Alfatorres, doors engineering

Alfatorres completes installation of its 400 M2 sliding doors at ITER

After more than two years of development, Talleres Alfatorres has completed the installation of the two emblematic doors for the ITER Nuclear Complex’s assembly and cleaning buildings, located in France’s Bouches-du-Rhône department.

The ITER project (“El Camino” in Latin) is one of the most ambitious energy projects in the world. In southern France, 35 nations collaborated to build the world’s largest tokamak, a magnetic fusion device that has been designed to demonstrate the viability of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free energy source based on the same principle that nourishes our sun and stars.

This international project is led by the European agency, Fusion for Energy (F4E),

which is the European Union company for ITER and for developing Fusion energy. The organization was created under the Euratom Treaty by decision of the European Union Council. F4E is responsible for providing the European contribution to the ITER project, the world’s largest scientific association that aims to demonstrate fusion as a source of viable and sustainable energy. The ITER project brings together seven countries representing half of the world’s population: the EU, Russia, Japan, China, India, South Korea, and the United States.

Obviously, the project is based on the highest quality standards in all areas of engineering and construction in both civil and nuclear fields. Of course, work safety and respect for exemplary working conditions result in forming a work space with more than 1,000 employees, perfectly coordinated at site. Talleres Alfatorres, together with the VFR (Vinci-Ferrovial-Razel) consortium, accepted the challenge of designing, calculating, manufacturing, and installing the two large doors sized for the maximum benefits required by F4E and the ITER Organization.

The sliding doors are 33 meters in width and 12.1 meters in height, and are built in a two-leaf layout with a central closure of three telescopic elements for each leaf. One of the central closure elements contains a three-by-four-meter door for vehicles to pass.

The structure’s design is verified by finite calculation software complying with the seismic requirements of a maximum safety nuclear facility. Along the same line, according to the European Standard for Industrial Doors EN 13241-1, the door is tested for wind loading under the standards established in EN 12444, EN 12424, and EN 12604. Obtaining a Class 3 rating after conducting two tests with real loads and in real measured samples at a scale of 1:1 demonstrates the reliability of the manufactured structure. With these results, the doors have been classified to withstand the wind pressure of more than 125 km/h, that is, 28 tons of weight on the total surface. The degree of execution of the metal structure complies with the guidelines in EN 1090-1 and EN 1090-2 as if it were a load bearing structure. For this reason, the welding has been performed with procedures and welders approved under European and American regulations and, as the standards indicate, it has been reviewed by means of non-destructive tests (NDT).

The requirements for sealing and resistance to meteorological agents have also been tested. The doors, despite having an area greater than 400 m2, have Grade 3 resistance to water penetration according to EN 12425 and EN 12489 with pressures greater than 70 Pa.

However, the most important quality of the installed equipment is based on its unique Fire Resistance characteristics. The combination of the designs created based on the length of experience of the Talleres Alfatorres technical team together with the knowledge of the laboratories and the latest advances in the finishing components (intumescent paints) has resulted in the execution of one of the highest performance and largest door ever built.

The size of the ITER Project impassions everyone who understands the importance of the objective to be achieved. Therefore, all aspects related to this project are large scale and are reflected in aspects, at times secondary, as important as the logistics and installation on site. Alfatorres and VFR have carried out a vertical and integral management of the entire project; that is, taking charge of its theoretical conception during its design phase and of all the manufacturing, transport, and installation phases. The engineering applied to the special transport methods and to lifting the equipment on site shows a technical scope of the project far beyond the simple manufacturing of a large-scale enclosure. From Alfatorres, we want to thank our suppliers and collaborators for their participation and, in many cases, their total dedication to the project. Without them, this adventure would have been much more difficult.

Talleres Alfatorres continues to design, manufacture, and install new doors and enclosure solutions in different buildings of the ITER complex. The challenge continues and we want to continue working together with the best to become one of them.