4 December 2017

Nuclear industry and Big Science

Two new contracts for CNIM contributing to ITER, the biggest energy project ever

With these new contracts, CNIM reaffirms its expertise in engineering, designing, developing and manufacturing large bespoke instruments for highly demanding environments.

The CNIM group has announced the signing of two additional contracts with ITER Organization and Fusion for Energy (F4E), the EU organisation that manages Europe’s contribution to ITER. These contracts relate to the industrial engineering and manufacturing of equipment for the Tokamak machine where the fusion reaction takes place. Once again, F4E and ITER Organization have placed their trust in CNIM's ability to develop new manufacturing processes and to develop high-tech bespoke equipment.

Design and manufacture of Port Plug Structures

The first contract, signed on October 28, 2016 by ITER Organization and the consortium represented by CNIM, alongside the leading Indian manufacturer Larsen & Toubro Ltd., relates to the design and manufacture of Port Plug Structures: structures made from forged stainless steel intended to house instrumentation, which will enable the ITER machine to be controlled and allow measurements to be taken.

Port-Plugs_(c) ITER Organization.jpg

©ITER Organization

Weighing between 8 and 18 tonnes, depending on whether they are upper Port Plugs (placed at the top of the vacuum chamber) or equatorial Port Plugs (placed half way up the chamber), the Port Plug Structures will be inserted into openings that provide access to the interior of the vacuum chamber. They will play a key role by contributing to the reactor’s integrity. They must comply with very high regulatory requirements. Under the terms of this contract, CNIM will produce at least 24 of these structures.

Pre-Compression Rings

The second agreement, signed by F4E and CNIM on December 15, 2016, relates to the development of the manufacturing process and the production of spare Pre-Compression Rings: epoxy glass composite rings that will reduce the fatigue of ITER’s Toroidal Field coils, confining the super-hot plasma reaching 150 million ° C, from the powerful electro-magnetic forces.

Pre-Compresssion-Rings_(c) ITER Organization.jpg

©ITER Organization

This highly innovative process, proposed by CNIM and chosen by F4E, is based on a pultrusion technique that involves the manufacture of profiles of epoxy glass.

Each Pre-Compression Ring is a manufacture by winding the flat pultruted profile (2mm thick and about 2800 m long) and utilizing an adhesive tape (0,12 mm thick) between layer to freeze the geometry.

Finally, the pre-compression ring is machined to reach the required geometry tolerances.

installation cnim Pre Compression rings.jpg

Installing the Pre-Compression Ring prototype in order to perform checks © CNIM

Complete mastery of highly sophisticated manufacturing processes

CNIM has, for a number of years, been employing cutting-edge manufacturing methods to produce bespoke large-scale items that guarantee safety and a hermetic seal. The Group has industrial expertise in machining, welding, electron beam welding and dimensional inspection of mechanical stainless steel components with high added value.

According to Philippe Lazare, CEO of the CNIM Industrial Systems division and the Seyne-sur-Mer Site Manager: These new contracts underline the expertise and skills of our multidisciplinary teams in engineering, designing, developing and manufacturing large, bespoke instruments to be used in highly demanding environments. Our willingness to take up such an industrial challenge demonstrates our complete mastery of high-tech e manufacturing processes

Related content : 

Read our press release More about Pre-Compression Ring