Progress reported on vacuum-vessel work for international fusion project

Vacuum vessel production line
Vacuum vessel production line | Courtesy of Fusion for Energy

Fusion for Energy (F4E) said earlier this month that the fabrication of vacuum vessels for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project is on track.

The fabrication operation calls for seven vacuum vessel sectors for ITER under a contract with a consortium that includes Ansaldo Nucleare S.p.A, Mangiarotti S.p.A and Walter Tosto S.p.A., known as the AMW consortium.

"We are very proud to have worked on the procurement of the vacuum vessel forgings, as they are vital in contributing to the fabrication of the ITER vacuum vessel sectors, the heart of the ITER machine," Francesco Zacchia, project manager for F4E's vacuum vessel team, said.

The vacuum vessels will be used to contain fusion reactions. The units will hold plasma particles that react with each other, causing energy to be released without the material touching the sides of the unit, F4E said. The forgings involve the use of specialized stainless steel that incorporates high amounts of nitrogen and low-carbon matter.

The company is also working with three subcontractor companies: Rolf Kind GmbH of Germany, Acciaierie Valbruna of Italy and ThyssenKrupp of Germany.

ITER is an international research project in plasma physics that aims to facilitate contained fusion power generation, as opposed to fission power, which is the energy-generation method currently used in nuclear plants.

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