The Engage consortium, of which Atkins is a lead member, has completed one million man-hours of work on the ITER nuclear fusion reactor project underway in Cadarache, France. The first phase of work is now almost complete and all major construction contracts are due to be awarded before the end of the year. Engage is retained as ITER’s Architect Engineer and is charged with delivering all on-site structures up to 2018.
ITER is the world’s biggest experimental fusion facility which aims to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion power. Fusion is the process which powers the sun and the stars. The Engage consortium members, Atkins, Assystem, Egis and Empresarios Agrupados, are amongst Europe’s leading engineering consultancies and their collaborative efforts have already delivered over 3,000 technical documents for the 39 buildings and areas, since they began work in April 2010.
Martin Grant, chief executive officer of Atkins’ energy business, said: “The fact we have spent a million man-hours on the first phase of the programme tells you just how big this project is. It is not just the scale of the project which is exciting though, it is the complexity of the engineering that is required. We have been designing the site structures while the science is still evolving which means we must be highly flexible at the same time as satisfying the most stringent nuclear safety standards.”
The ITER buildings include the Tokamak complex which will house the reactor that is being designed to harness the energy produced by the fusion of atoms to help meet mankind's future energy needs. ITER, which means the “the way” in Latin, is the next step in bringing together the world's largest nations in a quest for sustainable energy.
The European contribution is being delivered through Fusion for Energy (F4E), the EU organisation managing Europe’s contribution to ITER, which is overseeing the design and construction of the ITER buildings.