After almost 5 years of fabrication and a battery of rigorous testing and troubleshooting, General Atomics (GA) has accomplished the primary main milestone in one of many United States’ largest contributions to the ITER fusion undertaking in France. The first module of the ITER Central Solenoid will be part of six others nonetheless in fabrication to make up the most important pulsed superconducting magnet on the earth. The Central Solenoid will play a essential function in ITER’s mission to ascertain fusion as a sensible, secure and almost inexhaustible supply of unpolluted, plentiful and carbon-free electrical energy.
The first module of the Central Solenoid was constructed at GA’s Magnet Technologies Center in Poway, Calif., below the path of the US ITER undertaking, managed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). It will probably be shipped to France later this yr, the place ITER building is greater than 70 % full. When accomplished, the 1,000-ton, 59-foot-tall Central Solenoid will sit within the coronary heart of the fusion gadget, driving 15 million amperes of present by way of ITER’s plasma to warmth and stabilize the fusion response. ITER is on schedule to start first plasma operations in 2025.
“The Central Solenoid ranks among the many largest, most advanced and demanding magnet applications ever undertaken,” stated John Smith, GA’s Director of Engineering and Projects. “I feel I communicate for the complete staff after I say that is a very powerful and important undertaking of our careers. We have all felt the duty of engaged on a job that has the potential to actually change the world. This is a major achievement for the GA staff and US ITER.”
Fabrication of the primary module started in 2015, preceded by virtually 4 years of collaboration with consultants at US ITER to design the method and instruments for fabricating the modules. Each 14-foot-diameter, 250,000-pound module requires greater than two years of precision fabrication and consists of greater than three miles of niobium-tin superconducting cable.
The module was subjected to a sequence of demanding assessments throughout and after its manufacturing, inserting it in excessive situations much like what it’s going to expertise throughout ITER operation, together with near-complete vacuum and cryogenic temperatures required for the magnet to grow to be superconducting (four.5 Kelvin, about -450 levels Fahrenheit or -270 levels Celsius).
The Central Solenoid is without doubt one of the most vital U.S. contributions to ITER. Like the 34 different nations concerned within the undertaking, the U.S. is making a lot of its preliminary contribution within the type of elements which are manufactured right here and shipped to France. This permits member nations to assist home manufacturing, create high-tech jobs and develop new capabilities in non-public trade.
The U.S. is contributing about 9 % of the development prices for ITER, however it’s going to have entry to 100 % of the information and mental property from the huge experiment. That information will probably be essential for the U.S. fusion program, which final month unified behind a strategic plan that requires capitalizing on ITER’s data to construct a fusion pilot plant within the 2040s.
Since the daybreak of the atomic age, General Atomics improvements have superior the cutting-edge throughout the complete spectrum of science and expertise – from nuclear vitality and protection to medication and high-performance computing. General Atomics relies in SanDiego, CA.
(Source: General Atomics)


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