Simulated fusion

ITER has adopted software from ANSYS to validate the design of its groundbreaking international fusion power plant project.

The partners in the project — called the ITER Parties — are the European Union, Japan, the People´s Republic of China, the Republic of India, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the US. ITER will be constructed in Europe at Cadarache in the south of France.

Engineering simulation software from ANSYS will be used to help engineers optimise key components of the experimental fusion reactor. Researchers will use the simulation capabilities within the ANSYS Workbench platform to conduct dynamic analysis, nonlinear thermal analysis, electro-magnetic analysis, coupled field analysis as well as perform a nonlinear structural analysis of the facility.

The ITER fusion reactor is based on the Tokamak concept, in which low-temperature superconducting coils are positioned around a toroidal vessel. These coils produce magnetic forces that confine hot plasma long enough to generate 10 times more power through fusion than that which is required to keep it hot.

ITER intends to demonstrate that fusion could be used to generate electrical power; the aim of the project is to gain the necessary data to design and operate the first electricity-producing fusion plant.

Construction and commissioning of the project is expected to take about eight years, once a construction license is granted in early 2009.