High heat flux tests of foreign equipment for ITER reactor completed in Russia


Foreign equipment for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), under construction in France, have completed a cycle of high heat flux tests at Russia’s D.V. Efremov Institute of Electrophysical Apparatus, according to a Russian state atomic energy corporation Rosatom statement earlier this month.   

The D.V. Efremov Institute of Electrophysical Apparatus (NIIEFA), based in the port city of St. Petersburg, Russia, is a Rosatom enterprise.  

Rosatom said that a Japanese test assembly, consisting of eight prototype divertor plasma facing units (PFUs), withstood 6,000 test cycles with heat loads ranging from 5 to 20 MW per square meter.  

“The test results confirmed the compliance of the Japanese PFUs with the highest requirements of the ITER Organization,” the statement said.  

“Since April 2023, specialists from NIIEFA have been conducting a series of high heat flux tests of plasma facing units of a full-scale prototype of the outer vertical target of the ITER divertor. These tests were carried out on the unique Russian IDTF (ITER Divertor Test Facility) stand, in accordance with the commitments of the Russian Federation within the ITER project,” it added.  

“The competence of Russian physicists and engineers in the field of thermonuclear research is recognized worldwide, which is why testing of not only Russian but also foreign in-vessel reactor elements is carried out in our country,” said Anatoly Krasilnikov, Director of the ITER Centre, which is a Rosatom institution responsible for ensuring Russia’s contribution to the ITER project. 

A series of similar high heat flux tests were earlier conducted on both Russian and foreign equipment at the IDTF facility, the statement said.  

“All plasma facing units of the Russian full-scale prototype of the Dome divertor (manufactured by NIIEFA), which has already been delivered to the ITER Organization, were tested at the St. Petersburg test stand. Last year, eight plasma-facing units for serial Domes were successfully tested,” the statement added.  

In addition to testing, Russia’s main contribution to the project is to develop, manufacture and supply 25 systems for the ITER fusion reactor. These include switching equipment, installations for testing, port plugins, divertor dome and thermal tests, poloidal field coils, upper spigots, 170 ghz gyrotrons, diagnostic systems, and first wall and blanket module connectors. 

The ITER machine, the assembly of which began in July 2020 in France, is a first-of-its-kind project designed to replicate the fusion power of the sun to enable generation of clean unlimited energy. When light atomic nuclei fuse together to form heavier ones, a large amount of energy is released, which fusion reaction is to be housed in the ITER plasma chamber. 

ITER is a 35-nation partnership composed of the European Union, the UK, Switzerland, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the US. Each partner contributes in-kind hardware to support their share of project construction while sharing all of the science and technology. The world’s largest science project is intended to demonstrate that fusion power can be generated on a commercial scale.   

The statement said that despite sanctions and restrictions, Russia continues to fulfil its obligations to the ITER project.