OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Oct. 6, 2011 -- The US ITER Project Office at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory has awarded a $13.2 million task order to AREVA Federal Services for fabrication of five drain tanks for the ITER tokamak cooling water system. The international ITER project aims to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion energy for the commercial power grid. To date, US ITER has awarded more than $260 million in contracts to US industry, laboratories and universities in 38 states and the District of Columbia.
Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, AREVA Federal Services was competitively selected for award of a basic ordering agreement for the design and fabrication of the tokamak cooling water system in 2009. The tanks will be manufactured in Camden, New Jersey, by Joseph Oat Corporation, a privately held family business founded in 1788.
The drain tanks will be part of the cooling system for the largest tokamak ever built, which aims to produce 500 MW of fusion power. Tokamak machines serve as magnetic bottles by using magnetic fields to confine extremely hot plasma. Inside the ITER tokamak, plasma temperatures will reach over 100 million degrees Celsius and the cooling water system is important for exhausting the power.
The drain tanks will be among the first equipment installed inside the ITER tokamak building. The tanks must be delivered by January 2014 to southern France, where ITER is under construction, in order to ensure installation access. Because of the size of the tanks-up to 20 feet in diameter and 29 feet high, with a volume of over 60,000 gallons each-they cannot be installed after the building walls and floors are completed.
The early deadline for delivery of the drain tanks creates an opportunity for US ITER and industry contributors to test procurement, safety, regulatory compliance and fabrication processes used in managing this international project.
Fusion holds promise as a safe, carbon-free, abundant energy source. Fusion fuel can be found in sea water (deuterium) and bred inside a reactor (tritium). The ITER machine is designed to produce up to 10 times more energy than it takes to keep the plasma hot. The initial operation of ITER, known as first plasma, is planned for 2020.
The United States is one of seven ITER members, along with the People's Republic of China, the European Union, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation.
The US ITER Project Office is supported by DOE's Office of Science.