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The construction teams are in the last stages of preparing the Tokamak pit for the first major operation of ITER machine assembly: the lowering of the cryostat base onto supports in the Tokamak pit. Around the concrete "crown," female lugs have been precisely adjusted, and the protective coverings have been removed from the 18 cryostat bearings that were installed six months ago.
With their protective coverings removed, the 18 cryostat support bearings that dot the crown like jewels are clearly visible.
The circular shape at the very centre of the pit is a set of deeply embedded plates designed to anchor the central column of the in-pit assembly tool
. This tool will support, align, and stabilize the vacuum vessel sub-assemblies as they are progressively joined and welded.
The cryostat support bearings will act as ball-and-socket joints to allow the smooth transfer of the tremendous forces that will be exerted on the machine in all types of situations.
By mid-week, the Tokamak pit will be perfectly clean and ready to receive the 1,250-tonne cryostat base, an operation both delicate and spectacular that will open a new chapter in the history of ITER.
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