October 14, 2019

Franco-Chinese consortium wins contract for vital component in ITER nuclear fusion project

Framatome, as part of a Franco-Chinese consortium, won a contract to build the machine at the heart of ITER, an international nuclear fusion project. Along with Framatome, the consortium includes China Nuclear Power Engineering, China Nuclear Industry 23 Construction Company Ltd, Southwestern Institute of Physics and the Institute of Plasma Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The contract covers the assembly and installation of the tokamak machine, an experimental machine that harnesses the energy of fusion. Inside the machine, energy produced through the fusion of atoms is absorbed as heat. Just like a conventional power plant, a fusion power plant will use this heat to produce steam and then electricity.

The consortium will install the tokamak’s stainless-steel, high-vacuum pressure chamber (known as the cryostat) and its thermal shield, magnet power supply, the electromagnet (called the central solenoid), correction coils, cooling equipment and instrumentation.

"Framatome is proud to contribute to the most ambitious energy project in the world," said Catherine Cornand, senior executive vice president of Framatome's Installed Base Business Unit. “Over the past six decades, Framatome's teams have acquired unparalleled experience on more than 380 reactors worldwide. This contract is recognition of our expertise and know-how in the fields of innovation, engineering and services, installation, maintenance, and component replacements on demanding and complex nuclear projects.”

"We look forward to collaborating with world-renowned industry specialists for the on-time and to-specification assembly of one of the world's most challenging, promising and important scientific instruments." said Bernard Bigot, director-general of the ITER Organization.

In southern France, 35 nations are collaborating to build the world's largest tokamak, which is intended to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy based on the same principle that powers the sun and stars. The experimental campaign to be conducted at ITER is crucial to advancing fusion science and preparing the way for the fusion power plants of tomorrow.