (F4E), awarded a EUR230 million (USD305 million) contract in December 2012 to the French-Spanish VFR consortium led by Vinci. The principal civil engineering contract covered the design and construction of 11 buildings and storage areas at the site, including the Tokamak Complex and the ITER Assembly Building.

The Tokamak Complex - measuring 80 metres in height, 120 m long and 73 m wide - will not only house the ITER tokamak but also more than 30 different plant systems for the machine's operation. Construction of the building will require 16,000 tonnes of rebar, 150,000 cubic metres of concrete, and 7500 tonnes of steel.

The foundations of the Tokamak Complex - a nuclear-rated structure of reinforced concrete supported on aseismic isolators - were completed in August 2014. Since then, work has progressed on the concrete walls and floors of the structure. Tens of thousands of embedded plates have been cast into the concrete of the floors, walls and ceilings of the building to provide anchoring for the systems and equipment.

The VFR consortium is led by Vinci via its subsidiaries Vinci Construction Grands Projets, Vinci Construction France and Dodin Campenon Bernard. It also includes Razel-Bec of France and Ferrovial of Spain.

Jérôme Stubler, chairman of Vinci Construction, said: "ITER is a one-of-a-kind research programme in terms of its complexity, precision and size. It is an extraordinary human undertaking, but also a huge technical challenge, and we were constantly called on to innovate and expand our expertise. With ITER, we are humbly helping to implement one of the greatest and most ambitious energy projects of our time, designed to make electricity available throughout the world without CO2 emissions or radiological risk."

Bernard Bigot, director general of Iter Organisation, added: "In deciding to take part in the leading construction of the particularly complex ITER buildings, Vinci undertook to help write a new chapter in one of the most ambitious and promising research programmes ever undertaken - a programme designed to reproduce on Earth the reactions that have been taking place in the heart of the Sun and stars for billions of years."

ITER will be a 500 MW tokamak fusion device (requiring an input of 50 MW) designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy. The European Union is contributing almost half of the cost of its construction, while the other six members (China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the USA) are contributing equally to the rest. The target for first plasma is 2025.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Date: Saturday, 09 November 2019
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