ECH transmission line wave guide assemblies will form key element of plasma-heating system
The contract, awarded today, covers development of manufacturing procedures that will be qualified by fabrication of ten ECH transmission line waveguide assemblies at GA’s Magnet Technologies Center (MTC) in San Diego. Production of the approximately 1,700 waveguide assemblies that will be installed in ITER will be the subject of future US ITER contracts not yet awarded.
GA is a world leader in low-loss, high-frequency microwave transmission line components, and it has been developing and delivering waveguides and related systems in support of fusion and other projects for more than 30 years. GA’s corrugated waveguide technology is being used in fusion experiments around the world. This approach allows for extremely efficient microwave transmission with very little loss of energy over long distances, which is essential for operation of an experiment the size of ITER.
ITER is the largest science project ever built on earth, with an objective to prove that fusion can be a practical source of clean, nearly limitless energy for the future. Currently under construction in Cadarache, France, with operations slated to begin in 2025, ITER will demonstrate reactor-scale fusion power—showing that it is possible to create a Sun on earth.
“The ECH system is a critical component for ensuring ITER’s successful operation,” said Jim Anderson, head of GA’s Radio Frequency Technology department. “This award is a recognition of the important work that GA continues to deliver in support of ITER, and of our cutting-edge capabilities in high-frequency, high-power microwave technology.”
GA contributes to the ITER project in multiple ways, starting with research at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility, which GA operates as a national user facility for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. As the largest operating magnetic fusion research facility in the U.S., DIII-D has been the site of many scientific discoveries that informed the design and operation of ITER.
The MTC, where the waveguide assemblies will be produced, is also the facility where GA is fabricating the ITER Central Solenoid. Standing 59-feet tall, the Central Solenoid will be the largest pulsed superconducting magnet ever built. It will operate at temperatures of 4K – near absolute zero – and drive 15 million amperes of current into the ITER tokamak to heat and stabilize the plasma. GA is also building several ITER technical systems, including diagnostic devices, and doing important theoretical physics research to support the project.
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