At its 28th Meeting on 16-17 June, the ITER Council convened via remote video conference to assess the latest progress reports and performance metrics of the ITER Project. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) under construction in Saint-Paul-lès-Durance in southern France is a first-of-a-kind global collaboration. Construction of ITER is funded mainly by the European Union (45.6%) with the remainder shared equally by China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the USA (9.1% each). However, in practice, the members deliver little monetary contribution to the project, instead providing ‘in-kind’ contributions of components, systems or buildings.
ITER said the project has maintained steady progress, both with respect to delivery of components and worksite installation and assembly activities. “However, the effects of some technical challenges and the ongoing pandemic are being closely monitored, and will be further assessed after due consideration of all possible mitigation measures to prevent any delays that could impact the schedule for the achievement of First Plasma.”
The ITER Organisation and Domestic Agencies have “continued to exhibit resourcefulness and resolve in implementing continuity plans under COVID-19 conditions. The Council noted significant project achievements since its last meeting in November 2020, including the continued delivery of some major components and progress in machine assembly.
- The first of ITER’s superconducting magnets, poloidal field coil No 6, has been positioned in the tokamak pit, with one additional poloidal field coil completed and the others steadily progressing.
- Seven toroidal field coils have now been delivered to the ITER site, with the eighth completed and ready for shipment.
- The first module of the central solenoid is fully qualified and now ready for shipment, with the second to ship later this summer.
- Assembly of the first vacuum vessel sector sub-assembly has begun in the Assembly Hall, incorporating the associated toroidal field coils and thermal shield elements.
- All cryostat elements have been delivered to the ITER site, and welding is beginning on the cryostat lid.
- Manufacturing of the other key components is underway in the Members’ industrial enterprises.
- Major progress has been achieved on plant systems for reactive power compensation, magnet power conversion, cryogenics, and cooling water, with multiple systems beginning or preparing for commissioning.
The Council encouraged all ITER members to meet their in-kind and in-cash commitments to enable the successful implementation of the construction strategy on schedule. The Council requested the ITER Organisation and its collaboration partners to take all possible measures to ensure Fusion Power Operation in 2035 as currently planned.