On Monday 8 June 2019, a major component (weighing 400 metric tons and with a diameter of 10.5 m) of the ITER fusion reactor was handled at the Port of Marseille Fos for delivery to the ITER construction site at Saint-Paul-lez-Durance/Cadarache (Bouches-du-Rhône). 

The Port of Marseille Fos handles the biggest ITER reactor component

An exceptional production and logistics chain 

The contribution of the seven ITER members (China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States) is mainly in kind. Each member has established a "Domestic Agency" responsible for managing the fabrications assigned to it. Once finalized, the parts are transported by DAHER, ITER's Global Logistics Provider, via the Port of Marseille Fos to the ITER construction site at Saint-Paul-lezDurance/Cadarache (Bouches-du-Rhône). 

After crossing the Étang de Berre, the parts follow the "ITER Itinerary", which was specially developed by France to be able to support the heaviest (up to 500 metric tons, 800 including the weight of the motorized trailer) and the bulkiest (up to 11 m wide and 10 m high) parts. Three to four nights are required to transport the biggest loads ("Highly Exceptional Loads" or HELs) from Berre to the ITER site, some 100 km away. 

Since December 2014, approximately 40 convoys have successively followed the itinerary delivering a total of 86 HEL parts, including, in April, two 350 metric ton vertical magnets from Italy and Japan respectively. Almost 120 HELs are expected at ITER over the next five years. 

The biggest ITER component: more than 400 metric tons and 10.5 metres in diameter 

The part that arrived yesterday at the Port of Marseille Fos is the heaviest (400 metric tons, more than 500 with its transport cradle) of all those delivered to ITER to date, and is the widest of all those that will be incorporated into the installation. 

It is one of the six annular magnets (PF6) that surround the ITER tokamak and help create the magnetic cage that encloses the plasma - at very high-temperature (150 million degrees C) - in which hydrogen fusion reactions take place. 

The 10.5-metre diameter magnet has been supplied by Europe, which decided to have it manufactured in China by the Institute of Plasma Physics/Academy of Sciences (ASIPP). The part was completed in March and sailed from Shanghai at the end of April. 

In order to accommodate these exceptional loads, the Port of Marseille Fos had to modify its infrastructure and build a specially designed boarding ramp. Located in the Fos harbours, it means that loaded vehicles can board directly without touching their contents. The RO-RO (Roll-on/Roll-off) ramp is able to support convoys of up to 880 metric tons carrying 600 metric ton loads. It operates by both docking and stranding thanks to the use of removable metal inserts. The project took eight months of work and an investment of €2.7 million. The ramp has been operational since September 2017 and is used to handle the highly exceptional loads destined for ITER. 

For Bernard Bigot, CEO of ITER Organization, "the quality of the infrastructure and facilities at the Port of Marseille-Fos was a determining factor in the unanimous decision to build ITER in Saint-Paul-lezDurance/Cadarache. The Port is the strategic link between ITER Organization, the international organization responsible for implementing the ITER program, and the seven program members tasked with manufacturing the very large parts in the machine and the numerous associated auxiliary systems.” 

"Handling this huge part has been a success for all parties involved. The Port of Marseille Fos is proud to be involved in the ITER project, which combines environmental excellence and energy innovation - values that are at the heart of the Port's strategy," said Hervé Martel, Chairman of the Port of Marseille Fos Management Board.

Source: Port of Marseille Fos

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