La Spezia, May 19 - Italian firm ASG Superconductors on Friday presented the first magnet for Iter, the world's largest experimental plant designed to show it is possible to produce energy from nuclear fusion. It is 14 metres high, nine metres long, weighs 300 tonnes - as much as a Boeing 747 - and is the shape of a big capital D. The super-high-tech magnet, the first of 18 destined for the Iter project, was made by the Malacalza family's ASG Superconductors in its La Spezia plant, which will go on to produce another nine (plus one spare one) of the 18 which will form the core of the Iter reactor being built at Cadarache in southern France. The other nine will be made in Japan. "We are very proud," said ASG Superconductors President Davide Malacalza, "we and all those who worked on building it: the head of production had goose pimples when he moved this coil for the first time. "It took five years to realise the prototype". The first experiments with nuclear fusion are scheduled for 2025, Iter Director-General Bernard Bigot said, stressing the "great enthusiasm" among the 35 countries collaborating on the project.
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