January 21 - The first in a series of exceptional loads has been delivered to the ITER project site in Saint Paul-lez-Durance, France.

The cargo - an 87-tonne transformer, measuring 20 m long, 3.35 m wide and 5 m high - was shipped onboard a CMA CGM containership from Hyundai Heavy Industries' (HHI) plant in Ulsan, Korea to Marseilles' industrial harbour, Fos-sur-Mer, where the component was placed in temporary storage.

The transformer was then barged across the inland sea, Etang de Berre, before being transported 104 km along the specially adapted ITER route to the jobsite.

Since September 2014, ITER has received a number of smaller components destined for the electrical network, but the transformer delivery was the first to fall under the category of 'exceptional load', which requires the equipment to be transported by night on the ITER route.

The international transportation was organised by logistics service provider, Daher, in close collaboration with the ITER organisation; while the last leg of the journey, from Fos-sur-Mer to the ITER site, was organised by Daher, Agence Iter France and the French authorities, and financed by the European Domestic Agency for ITER.

Procured by the US Domestic Agency for ITER, the transformer is part of the USA's 75 percent contribution to the electrical network. Three other identical components will be delivered to the site in the next few months.

"Today's operation will need to be replicated some 250 times before we can complete the assembly of the ITER Tokamak," stated director general of the ITER organization, Osamu Motojima. "And some of the components will be much larger, heavier and more difficult to handle than the one that was delivered today."