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Media Corner
14 November 2018

Preparations underway to give electrical power to MITICA

The power supply for the Residual Ion Dump (RID), manufactured by OCEM PE, financed by F4E, has been delivered to MITICA - the second experiment of the ITER Neutral Beam Test Facility, Consorzio RFX, Padua, Italy. On the left, the Acceleration Grid Power Supplies Conversion System, produced by NIDEC ASI, financed by F4E.

In the outskirts of Padua (Italy), at the leafy entrance of Consorzio RFX, a truck has received permission to deliver a bulky piece of equipment at the rear end of its premises where the ITER Neutral Beam Test Facility (NBTF) is located. MITICA, which stands for Megavolt ITER Injector and Concept Advancement, is expected to play a crucial role in the heating systems of the biggest fusion device. Its aim is to develop a Neutral Beam Injector (NBI) prototype similar to the one that will operate in ITER and monitor its performance through various tests.

“Through MITICA we will learn how to manufacture the NBIs that ITER will require in order to deliver the extremely high plasma temperatures” explains Tullio Bonicelli, heading the F4E team for the European contribution to the Neutral Beam, Electron Cyclotron, Power Supplies and Sources. Although neutral beam injection is routinely used for heating gas in fusion devices, MITICA will reach some “mythical” levels of power compared to the existing test beds. It is the result of the in-kind contributions of F4E, the ITER Domestic Agency of Japan, their suppliers, and Consorzio RFX, the host of the facility.

We spoke to Loris Zanotto, working at Consorzio RFX as Deputy Programme Manager for the NBTF, and Project Leader for the Power Supplies, to understand the significance of this milestone. "I feel that the completion of the MITICA power supplies is an outstanding achievement. An important step towards the first-ever neutral beam injector for ITER,” he says. “I am very impressed by the extraordinary commitment of the NBTF Team in this challenging project, which is at the very limit of the available power supplies and high voltage technology.  We look forward to operating MITICA and to collaborating with all involved partners for the future of fusion and ITER.”

The power supply for the Residual Ion Dump (RID), manufactured by OCEM PE, financed by F4E, arriving at MITICA - the second experiment of the ITER Neutral Beam Test Facility, Consorzio RFX, Padua, Italy.

Europe and Japan are the two parties responsible for the provision of MITICA’s power supplies. All of Europe’s equipment has been manufactured. In fact, most of it has been delivered and installed, with the exception of the last lot expected to arrive in December. The cost of the equipment, financed by F4E, comes to a total of approximately 22 million EUR. NIDEC, OCEM PE and Siemens are the three companies directly involved.

NIDEC ASI, an Italian medium-size company specialising in industrial electrical systems has produced the Acceleration Grid Power Supplies Conversion System (AGPS-CS). Basically, this piece of equipment will take power from the grid at 22kV AC (Alternating Current) and together with five DC (Direct Current) generators, produced by ITER Japan, will convert it into 1 MV DC. Ultimately, this current will reach the injector to accelerate the ion beam. “Nearly all of the equipment that will give power to MITICA is here” explains Daniel Gutierrez, Technical Officer following this contract on behalf of F4E. “Our collaboration with NIDEC for the production of the AGPS power supplies began in autumn 2015. Two and a half years later, we are pleased to announce that their units are installed, fully operational, after having gone through extremely demanding factory and site acceptance tests. As the works for equipment of the ITER NBTF are coming to an end, we are now starting the production of the ITER units,” he concludes.  

Ettore Merli, NIDEC ASI Project Manager, confirms that “from the start we established a partnership with F4E, and the other parties, that went beyond that of a customer-supplier. We looked together for solutions respecting the technical requirements of the project, its schedule and cost. Our contribution to ITER is of strategic importance because it allows us to work in an international environment which promotes cutting-edge technology.”

More equipment has arrived at MITICA — this time from OCEM PE. The company has manufactured the units that will supply an average voltage of 25 kV to the Residual Ion Dump (RID), whose role will be “to catch” any of the ions left after the beam has been neutralised. The collaboration between F4E and OCEM PE dates back to 2010 for the manufacturing of power supplies for SPIDER, MITICA (the two NBTF experiments), and ITER.

Giuseppe Taddia, OCEM PE General Manager, recalls: “…today we are almost halfway of the entire supply of equipment, which also includes the units for ITER. Our involvement in the project has boosted our competitiveness and our ability to produce equipment fit for a very demanding environment.” Next in line is the delivery of the MITICA ISEPS equipment (Ion Source and Extraction Power Supply), expected to reach Padua in December, which will be part of the High Voltage Deck manufactured by Siemens, already installed in the NBTF. With the arrival of the ISEPS equipment from OCEM PE, Europe’s contribution to MITICA’s power supplies will be completed.

The power supply for the Residual Ion Dump (RID), manufactured by OCEM PE, financed by F4E, ready to be installed in MITICA - the second experiment of the ITER Neutral Beam Test Facility, Consorzio RFX, Padua, Italy.