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They were all there: those who designed it, those who forged it, those who assembled and welded it, and those who closely monitored the requirements and procedures connected with a "safety important" component. Two years after an array of segments were delivered to ITER, the cryostat lower cylinder—one of the four sections that form the giant thermos that will enclose the machine — had been fully assembled. With scaffolding removed and just a thin translucent film to protect it, the massive structure was at last revealed, both delicate and mighty.
Operators in the centre provide a sense of scale. The cryostat lower cylindre is more than 10 metres tall and approximately 30 metres in diameter. And it represents only one out of four sections ...
"This is the largest component that will go into the machine assembly pit," said Patrick Petit, ITER In-Cryostat Assembly Section leader. "It is also an example of broad and exemplary collaboration."
Like the other sections of the cryostat, the realization of the lower cylinder epitomizes the larger collaborative nature of ITER: designed by the ITER Organization, manufactured and pre-assembled by Larsen & Toubro Ltd in India, it was further assembled and welded by a German company under contract to India on international territory conceded by France.
"The realization of this component was not a single person's job," said Anil Bhardwaj, ITER Cryostat Group leader. "It has been quite a serious task for all of us, with a large variety of challenges, particularly regarding fitment and welding quality" added Vikas Dube, a mechanical engineer in his team, "and although there were lots of lessons learned, we will face them again when we commence the assembly and welding of the upper cylinder in the coming months."
Read more about the fabrication of the ITER cryostat here.