Russian specialists test prototype of wall panel for ITER

16 August 2023

Specialists at Russia’s DV Efremov Institute of Electrophysical Apparatus (NIIEFA, part of Rosatom) in St Petersburg have begun acceptance tests of the full-scale prototype panel for the first wall of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor ITER under construction at Cadarache in France.

The first stage of the test involved measurement of the geometric parameters of the prototype, which was carried out using an optical scanning machine. The purpose was to check conformity of the product to drawings, as well as to build a 3D model with real dimensions based on the data obtained. This was integrated into the overall virtual assembly of ITER and checked in relation to other components of the installation. Before the end of the year, the prototype panel will undergo static and dynamic hydraulic tests and leak testing with hot helium. Based on the results of the acceptance tests, ITER will decide on transition to serial production of panels for the first wall.

According to NIIEFA, the panels of the first wall of the reactor are among the most important and technically complex components of ITER. Together with the diverter, they are in direct contact with the hot plasma. Each panel consists of 40 “fingers”. Each is a complex multi-layered construction of 16mm by 16 mm beryllium cubes soldered onto copper-chromium-zirconium alloy, which is bonded to the steel base by diffusion welding. Each panel, weighing around 800kg, measures about 2 metres by 1.5 metres by 0.5 metres. The panels have different shapes. NIIEFA’s specialists have developed 40 different designs.

The tests were carried out at the ITER Divertor Test Facility (IDTF) in St Petersburg, which supports tasks for the ITER project. Previously, a series of similar tests of both Russian and foreign equipment was carried out on the IDTF installation. These include all plasma-facing elements of the Russian full-scale prototype for the central assembly of the divertor (manufactured at NIIEFA), which has already been delivered to the ITER Organisation. In 2022, eight elements for serial central assemblies were also successfully tested.

In addition to undertaking testing, Russia’s main contribution is to ITER is to develop, manufacture and supply 25 systems for the fusion reactor. These include switching equipment, installations for testing, port plugins, divertor dome and thermal tests, poloidal field coil, upper spigots, 170 ghz gyrotrons, diagnostic systems, first wall, blanket module connectors, and port-plagiarism. The poloidal field coil, the largest and one of the most important components for future installation, was delivered to the site in France in February.

The ITER Centre, serves as the Russian national Agency ITER and is responsible for ensuring Russia's in-kind contribution to the project.

NIIEFA is a leading Russian scientific, design and production centre for the development of electrophysical installations and complexes for solving scientific and applied problems in the field of plasma physics, atomic and nuclear physics, and elementary particle physics. Installations developed at the Institute are operating in many organisations and enterprises in Russia, the CIS countries, Bulgaria, China, Cuba, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, North Korea and South Korea. Rosatom says that, despite sanctions and restrictions, Russia continues to fulfil its obligations to the ITER Project.

Image: Testing of the prototype wall panel (courtesy of JSC NIIEFA)

Privacy Policy
We have updated our privacy policy. In the latest update it explains what cookies are and how we use them on our site. To learn more about cookies and their benefits, please view our privacy policy. Please be aware that parts of this site will not function correctly if you disable cookies. By continuing to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy unless you have disabled them.