General Atomics has completed the assembly of the central solenoid, a powerful magnet, one of the main components of the international thermonuclear reactor ITER, whose construction was officially started in France last year. This was reported by the press service of the ITER project.
"The preparation and dispatch of the first ITER central solenoid module will be one of the most important steps towards controlled fusion. In addition, its assembly has once again confirmed that scientists and engineers from the United States are capable of creating very large and powerful superconducting magnets," said Professor Columbia University of New York (USA) Michael Mowel.
The ITER central solenoid is the largest magnet to be used in a prototype thermonuclear power plant. It consists of six modules, whose total mass is about a thousand tons, and the height and width are 18 and 4.2 meters.
The device will be used within the ITER to stabilize the plasma filament that appears during the operation of the facility, as well as to control the thermonuclear fusion process. According to the current estimates of American engineers, the magnet they created is capable of generating fields with a power of 13 Tesla, which is about 300 thousand times greater than the strength of the Earth's magnetic field.
The first central solenoid module was recently fully tested and prepared for shipment from the United States to the French research center Cadarache, where ITER is currently under construction. The second block will be shipped to France in August, and the remaining magnet components will be delivered to the site in the coming months as they are completed and tested.
The ITER project was created on the basis of an international agreement between China, the EU, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia and the United States. The reactor is based on the tokamak installation developed by Soviet and Russian scientists, which is considered the most promising device for controlled thermonuclear fusion. The goal of the project is to demonstrate that fusion energy can be used on an industrial scale.
In terms of scale, ITER can be compared with such projects as the International Space Station and the Large Hadron Collider. The Russian side was instructed to manufacture and supply 25 high-tech systems for the future installation, some of which have already been delivered to France. It is expected that the assembly of all these components will be completed by 2025, when the ITER participants expect to obtain the first plasma, which will confirm the operability of thermonuclear reactors in practice.