Workers at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) under construction in Cadarache, southern France, took some 15 hours to pour 600 cubic metres of concrete to complete the first segment of the 3.2-metre-thick protective bioshield surrounding the machine. The pouring of the remaining segment is scheduled for January 2016. Iter said achieving a "perfect pour" for such a massive and strategic structure is so important that it was first practised in a specially constructed full-scale onsite mockup. The density of the lattice of steel reinforcement meant that traditional concrete vibrators could not be used to ensure the concrete reached every recess. Instead, an extra-fluid, self-compacting concrete was used after being tested in the mockup.
France's Air Liquide is to design and manufacture 19 cryogenic lines for the fusion project under a contract signed with Iter-India. The lines will transport helium at extremely low temperatures. Together with two earlier contracts signed in 2012 and 2013, Air Liquide has now been awarded Iter contracts worth some €250m ($283m). The total value of contracts for Iter signed with European companies and industrial operators exceeded €400m in 2014, Fusion for Energy (F4E), the organisation administering the project, said in a report. In addition, 86 new procurement tenders and smaller value contracts were launched. Since 2008, F4E has been collaborating with about 250 companies, more than 50 R&D organisations, and has awarded about 400 contracts with a total value of €3.9bn, the report said. Italy, France, Germany, Spain and the UK have been the top recipients of both industrial and R&D contracts.