Alstom selected to supply coils for controlled nuclear fusion project in Japan

Source: Alstom

As part of the European Union’s F4E project, the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) has selected Alstom to supply half of the magnetic coils for the JT60SA tokamak currently under construction in Naka, Japan. The research that will be performed in this facility represents a major contribution to ITER.

A tokamak is a toroidal magnetic confinement chamber designed to control a plasma for research into the possibility of generating energy by nuclear fusion.

JT60SA is one of the components of the "Broader Approach"1 , a research program connected with ITER, which was launched in November 2006 under the terms of a cooperation agreement between Japan and Europe. F4E2 is coordinating the European contribution to the Broader Approach and JAEA3 is coordinating the Japanese contribution. The objective of all this research is to demonstrate that nuclear fusion represents a potential solution for future electric power generation.

Alstom has been selected by the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission CEA to supply Japan with nine of the eighteen magnetic coils that make up the tokamak. Each coil, weighing more than 15 metric tons, will be constructed by Alstom at its plant in Belfort, France. The nine coils are scheduled for delivery by the fall of 2015.

The coils supplied by Alstom are a critical component of the experimental process. A tokamak utilizes the concept of magnetic confinement to conduct tests on nuclear fusion. Hydrogen nuclei are heated to temperatures in excess of 150 million degrees Celsius to create a hot plasma which is contained in a confinement chamber. The strong magnetic fields produced by the superconducting coils surrounding the vessel confine the plasma and keep it away from the walls. 

1 The other main components of this joint Research and Development program are the computer center in Rokkasho (Japan) as part of the International Fusion Energy Research Center (IFERC) and the IFMIF/EVEDA accelerator dedicated to research into the development of materials for use in fusion reactors.

2 F4E, Fusion For Energy, the European "domestic" agency for the construction of Iter and the Broader Approach. 

3 JAEA, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, the Japanese "domestic" agency for the construction of Iter and the Broader Approach.

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