Major milestone at NSTX spherical tokamak
Mission accomplished: The completed first section of the NSTX-U center stack capped months of demanding preparations and close teamwork.
"If we had a script, I couldn't think of a better outcome." That's how Ron Strykowsky, head of the NSTX Upgrade, described recent results for a critical stage of the project's construction. Riding on the outcome were months of work on the first quadrant of magnetic field conductors for the tokamak's new center stack, which forms the heart of the $94 million upgrade.
The crucial stage called for sealing and insulating the first quadrant through a volatile process known as vacuum pressure impregnation (VPI). Preparing the nine 20 foot-long, 350-pound copper conductors for this step required the coordinated efforts of engineers and some dozen skilled technicians. The multiple tasks included soldering cooling tubes into the conductors under the direction of Steve Jurczynski, and sandblasting, priming and wrapping the units with fiberglass tape in operations led by Mike Anderson.
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