The journey had begun some 9,000 kilometres from the ITER site in the port city of Ulsan, Korea. The load had travelled by container ship, barge, trailer, and there it was: a large box of dull-grey steel, 20 meters long, 3.35 meters wide, 5 metres high and weighing close to 90 tons.
For a 'Highly Exceptional Load' it was a relatively small item. But it was the very first in a long series of large and heavy components that will be delivered to ITER in the seven or eight years to come. With the symbolic importance of a 'first,' it was greeted on the ITER site with joy and emotion.
Procured by the US, manufactured in Korea, transported by the ITER Organization’s global logistics partner DAHER, and placed—for the last leg of its journey—under the responsibility of France (and financed by Europe), the high voltage transformer was a potent symbol of the international cooperation for ITER.
A few hours after its arrival at 4:30 a.m., under a sky that was still pitch black, the ITER family assembled for a warm welcome. All had risen early: ITER senior management, the directors of several ITER Domestic Agencies, members of the ITER Electrical Engineering Division, and representatives of Agence Iter France and DAHER.
ITER Director-General nominee Bernard Bigot was also present.
’I want to thank you all for your contribution to today’s operation,' said the ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima. 'ITER success depends on all of you who designed, procured, manufactured and safely transported and delivered this component.'
In the afternoon, the transformer was moved from the trailer to sit on concrete blocks in the storage area. Along with three similar components due to arrive in the coming months, it will be connected to the 400 kV switchyard. Bringing down the voltage to 22 kV, it will to dispatch power to the various plant systems of the installation.
The photo gallery from the SSEN Transformer journey can be viewed here.