General Atomics has begun the fabrication of the central solenoid for an experimental tokamak fusion reactor as part of U.S. participation in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project on the potential of fusion energy.
The company said Friday the ITER central solenoid is a superconducting electromagnet weighing at 1,000 tons with a stored energy capacity of 5.5 gigajoules.
“The central solenoid represents the heartbeat of ITER, because it pulses the magnets that drive electric current through the tokamak plasma,” said Ned Sauthoff, U.S. ITER project director.
General Atomics will fabricate six modules for the central solenoid and one spare module through 10 customized manufacturing stations at the company’s Magnet Technologies Center in California.
ITER is an international collaborative project comprising 35 countries to explore fusion energy’s viability as a clean, long-term energy source.
The Energy Department‘s Office of Science sponsors the project’s U.S. arm, which the Oak Ridge National Laboratory manages in partnership with the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and Savannah River National Laboratory.