|As the largest elements of the ITER project come up for procurement, so UK consortia are being formed to respond to the challenges identified by Fusion 4 Energy (F4E). The ITER Magnet consortium has recently submitted its Expression of Interest and is well placed to respond to an eventual call for tender.
Schematic showing ITER Magnets
Established in February, 2008, the ITER Magnet consortium is led by Cosworth, better known for its integration of mechanical and electronics technologies in the world of high performance motor sport, the company has diversified in recent years to add aerospace and energy generation to its business activities.
Called UK FusionTech, the ITER Magnet consortium comprises Cosworth; Scientific Magnetics - a manufacturer of superconducting magnet systems; the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), a key player for any large superconducting magnet project, which brings expertise of materials in radiation environments, and successful vacuum impregnation of large superconducting magnet structures; the Hyde Group, an engineering manufacturing company made up of three divisions: Tooling, Hyde Aero Products and Engineering; and International Business Wales, which will play an important role in helping to facilitate infrastructure development.
ITER Tokamak Magnets
ITER uses three types of magnet to contain, shape and drive fusion plasma: Poloidal field (PF) coils, toroidal field (TF) coils and the central solenoid.
The TF magnet consists of 18 superconducting D-shaped coils containing a circular conductor, composed of Nb3Sn strands, embedded in grooved radial plates. F4E is responsible for 10 of the TF magnet windings and final assembly of 10 TF coil cases. The remaining 8 TF coils and fabrication of all the toroidal structures is being handled by Japan.
The six poloidal field coils are made using NbTi conductors in double pancakes. The lower PF coils are designed with redundant turns and a margin in current to avoid the need to replace the coils in case of local damage in one of the coil pancakes. F4E is also responsible for the manufacture of 5 out of the 6 PF coils and 12 pre-compression rings.
Cosworth is the UK Magnet consortium's primary representative and has attended technical discussions on the magnets at F4E in Barcelona and met with members of the ITER Magnet team.
“The consortium's name 'UK FusionTech' reflects a fusion of skills and technologies of like-minded companies wishing to win business from big science projects. UKAEA was instrumental in helping us form the consortium, following a meeting at Culham to discuss the ITER Magnets. They have been of great assistance in terms of keeping us informed and arranging meetings with F4E and ITER engineers,” says Jog S. Lall, General Manager & Director at Cosworth’s Northampton facility.
Technically the most challenging part of the ITER magnet project is that no one has ever made magnets to this scale. Jog Lall again, “Whoever is successful in winning the ITER Magnet procurement will face a large capital investment programme in tooling, jigs and heat treatment amongst other things, to manufacture the magnets. Given the opportunity, we are confident that we will be able to deliver the European elements of the ITER Magnet project. Watch this space!”
At the beginning of February Cadarache, representatives from the ITER Organization, the Russian and the European Domestic Agencies, and external experts met to review the ITER Poloidal Field (PF) Coil design. The overall conclusion of the three-day review chaired by Michel Huguet was that the PF Coil design is sound and forms an acceptable basis for the issue of the Procurement Arrangement which is expected to be signed in April 2009.
"The schedule is tight", said Gary Johnson, Deputy Director General, Head of the ITER Tokamak Department in his opening remarks. "The ITER magnets are on the critical path and this meeting is an important milestone towards starting the fabrication."