Polema, a division of Industrial Metallurgical Holding (IMH), headquartered in Moscow, Russia, reports it has supplied some 5,000 bimetallic tungsten-copper plates for use in the International Experimental Thermonuclear Reactor (ITER) in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, France.
The ITER is a multi-nation project to prove the viability of fusion reaction as an energy source. The aim is to build the world’s largest tokamak, a device that confines plasma using powerful magnetic fields in a doughnut shape known as a torus. The heat from the plasma will be used to produce steam, which in turn powers turbines that produce electricity.
The tungsten-copper plates, produced via press and sinter Powder Metallurgy, are used in the thermal protection of divertors designed to maintain the purity of the plasma in the tokamak. The plates form part of the central assembly of the divertor, the prototype of which was manufactured at Russia’s DV Efremov Institute of Electrophysical Apparatus (NIIEFA) in St Petersburg, and shipped in December 2021 to France.
“Controlled thermonuclear fusion is the technology of the future. It is expected that the first industrial thermonuclear power plants won’t appear till the middle of the 21st century,” explained Aleksei Filippov, Managing Director of Polema.
“Participation in such a project is a huge responsibility, but also an indicator of the technological capabilities of our enterprise. Shipment of another 10,000 plates for this project is planned for 2022.”
First developed by Soviet research in the late 1960s, the tokamak has been adopted around the world as the most promising configuration of a magnetic fusion device. The ITER tokamak will be twice the size of the largest machine currently in operation, with ten times the plasma chamber volume. In addition to Russia, the United States, China, the European Union, India, South Korea and Japan participate in the ITER project.