Assembly of ITER begins in Southern France

Those attending the livestreamed July 28 celebration in person (shown here from above) followed recommended social distancing measures.

First-of-a-kind components have been arriving in recent months at the ITER construction site in Cadarache, France, from some of the 35 ITER member countries around the world. The arrival on July 21 of the first sector of the ITER vacuum vessel from South Korea marks the beginning of a four-and-a-half year machine assembly process for the world’s largest tokamak, a magnetic fusion device designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as an energy source.

South Korea completes first vacuum vessel section for ITER

ITER vacuum vessel section no. 6, shown here, was completely assembled in April. South Korea is providing four of the nine 40-degree vacuum vessel sections; Europe is providing the other five. Photo: ITER

South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) has completed work on the first vacuum vessel section for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), the ITER Organization reported on April 28. The 440-ton section is now being prepared for shipping this summer to the ITER construction site, located near Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, France.

DOE offers $12 million for fusion QIS research

The Department of Energy will provide $12 million for research in quantum information science (QIS) for fusion energy and plasma science. The research is expected to focus on a range of topics, including the design of quantum computing algorithms to solve problems in fusion energy, the development of quantum sensing diagnostics for fusion experiments, and the formation of novel quantum materials using high-energy-density plasmas.

DOE explores cost-sharing program for fusion reactors

The Department of Energy’s Office of Science is inviting input on its plan to develop a cost-share program in fusion reactor technologies. A request for information was published in the Federal Register, inviting interested parties to comment on the topical areas, program objectives, eligibility requirements, program organization and structure, public and private roles and responsibilities, funding modalities, and assessment criteria of such an initiative.

Jacobs wins $25 million in ITER, UKAEA contracts

Jacobs has been awarded several contracts to support work on the ITER fusion project. Photo: ITER Organization

The global engineering company Jacobs announced on April 14 that it has been awarded several contracts with an estimated combined value of more than $25 million. The contracts are with the ITER Organization, Fusion for Energy, and the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and are intended to support fusion energy projects in France and the United Kingdom.

ARPA-E awards $32 million for fusion energy research

The winners of $32 million in funding for 15 projects to develop timely, commercially viable fusion energy were announced by the Department of Energy in April. As part of the DOE Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy’s (ARPA-E) Breakthroughs Enabling THermonuclear-fusion Energy (BETHE) program, the projects will work to increase the number and performance levels of lower-cost fusion concepts.

DOE to award $30 million for new fusion research

The Department of Energy announced on March 4 that it will provide $30 million for new research on fusion energy. The funding will provide $17 million for research focused specifically on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) approaches for the prediction of key plasma phenomena, management of facility operations, and accelerated discovery through data science, among other topics. An additional $13 million under a separate funding opportunity will be devoted to fundamental fusion theory research, including computer modeling and simulation, focused on factors affecting the behavior of hot plasmas confined by magnetic fields in fusion reactors.