Indian firm completes ITER cryostat manufacture

07 July 2020

Indian company Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Heavy Engineering Ltd has completed the final segment of the ITER cryostat, bringing to an end an eight-year work programme. Work on the cryostat will now continue at the ITER site in southern France where the sections will be assembled, sited and welded over the next four years.

L&T employees stand by the top lid of the cryostat. The lid comprises 12 segments. (Image: ITER)

The cryostat will completely surround the vacuum vessel and superconducting magnets of the ITER fusion machine, insulating the magnetic system at an ultra-cold temperature. The 3800-tonne cryostat will be the world's largest steel vacuum chamber, with a volume of 16,000 cubic metres. It has been built in 54 segments at L&T's Hazira facility under a contract awarded to the company in 2012 by the Indian Domestic Agency. The segments are shipped to ITER for assembly into four manoeuvrable sections in a dedicated on-site workshop.

Three of the four cryostat sections have already been completed and shipped by L&T, and the first completed section - the cryostat base - was installed in ITER's Tokamak pit in May. The next two sections - the lower and upper cylinders - are currently in storage on site, with preparations for the lowering of the lower section into the Tokamak pit due to begin in August.

The segments and central disc of the top lid are prepared for shipment (Image: ITER)
"The making of the ITER cryostat is a shining illustration of what the ITER international collaboration is about: committed men and women working to the best of their ability in different parts of the world as a 'One-ITER' team, to meet an ambitious and unprecedented challenge," ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot said yesterday.

ITER will be a 500 MW tokamak fusion device designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy. The European Union is contributing almost half of the cost of its construction, while the other six members (China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the USA) are contributing equally to the rest. The target for first plasma is 2025.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News