China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) and Suzhou Thvow Technology Co (STTC) shipped four critical parts to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), an international fusion energy project in France.
Four vapor suppression tanks (VSTs) were loaded into a tanker on Jan 28, 2018, marking the first successful design and manufacturing of such key nuclear fusion devices developed by Chinese companies.
The VSTs were joint effort of China Nuclear Power Engineering Co, a subsidiary of CGN, and STTC. They have passed tests of pressure, vacuum, helium leak check, hoisting jack, lifting lug load and stack-up.
Costing 163 welded pipes with the circumferential weld measuring more than 400 meters, the four devices were completed in only 15 months, half of the lead time of same-type nuclear power equipment, according to Gao Feng, the team leader and vice director of the design department of China Nuclear Power Engineering Co.
The delivery of VSTs helped Chinese companies showcase their capabilities on equipment manufacturing and project management, Gao added.
Tao Qiang, project manager of the Ministry of Science and Technology, and Sergay, representative of ITER Organization, attended the delivery ceremony. Tao praised the joint working team for its effort and cooperation and extended wishes for more results of the team in the global market.
In 2016, CGN and STTC won the bid for the VST design and manufacturing of ITER project, defeating competitors from Italy, Spain, Russia and India. It was the first Chinese company to win the bid for ITER and finish delivery.
With an investment of around 15 billion euros ($18.64 billion, data from 2015), ITER is the largest and most influential international scientific cooperation project in the world. As the first fusion device for producing energy, it is a joint operation of China, the EU, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the US.
The project integrates the major scientific and technological achievements of controlled magnetic confinement fusion to build a fusion reactor that can realize large-scale fusion reactions, a key step of the history of controlled nuclear fusion research.
Described as an "artificial sun", it will create conditions similar to those that occur in solar nuclear fusion reactions, based on superconducting tokamak device. According to the ITER plan, the construction of the "artificial sun" will be completed by 2025.
CGN, China's largest nuclear power plant operator and world's largest nuclear power plant constructor, currently has 20 nuclear power units in operation, with another eight units under construction. It has established a mature nuclear industry chain by cooperating with global partners.