Many of the ITER components that will come off of the fabrication lines in the factories of the ITER Members are particularly large and heavy. In order to permit their transport to ITER, France has adapted a special 104 kilometre-long Itinerary—widening roads, adapting roundabouts and reinforcing bridges between Port-de-la-Pointe, on the shores of the Étang de Berre, and the ITER site in Saint Paul-lez-Durance.
Work on the ITER Itinerary began in January 2008 and was completed three years later. In March 2012 the ITER Organization awarded a framework contract for the transport of the machine’s components to the DAHER Group. In advance of the test convoys planned for September (technical) and October (logistics and organization) 2013, final adjustments to the ITER Itinerary were carried out between April and June this year.
On 16-20 September, travelling at night, a test convoy will be organized jointly by Agence Iter France (the CEA agency that acts as an interface between ITER and France) and the DAHER Group. After having crossed the inland sea of Étang de Berre, a dummy load made of 360 concrete blocks will be loaded onto a special self-propelled platform (88 axles) to travel the whole length of the Itinerary. Its weight and dimensions—800 tons, 40 metres long, 9 metres wide, 11 metres high—will mimic the most exceptional ITER loads.
This first test, officially a „measurement campaign,” aims at verifying that the reality of bypassing 16 villages, negotiating 16 roundabouts and crossing more than 30 bridges corresponds to the engineers’ calculations.
According to Agence Iter France, an „enormous technical, administrative and regulatory machine” has had to be fine-tuned in order to bring about this first campaign.
Two viewing areas—one close to Berre-l’Étang and the other in the rest area close to the village of Peyrolles-en-Provence—will allow the public to share in the event … for many, a spectacular introduction to the exceptional dimensions of the ITER machine.
Click here to read the latest issue of Agence Iter France’s publication Itinéraire News (in French).