ITER FUSION REACTOR USES 3-METRE FLANGE MADE OF SIJ METAL RAVNE STEEL

The SIJ Group, specifically, its second largest company SIJ Metal Ravne, has supplied top quality SINOXX 4404 (a proprietary SIJ Group brand) stainless steel to produce a flange, which will become part of the tokamak of the ITER fusion reactor, which is currently one of the largest, most ambitious, most complicated and most expensive projects in the world. SIJ Metal Ravne supplied austenitic stainless steel with superior corrosion resistance, which corresponds to the project's toughest demands. This places the company on the official suppliers list of the Russian Federation Domestic Agency (RFDA). In addition to the recently acquired certificate EN 9100 for the aerospace industry, this is another reference for SIJ Metal Ravne in the most demanding markets.

The austenitic SINOXX 4404 stainless steel with superior corrosion resistance made by SIJ Metal Ravne, the second largest company of the SIJ Group, will be used to make a flange for the tokamak of the ITER fusion reactor, which is currently one of the largest, most ambitious, most complicated and most expensive projects in the world. 

The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor or ITER is an enormous fusion reactor, which is being built in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance in the south of France by 35 countries, in an area spreading across 42 hectares. The project is expected to last for 30 years – 10 years of construction and 20 years of operation – and will cost approximately 20 billion euros, which makes it the second most expensive scientific project after the International Space Station. The core of the project is the tokamak, the circular reactor, where each smallest step has to work with the precision of a Swiss watch. One of its component parts is a 3-metre flange made from 36 tonnes of SINOXX 4404 steel. 

Because the delivered material is exceedingly demanding with a rigorous safety requirements and exceptional value-added, SIJ Metal Ravne had to prove that their processes meet the exacting standards of the ITER project. "The RFDA, the Russian Federal Domestic Agency, which provides quality assurance for the ITER project and is authorised to evaluate the quality of the products supplied by Russia for the project, thoroughly analysed our production process. The analysis revealed no discrepancies, which places us into the category of suppliers with the highest possible reliability score. After that, we continuously coordinated and confirmed all stages of our cooperation with the client, to ensure proper quality and the correct production process”, Dr. Blaž Šuler, the head of the steel programme explains, adding, "The stringent requirements set by the client, which we followed in making the corrosion resistant SINOXX 4404 stainless steel for the tokamak's flange of the ITAR project, presented us with a real challenge. To achieve maximal material purity, we optimised steel production in the steel mill, then we perfected its treatment in the forging shop to achieve the correct microstructure and we provided the appropriate heat treatment." 

Participating in projects such as ITER is not a mere matter of prestige, but it also provides an outstanding reference for future business, Borut Urnaut, the Managing Director of SIJ Metal Ravne, explains, "All of the positive reviews we received have enabled us to be put on the official suppliers list of the RFDA after providing the steel for the ITER project. In addition to that, we also acquired the international aerospace standard EN 9100 in the beginning of this year. These testaments to our quality also change the philosophy of SIJ Metal Ravne, because the potential for increased profitability further encourages our ambitions in innovations and excellence."

 

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The SIJ Group is the largest vertically-integrated metallurgical group in Slovenia. It operates in accordance with circular economy and its products are at the top of European and global niche steel markets. The SIJ Group is one of Slovenia's biggest exporters and is a pillar of employment in the regions Gorenjska and Koroška.

Additional information :

SIJ – Slovenska industrija jekla, d.d.
Mag. Sara Wagner, Head of Corporate Communications
Telephone: +386 1 242 98 27
Mobile: +386 41 313 532
E-mail: sara.wagner@sij.si