International: LafargeHolcim contributes to the future of nuclear plants with ITER

In early 2020, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project will give birth to the largest ever nuclear fusion facility, involving 35 countries. The objective is to create a safe and environmentally-friendly energy source. This exceptional and cutting-edge project has called on the excellence of our teams and the best of LafargeHolcim's concretes to ensure the reactor’s quality and safety.

 

The ITER project aims to create by 2020, in the South of France, the largest experimental nuclear fusion facility ever built. The project, run by the United States, the European Union, China, India, Japan, Russia and South Korea, was launched to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion, the process which powers the sun and stars.

It is no small revolution in the energy industry: fusion should make it possible to generate 10 times more energy than the nuclear plant consumes. Designed to produce 500 MW of energy for 50 MW of consumption, ITER will pave the way for the commercial use of fusion technology – a safe, inexhaustible and environmentally-friendly source of energy.

Quality and safety for the ITER reactor using LafargeHolcim concrete

The ITER project is a fantastic technological feat which has called for materials meeting stringent requirements to ensure the safety of nuclear facilities. Hydration heat and porosity levels therefore had to be limited to optimize the sealant and protection qualities of the concrete around the reactor, with formulations refined in collaboration with the project design team.

LafargeHolcim stood out for the flexibility, know-how and 20 years’ experience in the field of its production and management teams. We supplied 64,000 m3 of concrete for the foundations of the reactor's seismic insulation pads, while meeting delivery flow requirements:

  • 30,000 m3 for the bottom slabs,
  • 24,000 m3 for the walls,
  • 10,000 m3 for the slab of the assembly building.

We installed a high-capacity concrete-batching plant on site (120 m3/hour), facilitating continuous pouring of the reactor's bottom slab and preventing the slightest risk of cracking.

As an evidence of LafargeHolcim's expertise, a second contract is currently being finalized for the supply of more than 150,000 m3 of concrete.

 
Lafarge truck delivering concrete to ITER, France.