MEGA Industries in Gorham has received a contract worth $1.2 million to manufacture components for an international consortium that is building a large-scale science experiment designed to prove the viability of harnessing fusion – the process at the core of our sun – as a power source.
The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, called ITER, is being built in Cadarache, France, by a group of countries that includes the United States. The project’s goal is to prove the feasibility of using fusion to generate large amounts of power without the need for carbon-based fuels and without creating pollution. The participants hope the data collected at ITER eventually will lead to the design and construction of the first fusion power plant.
Construction on the project, estimated to cost more than $20 billion, began in 2008 and is expected to stretch until at least 2020.
MEGA Industries manufactures microwave transmission equipment. It has received a few smaller contracts to supply the project with components, but this deal is its largest so far. The agreement is with ITER India, which is providing the power source components to the reactor. MEGA will provide coaxial components and testing equipment that ITER-India will use to test its components. The coaxial components serve as the “plumbing” system for the power source of the reactor, while the testing equipment will be used to test the power source components, according to the company’s announcement.
MEGA Industries was founded in 1989 to manufacture microwave transmission equipment. Anania & Associates Investment Co. acquired the company in 2000.
It has grown over the years and now provides equipment used for radar systems, air traffic control systems, broadcast equipment and fusion energy research. Anania & Associates’ investment fund also owns Biovation in Boothbay and Lighthouse Imaging in Windham, among others.
MEGA Industries employs 46 people and plans to add two or three engineers as a result of these contracts, according to Peter Anania, MEGA’s president and chairman of Anania & Associates.
“They will be permanent positions,” Anania said. “As we continue to grow, we’ll continue to need them.”
The company recently expanded its Gorham headquarters by 7,500 square feet to keep up with growing demand. The company’s sales increased 80 percent in 2013, and pulled in “just under” $10 million in revenue, Anania said.
The company is also vying for another larger contract related to the ITER project, Anania said. The company provides components for a niche research industry, so there are only four or five competitors around the world, Anania said. It recently lost another ITER-related project to Mitsubishi in Japan.
MEGA hopes to ship the coaxial components and testing equipment for ITER-India by the end of the year, Anania said.