Chinese consortium signs ITER contract

08 October 2019

A contract for Tokamak machine assembly for the ITER International Fusion Energy Organisation signed by a consortium led by China Nuclear Power Engineering Corporation (CNPE) is the biggest nuclear energy project contract that Chinese companies have ever bid for in the European market.

The TAC1 contract was signed on 30 October (Image: ITER)

Tokamak Assembly Contract 1 (TAC1) was signed in Beijing on 30 September by the consortium of CNPE; China Nuclear Industry 23 Construction Company Ltd; Southwestern Institute of Physics; Institute of Plasma Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences ASIPP; and Framatome. The TAC2 contract has been awarded to the Dynamic SNC consortium of Ansaldo Nucleare; Endel Engie; Orys Group ORTEC; SIMIC; Ansaldo Energia; and Leading Metal Mechanic Solutions SL.

The ITER Organisation decided earlier this year to divide the current stage of the ITER project - machine and plant assembly up to first plasma - into a total of nine major assembly and installation contracts to permit better schedule and cost control throughout the projects, and to aid risk management. The decision to award two TAC contracts to different contractors was made to preserve peer competition at the same time as protecting the organisation in the case of contract default. Each contract covers well-defined and distinct machine assembly scope, and purposefully minimises the interfaces between providers, it said.

The TAC1 assembly contract covers the cryostat and cryostat thermal shield; magnet feeders; the central solenoid, poloidal field and correction coil magnets; and cooling structures and instrumentation. The TAC2 contract covers the main vessel and ports, sector sub-assembly with toroidal field coils and vacuum vessel thermal shielding, and welding.

"These are major contracts for the ITER Organisation," said ITER Director General Bernard Bigot. "We have carefully prepared more than 1200 engineering work packages for the mechanical installation of the ITER machine components and planned the assembly sequences; we are pleased we have found highly qualified and motivated partners for the execution of the work. We look forward to collaborating with world-renowned industry specialists for the on-time and to-specification assembly of one of the world's most challenging, promising and important scientific instruments."

An initial preparatory period dedicated to ensuring a common and thorough understanding of the technical and management requirements and constraints, the roles of different project actors, and the physical workspaces, is now underway. Both consortia are developing their on-site organisation and teams, and creating detailed implementation processes and procedures, the ITER Organisation said.

Yu Jianfeng, chairman of CNPE parent China National Nuclear Corporation, said the contract was the largest nuclear energy project financial contract that Chinese companies had bid for in the European market and was also the first time that Chinese nuclear energy enterprise had successfully participated in international science projects in the form of general contracting.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News