General Atomics Successfully Joins Four Miles of Superconductor to Form First Module of ITER's Central Solenoid

General Atomics Successfully Joins Four Miles of Superconductor to Form First Module of ITER's Central Solenoid

1st Module of ITER Central Solenoid is Roughly 40% Complete and Continues to Progress on Schedule

SAN DIEGO – 15 February 2017 –Today General Atomics (GA) completed an important step in its construction of the ITER Central Solenoid's 1st module. GA engineers and technicians have now successfully joined the nearly 240,000 pounds of superconductor that make up the module and are preparing to start the heat treatment process.

The Central Solenoid is essentially the heart of ITER, the unprecedented international tokamak facility being built in France to pursue fusion energy. Comprised of six modules and standing over five-stories tall, the Central Solenoid will be the most powerful pulsed superconducting electromagnet in the world.

"After spending months carefully winding the seven individual sections of the coil, our team has now completed joining together the four miles of superconductor to form the core of the module. Completing the 1st module required a team of dedicated engineers and technicians, which was quite literally a huge undertaking, as the 1st module is approximately the weight of 80 mid-size cars," said John Smith, GA's Program Manager.

Fabrication of the Central Solenoid requires many custom-designed processes, including the 1st module's next step: heat treatment in a furnace reaching temperatures of 1200 degrees Fahrenheit. Over the next month, the 1st module will receive this heat treatment to form the superconducting alloy.

"The completion of this critical step in the fabrication process confirms GA's work on the Central Solenoid is on schedule to support ITER's construction. As the 1st module receives heat treatment, GA's ITER team will commence joining the 2nd of the seven modules (one spare). We are immensely proud of our success with the Central Solenoid fabrication process to date, and look forward to our continued contributions to the ITER project."

ITER is a collaborative scientific partnership between 35 nations representing more than half the population of the world. This research and development project aims to build the world's largest tokamak, a magnetic fusion device designed to demonstrate that fusion power is a feasible carbon-free source of energy that can be be realized on a global scale. The U.S. ITER project is a collaboration of over 500 companies, laboratories, and universities across 43 states and the District of Columbia and is hosted by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. This work is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, and the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences.

About General Atomics

San Diego-based General Atomics and its affiliated companies are one of the world's leading resources for high-technology systems ranging from the nuclear fuel cycle to electromagnetic systems, remotely operated surveillance aircraft, airborne sensors and advanced electronic, wireless and laser technologies.

For more information contact:

Zabrina Johal
 858-455-4004 | 858-444-5465 (cell)

1st module on an air transporter being moved from join station to heat treatment furnace