Indian company Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Ltd has won the contract for manufacturing the 3800 tonne cryostat for the ITER experimental fusion reactor, currently under construction in Southern France.


The ITER cryostat (source ITER Organization)

The cryostat, which will be made of stainless steel, will be the largest high-vacuum pressure chamber ever built, the ITER Organization said in a statement. It forms the vacuum-tight container surrounding the ITER vacuum vessel and the superconducting magnets – essentially acting as a very large refrigerator.

The structure’s overall dimensions will be 29.4 meters in diameter and 29 meters in height, and it will have to withstand a vacuum pressure of 0.1 mPa.

The cryostat will have 23 penetrations allowing internal access for maintenance, as well as over 200 penetrations—some as large as four metres in size – providing access for the cooling systems, magnet feeders, auxiliary heating, diagnostics, and the removal of blanket and parts of the divertor.

The contract for manufacturing of the ITER cryostat was signed on 17 August by Shishir Deshpande, project director of ITER-India and Anil Parab, vice president of the L&T Heavy Engineering divisiont.

The structure will be manufactured by the Heavy Engineering division of L&T at its Hazira plant, near Surat in Western India, in the state of Gujarat. It will be dispatched in 54 modules to the ITER site in Cadarache, as it cannot be transported in its entire size. Preassembly of the Cryostat modules will be done in a temporary workshop at the ITER site and then transported to the tokamak pit where they will be welded together by using the advanced “narrow groove all position gas tungsten arc welding technique”.

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