TVEL JSC and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) have signed an Agreement on R&D in the framework of the Future Circular Collider (FCC) Study. The document is an addendum to the existing framework agreement on industrial partnership between the parties, which is aimed at cooperation in the field of superconducting materials (SCM).
According to common practice at CERN, each industrial partner needs to be qualified to prove its series production capability. For this purpose Chepetsky Mechanical Plant (an enterprise of TVEL Fuel Company of ROSATOM in Glazov, Udmurtia), has agreed to manufacture a qualification batch of superconducting niobium-tin wire with target performance and characteristics as specified for the FCC project.
The accelerator magnet system is one of the key elements of the Future Circular Collider, which could be built in Switzerland to replace the Large Hadron Collider. This would enable the scientists to continue their fundamental research on elementary particle physics. The huge size of the FCC (the circumference of a circle – up to 100 kilometers) will require a significant amount of superconducting strands, which can only be produced by the joint efforts of the countries which have such technology (TVEL specialists estimate that FCC needs in superconductors will exceed the existing global Nb3Sn production capacity).
Development of wire for the FCC project meeting the requirements of CERN is under way in the USA, Europe, South Korea, Japan and China. In Russia, the developer of the construction of niobium-tin superconductors is the Bochvar Institute of Inorganic Materials (part of TVEL Fuel Company of ROSATOM), and the production site is the Chepetsky Mechanical Plant. The production of low-temperature SCM was established in Glazov due to Russia’s participation in the construction of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in France. In 2009-2014, the plant produced over 200 tons of low-temperature superconductors for ITER.
“TVEL Fuel Company of ROSATOM has sufficient scientific and manufacturing potential, as well as accumulated experience to create a wire meeting the technical requirements of CERN. In addition to the niobium-tin wires, we are also committed to supply the niobium-titanium wires and extra-pure resonant niobium, which will be needed to manufacture some devices of Future Circular Collider,” said Konstantin Vergazov, Senior Vice President for R&D, technology and quality of TVEL JSC.
Applied superconductivity is one of the strategic priorities in the development of non-nuclear technologies in TVEL Fuel Company. In addition to projects of fundamental science, SCM are indispensable in the development of modern medical equipment (such as MRI), and have prospects for widespread use in electrical and power engineering. The key priority in the development of superconductivity technologies beyond the present state-of-the-art is the development of high-temperature superconductors, which have the potential to significantly improve the performance characteristics of electric power applications.