The European support to ITER, in terms of design and R&D, has been maintained without interruptions during all the design development period, starting in 1992 and continuing through all the phases of the project. Now that the construction of ITER is close to becoming a reality, and hopefully in a European site, it is very important to assure the best matching between the R&D activities and the construction. EFDA has therefore concentrated on the fields of activities which are crucial to the success of ITER construction and operation.

Magnets (Toroidal Field coils, Central Solenoid)

The design of the Toroidal Field coils and Central Solenoid have already been validated by the correct operation of the two large coil models built and tested. Six European companies have been assigned a contract to fabricate test samples of the strand. By the end of 2004, the quality of the complete conductor manufactured with these strands will be tested. Europe has developed the competences necessary to build all the components of the magnetic system of ITER, apart from the Central Solenoid.

Vacuum Vessel

A segment of vessel, implying, during manufacture, all the most relevant technical problems to be encountered in the construction and assembly of the entire vessel, is going to be manufactured. Studies on the expected distortions and on the inspection methods are continuing.

Plasma Facing Components

There are two main lines concerning the first wall (beryllium armour) and the divertor, in particular the outer vertical target (two zones with respectively tungsten tiles and carbon fiber reinforced graphite tiles). An extensive programme of fabrication and test of samples and prototypes is under way, in industry and in the Associations. It aims at consolidating and demonstrating the right recipe to build these components, subject to demanding thermo-mechanical fatigue, with the needed reliability.

Remote Handling

The splitting of R&D with Japan during the ITER Engineering Design Activities (EDA) has taken Europe to concentrate on the Divertor RH system. Two large test facilities were built during the ITER EDA to demonstrate the reliable operation of the system and to study refurbishment operations. As a consequence of the major changes in design going from the large version of ITER to the present one, we plan to build a prototype of the new main mover, the Cassette Multifunctional Mover, and to demonstrate its operation in a smaller facility.

Heating & Current Drive Systems

We are trying to put Europe ahead of competition by developing state of the art radiofrequency generators in the ECRH and ICRH fields. Test beds will be realized in the Associations to demonstrate the performance of the systems. For the Negative Ion Beams, development activities continue in the European laboratories to improve key aspects of the system like radiofrequency ion sources and 1 MeV accelerating structures. Also in this case, a specialised test bed will be realised in an Association.

For each of these projects, an analysis has been performed of the needs of the project, of the status of the present activities, of their compliance with the ITER requirements, of the time schedule to be respected in order to properly match the project time schedule.

The main result of this internal effort has been that we have not found lines on which we would not deliver on time, assuming that the needed resources, human and financial, be available as planned.

Dr. Roberto Andreani

For more information on the ITER R&D projects see: