The contract giving the go-ahead for the first steps in constructing the building which will host the ITER tokamak, the heart of the project, was signed by Fusion for Energy (F4E) and GTM Sud Consortium on 20 May. Entitled "Construction of the Tokamak Complex Seismic Isolation Pit", this contract is worth approximately 36 million EUR (with options).
As a first step in the construction, a 20 metres deep excavation will be carried out. The foundation of the building will incorporate a system to isolate the building from the rock on which it is built in order to insulate the effects of possible seismic activity. It is foreseen to excavate around 200,000 m3 of rock, approximately the same volume as 43 of London’s Big Ben tower. The construction of the reinforced concrete basemat and walls forming the seismic isolation pit structure will involve the casting of approximately 35,000 m3 of reinforced concrete.
The contract also includes options on the construction of the tokamak upper basemat with 19,200 m3 of reinforced concrete, the assembly hall basemat with around 18,000 m3 of reinforced concrete, and 13,500 m3 of excavation. It is foreseen that when finished, the entire tokamak building will measure 63 metres in height and 600,000 m3 in volume.
The construction of the foundation for the tokamak building will start in mid-June this year and will be completed by November 2011 (without options). The commencement of this process marked by the contract signature is a significant sign of the ITER project moving forward.