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RISE leads consortium for fusion development

25 September 2023, 09:36

The strong magnetic fields used in a fusion reactor can affect the operation of the reactor's power converters. A consortium led by RISE, Research Institutes of Sweden, will investigate this challenge at the experimental fusion reactor ITER in France.

ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is an experimental fusion reactor under construction in southern France. In the reactor, hydrogen plasma with a temperature of 150 million degrees Celsius will be held in place by extremely strong magnetic fields. This requires powerful power converters that can supply magnetic coils with electrical power.

RISE, Faculty of Engineering, Lund University, and AQ Elautomatik are part of the consortium that received the assignment. The pre study previously carried out showed, among other things, that the operation of the power converters could be compromised due to the surrounding magnetic field. ITER took notice and published a new tender before the summer, which the consortium won.

“The fact that we won this procurement shows both that we had a competitive offer with strong technical competence and that we have built confidence at ITER through our previous work”, says Håkan Nilsson, project manager at RISE and business developer at Big Science Sweden, which supports Swedish companies and organizations that want to develop and deliver advanced technology to large-scale research facilities such as ITER.

The new project involves building test rigs for different sub-systems of the power converters. The test rigs will then be tested against strong magnetic fields to ensure their operation. The consortium will also assist with technical and metrological expertise even after the actual project delivery. The project starts in October and the project duration is approximately 12 months.

The project is worth around SEK 4.5 million, but the potential for Swedish industry may be much bigger. In coming years, ITER will publish a tender for the manufacture of power converters based on the requirements and specifications that RISE, together with Faculty of Engineering, Lund University, and AQ Elautomatik, have investigated. This means potential contracts of up to half a billion SEK.

“The consortium will be able to support Swedish industry that are interested in presenting a bid. Power electronics have great potential for development in areas such as the need for charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. The work we carry out for ITER is at the absolute forefront of technology development, and with competence and resources we are building up we have great opportunities to support Swedish industry”, says Håkan Nilsson.


Press contact:

Håkan Nilsson, RISE,, +46 70 585 29 05



Large-scale research facilities and Big Science Sweden

Sweden finances 13 European large-scale research facilities with approximately SEK 1.7 billion annually. These facilities carry out procurements of between SEK 20 and 30 billion each year. Among these facilities are the particle accelerator CERN in Switzerland, ESS which is currently being built in Lund and SKA (Square Kilometer Array) which began its construction in December 2022.

RISE is part of the consortium that forms Big Science Sweden, financed by the Swedish Research Council and Vinnova, aiming to strengthen Sweden's ability and resources to develop and deliver advanced technology to large-scale research facilities where Sweden participates and is funding. Big Science Sweden helps companies, institutes and universities participate in collaborations and do business with these research facilities.



Fusion and ITER

Fusion is the process where two atoms fuse together to form a larger atom, releasing energy in the process. Fusion occurs at extreme temperatures and pressures, as in the sun and other stars, and releases much more energy than the splitting of atoms, fission, used in conventional nuclear power plants. Another major advantage of fusion is that it itself does not leave behind any radioactive residues with long half-life as for fission.

The purpose of the experimental fusion reactor ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is to demonstrate that fusion energy can be used as a clean and safe energy source for the future. The reactor enables researchers all around the world to develop new technologies and materials for fusion energy and will pave the way for future reactors that can produce electricity for the market. The ITER project involves 35 countries, and the reactor is expected to be operational in 2035.