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News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • The physics behind the transition to H-mode

    H‐mode—or thesudden improvement of plasma confinement in the magnetic field of tokamaksby approximatelya factor of two—is thehigh confinement regime that all mo [...]

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  • In search of the green plasma

    Sébastien König's core competence is in planning and scheduling; his passion is in understanding the workings of the Universe. In his previous life, before join [...]

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  • An outing into the future

    Open Doors days occur with scientific regularity at ITER (spring and autumn) and yet—due to the rapid evolution of work on site—each event offers something new. [...]

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  • Fusion "grandfather" tells family story

    Grandfathers like to tell stories. And Robert Aymar, the 'grandfather' of the French fusion community, is no exception. 'Being so old,' he quipped at last week' [...]

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  • An AC/DC adapter ... ITER size

    Like flashlight and smartphones, the ITER magnets—all 10,000 tonnes of them—will run on direct current (DC). And like flashlight and smartphones they will need [...]

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Of Interest

See archived articles

10,000 tonnes of magnets to cool

In ITER, huge volumes of liquid helium will be circulated throughout a complex, five-kilometre network of pipes, pumps and valves to keep the 10,000-tonne magnet system at superconducting temperature. Helium will also be required to provide cooling power to the thermal shields—which reduce the large temperature gradient between the superconducting magnets and the Tokamak environment—and the cryopumps, which use extreme cold to achieve high vacuum in the plasma chamber.

The cryoplant area stretches over 8,000-square-metre zone not far from the Tokamak Building. Part of the area is given over to the storage of helium and nitrogen in liquid and gaseous forms; the rest (5,400 m²) is for the Cold Box and Compressor buildings that will be joined under a single roof. (Click to view larger version...)
The cryoplant area stretches over 8,000-square-metre zone not far from the Tokamak Building. Part of the area is given over to the storage of helium and nitrogen in liquid and gaseous forms; the rest (5,400 m²) is for the Cold Box and Compressor buildings that will be joined under a single roof.
As a consequence, the ITER cryoplant will be the largest in the world. Nearly 25 tonnes of liquid helium at minus 269 °C will circulate in the ITER installation during operation.

Helium however is not the only ultra-cold fluid that the cryoplant will produce. Liquid nitrogen, at a temperature of minus 196 °C, will be used as a "pre-cooler" in the liquid helium plants.

Nitrogen, which accounts for approximately 78 percent of the air we breathe, will be extracted directly from the atmosphere in an on-site gaseous nitrogen generator with a production capacity of 50 tonnes per day, and then processed in two large liquid nitrogen plants.

The complexity of the cooling processes, along with the flux rate required for the cooling of magnets, cryopumps and thermal shield, has dictated the size and design of the cryoplant.

Construction is underway now on the buildings and technical areas of the cryoplant.

The images below show recent progress on site. Access for the first installation activities is expected in June.


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