TOKYO—Toshiba Corporation (Tokyo: 6502) today announced that it has concluded a contract with the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) for the manufacture of toroidal field coils for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) being constructed in Cadarache, France. Keihin Product Operations and Toshiba IHI Power Systems Corporation will begin manufacturing the coils the end of this month. The ITER facility will have a total of 18 coils and initiate plasma experiments in 2020.
Toshiba has been commissioned to manufacture four toroidal field coils and six containers to hold the coils, and will start deliveries in 2017. Toroidal field coils are used to produce strong magnetic fields that confine the high-temperature plasma necessary for nuclear fusion to occur.
The ITER project aims to demonstrate nuclear fusion as a viable future energy source. The project is funded and run by seven member entities: Japan, the European Union, the United States, Russia, China, South Korea and India. Thermonuclear fusion occurs in high temperature deuterium-tritium plasma at the order of 100 million degrees Centigrade, and the heat produced by the fusion reaction is used to generate electricity. Because the source of nuclear fusion fuel is abundant in nature, thermonuclear fusion, once proven, is expected to become a perpetual source of energy.
Toshiba has long been involved in the research and development of nuclear fusion technology, participating in design activities and supply of equipment. Toshiba has manufactured equipment, such as coils and power supply systems, for the JAEA Naka Fusion Institute's JT-60, the National Institute of Fusion Science's Large Helical Device and for other institutes in Japan and overseas. In March 2014, Toshiba delivered sectors of the vacuum vessel for JT-60SA, a successor to JT-60. Toshiba will continue to leverage its technologies to contribute to the research and development of leading-edge technologies.