[TOPIC & ISSUE] Hyosung Heavy Industries’ efforts in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project

2018. 6. 29. 16:26

In the Cadarache in southern France, seven countries are working together to build nuclear fusion reactors with an aim to commercialize fusion energy, which is lauded as the energy of dreams, under the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, the largest of its kind in the history of mankind. Our company is engaged in this meaningful project for creating heretofore non-existent energy.

 A fusion energy project crucial for mankind

Fusion energy is a form of energy created by utilizing the principles of nuclear fusion, where the sun creates infinite energy. Not only does fusion energy have high energy efficiency, but the fuels needed for its generation is also endlessly in demand, and there is no worry of explosion or waste. For such reasons, fusion energy is garnering attention as a fundamental solution to the energy problems facing humanity. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project aims to build super-sized nuclear fusion devices on the ground and is a first attempt made in the world to demonstrate from an engineering perspective the feasibility of commercialization of fusion energy, which is crucially needed for the world. The member countries participating in the project are jointly constructing and operating various devices through close cooperation.

The ITER project currently has seven participating member countries, namely South Korea, the United States, Russia, EU, China, India and Japan. If you take into account the 28 member states of the EU, the figure increases to 34, which makes the project the largest international cooperation project in human history. In this large-scale international joint research and development project, our company is tasked with co-developing the world’s best-performing transformer, a component of a superconducting magnet power supply device.

Relevant personnel from Hyosung, the National Fusion Research Institute's ITER Korea Office, and the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Information are gathered at the Changwon plant.

 From design to installation, Hyosung has been contributing to the project for more than ten years

"It is a big challenge for our company to develop the transformer, which is a key device for the ITER facility. It was not easy to make a product that did not exist in the world before. Each member of us is joining forces to make the best product in the world." 

Kim Myung-gi, manager on the Power PU Heavy Electric Equipment Sales Team, said, "Because Hyosung Heavy Industries is participating in this fusion power generation project which aims to secure future clean energy through international cooperation, I feel pride as well as a sense of responsibility.” In the case of a nuclear fusion device, which is also known as “an artificial sun,” the superconducting magnet power supply which contains a transformer is considered a core component. Thanks to being recognized for our technology in the power supply field, our company has been tasked to produce the transformer, one of the ITER power supply's components. Our company’s product plays the role of changing a high external voltage to an appropriate voltage and supplying it into the ITER device.  

Presently, the design of the product has been completed thanks to enthusiastic support from many departments including the Power Transformer Design Team, the Electric Field Design Team, the Collaboration and Production Team at the Power & Industrial Systems PU R&D Center, QA, and QC, and the finished product will be transported to and installed on site in France. For that, many people in related fields have worked diligently together with each other for more than ten years. As a result, at the end of last year, the world's best-performing transformer arrived on site in France where the ITER is being built, and in the future, 18 more transformers are scheduled to be transported to the site. The transformer can deliver functions and performance that did not exist in the world before, and it is the fruit of the putting together of heads between many relevant personnel at our company and the researchers at the Nuclear Fusion Research Institute, ITER representatives, and associated companies.   

VS1 Transformer, which arrived in France in February, is being transported to the installation site. 

 A powerful step forward to lead the way to a better future for humanity

"We have completed the design of the ITER transformer based on our world-class transformer manufacturing technology. Our engineers tasked with producing the transformer also put forth their best efforts in creating a product features high-level design and requires pinpoint accuracy in its production. We built standards for the product and accumulated know-how to break through the difficulties that arose in the production process which no one had experienced before. We are completing this project while conducting video conferences with ITER representatives day and night.”  

The members of the design team, who were in charge of the production site, had to overcome the difficulties of testing numerous devices, including the transformer. As the long-term project went on, there also arose difficulties in relation to work continuity due to changes in the working-level personnel resulting from organizational change and retirement. However, thanks to active support from management and the team leaders, we have been able to work on this project for more than ten years, and the process has also served as a great opportunity for growth for the company as a whole. 

The role of science and technology is becoming increasingly diverse, from solving important problems facing mankind to developing new technologies for the future. The ITER project, the world's largest science and technology project created through international cooperation, also corresponds with our company’s motto of “Leading the way to a better future for humanity”. We are looking forward to seeing Hyosung Heavy Industries’ greater contributions to the project, where different nations and corporations are working together as one community for the common goal of making a new leap forward for humanity.

Humanity's largest International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project! You can also learn about it through video footage.

Article | Lee Yoon-jeong (Manager, Public Relations Team 3)

Photo | Jeon Mun-sik (Day40 Studio)

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