The trio of European engineering companies that make up the Energhia consortium have secured an initial € 27 million contract supporting the development of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project in southern France.

France-based Altran, Spanish-headquartered Idom and London-based Halcrow will work on behalf of Fusion for Energy on the ITER project for an initial period of six years, with options to extend the contract for a further five years until 2021.

Fusion for Energy is the European Union's joint undertaking for the development of fusion energy - an internationally funded exercise.

The US, China, Russia, India, Japan and Korea also contribute to the overall ITER project, which is estimated to cost € 10 billion.

Fusion for Energy is the part of the project responsible for site ground works, including the design and construction of 39 buildings that will house all facilities and equipment.

The Energhia consortium will supervise between 15 and 20 construction contracts for the ITER project, which aims to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of prolonged fusion energy generation.

Halcrow's Ralph Watts, regional director for power at Halcrow Europe, described the ITER project as "one of the world's most exciting scientific and engineering projects".

He said the consortium will integrate with Fusion for Energy and work with the other international organisations involved in ITER.

"The Energhia consortium was formed in 2008 with the specific objective of bringing together three world-class European engineering companies to help deliver the ITER project.

"The combined strengths of Halcrow, Altran and Idom deliver a strong nuclear engineering capability and expertise across the whole range of engineering and related disciplines", he added.

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