Research & Development

Iter / Italian State Shipyard Wins €100m Nuclear Fusion Contract

By David Dalton
24 January 2020

Italian State Shipyard Wins €100m Nuclear Fusion Contract
The Iter tokamak buiding earlier this month at the construction site in southern France. Photo courtesy Iter.
The Italian state shipyard that supplies the country’s warships has won a contract worth nearly €100m to enter a new business – nuclear fusion.

Fincantieri, based in Trieste and the largest shipbuilder in Europe, won the deal to supply equipment for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, a multinational collaboration aimed at building an experimental hydrogen fusion reactor at Cadarache in the south of France.

Fincantieri said in a statement that the work would include a number of high-profile systems, components, installations as part of the Iter project.

A temporary consortium has been established for the work. It includes Fincantieri itself as the main contractor, its subsidiary Fincantieri SI, active in the field of plant design and industrial-scale electrical, electronic and electromechanical components, Delta-ti Impianti, specialised in mechanical plant engineering, and Comes, specialised in electrical plant engineering.

The €20bn Iter project is more than 65% complete and entering a critical phase as it aims to meet a first plasma deadline of 2025, project head Bernard Bigot told NucNet in November.

First plasma means that the reactor is able to successfully generate a molten mass of electrically-charged gas, or plasma, inside its core.

Fusion is the fundamental energy of the universe, perpetually powering the sun and stars. The desire to recreate and control this atomic energy on earth is the driving force behind Iter.

Iter – meaning “the way” in Latin – will be the world’s largest fusion experiment. The steel and concrete superstructures nestled in the hills of southern France will house a 23,000-tonne machine, known as a tokamak, capable of creating what is essentially an earthbound star.

Building a structure to contain mankind’s most advanced scientific experiment requires the combined efforts of more than 30 countries and many thousands of scientists from Iter’s core members: the European Union, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the US.

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