Fusion: The world’s more sophisticated magnet starts its journey to ITER


The largest and more sophisticated magnet in the world has left the ASG Superconductors factory based in north-western Italy (La Spezia in Liguria region). We’re talking record numbers both for the coil (TF Coils) which weighs 120 tonnes, is 9 meter wide and 16 meter high and the mean of transportation, a Self propelled truck, a 24-axied remote-controlled truck which took it to the harbour to get aboard the “Bremer Helena” the ship that will reach the port of Marghera, for the last  manufacturing steps. After the casing phase is completed, the TF Coil (toroidal magnet) will head towards its final destination in Cadarache, France, site of the ITER project.

The aim of the project ITER is testing the feasibility of nuclear fusion energy, imitating the process that powers the sun and stars (for additional technical details see ITER press release)

The magnetic fields created by the TF coils play a key role in confining the super hot plasma reaching 150 million °C. The magnets are the result of accurate design and manufacturing,  which include state of the art robotic and computerized technology.

Fusion for Energy (F4E) is the organization responsible for Europe’s contribution to ITER, with over 26 companies and 600 employees involved in the manufacturing process.

Over 5.5 km of superconductive cable were used to manufacture the first coil.

The cable underwent several manufacturing stages like automated welding and the “vacuum chamber” test phase, which reproduces the space atmosphere so as to verify the quality of the component under future operating conditions.

This special superconductive cable was made in Italy by the Consortium ICAS (Italian Consortium for Applied Superconductivity), coordinated by ENEA and involving the italian Criotec Impianti and TRATOS Cavi.

The project, which has brought to Italy the manufacturing of 100 km of superconductive cables: 50 destined to the experimental facility ITER and 50 to the reactor JT-60SA under construction in Japan. A highly complex line of production, unique in Europe, using very expensive materials, difficult to process.

The winding of the conductor and the production of the entire magnet was carried out  by ASG Superconductors, Iberdrola Ingnieria & Costruccion and Elytt for a total of 158 million euro ALLOCATED/AWARDED by F4E, while the steel plates (radial plates) where the magnet is inserted were manufactured by Cnim and Simic.

Alessandro Bonito Oliva Head of magnets for F4E explained “the departure of Europe’s first magnet from the ASG factory is a milestone of great symbolic importance. This factory has been its “home” for over 5 years.  Many companies and their crews have worked daily to reach this objective and now we are entering into the final manufacturing stage. Congratulations to all!”

The President of ASG Superconductors, Davide Malacalza, said: “Our company collaborates daily with leading companies in the sector and the major research bodies and institutions like CERN, ENEA, INFN, Fermilab and GSI. Working at the ITER project with F4E is another example of a virtuous partnership between the public and the private sectors.

ASG Ceo Sergio Frattini said “Today an impressive magnet has left our factory and we are proud of it. We thank  all the people that worked on it but we cannot , rest on our laurels, we have to deliver 9 more magnets by 2019, some of which are already in the final stages of manufacturing”.

ASG Superconductors

Born following the privatization of the Ansaldo magnets unit in 2001, it has participated in all the major international projects in the sector of nuclear fusion, particle physics and superconductivity. It collaborates daily with italian research institutes (ENEA, INFM, INFN) and international (CERN, KIT, FERMILAB, GSI) beside providing superconducting magnets for medical use and applications in the energy sector. www.asgsuperconductors.com


Fusion for Energy

Fusion for Energy (F4E) is the European organisation responsible for Europe’s contribution to ITER. One of its main tasks is collaborating with the european industry, SMEs and research organisations to develop and provide a wide range of high technology components and engineering, maintenance and support services to  the project ITER.  F4E supports fusion research and development initiatives through the Broader Approach Agreement signed with Japan, which prepares for the construction of the demonstration fusion reactor (DEMO). F4E was established as an independent legal entity through a decision by the Council of the European Union in April 2007 for a period of 35 years. It is headquartered in Barcelona, Spain. http://www.fusionforenergy.europa.eu

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