At the heart of the ITER project, which will try to control nuclear fusion at work in the stars
It is 8:30 p.m.on this warm and windy evening of June 22, when the imposing convoy sets off from the port of Berre-l'Etang (Bouches-du-Rhône), 30 km from Marseille.Unconventional transport, the 42-meter trailer, 342 wheels and twice 1,000 horsepower, slowly crosses the semi-desert landscape of the salt flats bordering the expanse of water.Securely secured by thick chains, an enormous parcel of 13 m by 11, covered with an orange tarpaulin and protected by a steel "cradle", is the object of all the attentions on behalf of the operators who precede the machine.It indeed contains a component of high technology intended for the ITER project, under construction 104 km away: a circular superconducting magnet known as "poloidal field", from China, 10 m in diameter and a mass of 400 tonnes.
Following the flashing lights of the gendarmerie vehicles securing the route, the trailer will take, for four nights, a route specially designed by the ITER France Agency: crossing the A7 motorway previously closed, structures reinforced to support its weight , road signs dismantled to leave room for it to pass, and planed part of the cliff, in the Durance valley, on a too narrow passage.
On June 26 at 2:15 a.m., the precious cargo entered the ITER site, after a three-month, 10,000 km sea and road journey from the Chinese city of Hefei (Anhui province), where the part was manufactured on European funds.Unloaded with infinite care by means of an overhead crane, the “PF6” magnet joins, in a vast hall, the components which preceded it or which were manufactured on site.
Posted Date: 2020-07-24