29th ITER Council: Components arriving, assembly progressing

The ITER Council convened for its Twenty-Ninth Meeting on 17 and 18 November 2021—the fourth consecutive meeting held virtually due to the global pandemic. On the agenda was a thorough review of progress reports and performance metrics, commitments, and achieved and upcoming milestones.   The two-day, online meeting was the 29th session since the first ITER Council convened in November 2007, just one month after the formal establishment of the ITER Organization. Under the chairmanship of LUO Delong, from China, representatives of the ITER Members reviewed the progress of construction, manufacturing, and assembly, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on project execution. "The project has continued to progress, with respect to both Members' best efforts for delivery of components and worksite installation and assembly activities," reads the press release issued at the close of the meeting. "The effects of technical challenges and the ongoing pandemic are being closely monitored, with constant attention to mitigation measures to uphold project progress." The ITER Organization has now accumulated significant experience in the assembly and installation of the components received from ITER Members. Five major components have been installed in the Tokamak pit (cryostat base, cryostat lower cylinder, lower cryostat thermal shield, poloidal field coil #6, and poloidal field coil #5), and the next large lift—the first vacuum vessel sector sub-assembly—is imminent. Major progress has been achieved on the installation of plant support systems. A second vacuum vessel sector has been received on site and will soon be lifted into assembly tooling. The ITER Organization has also received the first two central solenoid modules and eight toroidal field coils (with four more travelling). The ITER Council has asked the ITER Organization to prepare a baseline update for consideration at its next meeting in June 2022 and to take all possible measures to ensure the start of fusion power operation in 2035 as currently planned. The Twenty-Ninth ITER Council was the last meeting for Chair LUO Delong, from China, who reaches the end of his two-year term on 31 December. The Council elected Massimo Garribba, from Europe, as the next Chair of the ITER Council and Viktor Ilgisonis, from Russia, as the next Vice-Chair. Read the full press release in English or French.