The convoy that passed the ITER gates at 2:30 a.m. on 10 December 2015, however, was welcomed with an extra dose of emotion. The three flatbed trucks carried the very first segments of the ITER cryostat—the giant "thermos" that will completely surround the tokamak, provide structural support, and ensure the thermal insulation of the superconducting magnets. (
Unloaded, unwrapped, and carefully stored in the Cryostat Workshop, where welding and assembly activities will soon begin, the segments already give us an idea of the size of the ITER machine.
The arrival of these first machine components, which were procured by India and manufactured at Larsen & Toubro's Hazira plant, was achieved a few weeks in advance in relation to the ITER calendar. It was the first milestone achieved of the 29 validated in November 2015 by the ITER Council for the period 2016-2017.
Six of the components that reached ITER in December weighed 50 tonnes each. Assembled with six auxiliary segments and welded, they will form Tier 1 of the cryostat base, the heaviest single ''piece'' of the ITER machine (1,250 tonnes).