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Industry and Technology Consulting Award

26 October 2017

Led by the ENGAGE consortium (Egis /Assystem /Atkins / Empresarios Agrupados), Alain Baudry and the ENGAGE consortium team have won the Industry and Technology Consulting Award for the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) project. Launched several years ago at Cadarache in the south of France, the ITER project is centred on the creation of a new type of nuclear fusion power station. Based purely on its size, it is considered to be the most ambitious energy project in the world.


 


Since 2011, the ENGAGE group has been providing multi-disciplinary support to the owner and prime contractor for the construction of the entire site, and will continue doing so until 2018. Their joint efforts have now been rewarded by the prestigious Industry and Technology Consulting Award as part of France’s 2017 National Engineering Grand Prix.

Global collaboration on the nuclear fusion experiment

The ITER project involves recreating on Earth - in a controlled way - the fusion reaction of hydrogen atoms as it would occur at the heart of the sun and stars. The program has been designed to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of this process. Fusion research could represent a sustainable alternative to all current modes of energy production, by developing a safe, inexhaustible and environmentally-friendly source of energy.

ITER is both the largest experimental fusion facility ever built and the first global collaboration of its kind. Europe's contribution represents almost half of the cost of building the machine; the other six members involved in this international collaboration (China, Japan, India, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the United States) contribute equally to the remaining funding.

An extraordinary site for a formidable challenge

ENGAGE is in a constant state of creativity to meet the challenges posed by the complexity of the ITER project: beyond the technical nature of this project, the volume of the operation, the level of security and reliability, aligned with the most stringent of standards, are elements that lead the group to develop an ever-evolving expertise in all areas of its engineering operation.

The programme consists of building the infrastructure of the half-hectare platform, constructed by the European agency F4E (Fusion for Energy) comprising some 40 industrial buildings, as well as two nuclear buildings: one housing the Tokamak (a 30-metre high experimental reactor weighing 25,000 metric tons), and the other a plant for preparing and reprocessing tritium, a hydrogen isotope.

These buildings will need to accommodate a huge amount of equipment and processes and at the same time be appropriately designed to withstand a whole series of accident scenarios including earthquakes, leakage of the cooling circuit, loss of vacuum in the Tokamak enclosure, and more. The programme therefore vitally involves meeting significant safety requirements (approximately 300 for fit-for-purpose nuclear buildings).

In addition, nuclear fusion combines energy production with sustainable development (the absence of highly radioactive waste, inexhaustible fuel, and the capacity to immediately stop the reaction in an emergency). Faced with such a challenge, the design and construction had to integrate sustainable development as a key design input to the project, based on preserving the environment, fostering social cohesion, and promoting a responsible economy.

The first structures emerge from the earth

The project is currently in the construction phase for the infrastructure and building. Three floors (out of eight) have already been completed in the central Tokamak building. Four auxiliary buildings are enclosed and covered, and interior work is starting there. The other auxiliary buildings are in the structural phase.

On the infrastructure side, the first very high-voltage substation (400 kV) has been delivered. Some of the upgraded areas of the platform will soon be delivered to ITER ready for the arrival of the process assembly contractors.

In all, about 1,800 people are working on this highly complex and busy construction site, constantly meeting strict deadlines and high-level quality and safety requirements.

An array of technologies and innovations

The fundamental originality of the prize-winning project is derived from the "3D as master" digital model. ENGAGE uses this model to oversee and manage the building components to guarantee that the building and process concepts align, configure the input data, identify and resolve interfaces issues, and control and manage any modifications.

A requirements management database has been developed to manage the building’s nuclear safety which gives traceability of the requirements, their status and how they have been addressed by the different designers and builders.

The configuration management of all the participants also required the implementation of a dedicated database to deal with the high volume of modifications (one per day on average), of varying scale, which constantly affect the design and construction landscape.

ENGAGE has set up a database for all project stakeholders, which guarantees that the documents are used reliably, in terms of document registration, traceability, distribution and change. Given the considerable volume of information and requests (1.87 TB of stored documents, 70,000 monthly communications, 10,000 documents published monthly), ENGAGE has contributed to the development of version 4 of the SGTI (Egis’s collaborative construction management tool) and established specific processes and efficient approval pathways to enable this. (more information at: www.sgti4.fr)

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About Assystem

Assystem is an international Engineering and Innovation Consultancy with a presence in 20 countries and nearly 12,000 employees. We are a key partner for the largest industrial groups.

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