A powerful crane and worker dexterity - that's what is needed to precisely position the 87-ton component onto the supports that span the gravel-covered pit.
The four US-procured transformers that will be needed to distribute power to the ITER installation have all reached the ITER site. The first one had been the first Highly Exceptional Load to travel along the ITER Itinerary in January; three more were delivered on 21 May in a single transport operation.
A mere two hours after arrival, one of the four transformers was readied for installation on the platform in the vicinity of the the 400 kV switchyard. A powerful crane was used to position the 87-ton component on its dedicated pad; the same operation was duplicated the following day. Two transformers are now place—the first installed components of the ITER plant.
The pad onto which each transformer is solidly anchored covers a 1.5-metre-deep, gravel-covered pit that has been dimensioned to receive the 44 cubic metres of oil the component contains (oil is used as an insulator) in case of a leak. Eight-metre walls stand between the pads to prevent a possible fire in one transformer from spreading to the others.
The four transformers will bring down the voltage from 400 kV to the standard 20 kV of industrial installations. "ITER could operate with only three transformers but for reasons of flexibility and redundancy, we have opted for four," explains ITER Electrical Power Distribution section leader Joël Hourtoule.
The second pair of transformers will be installed in the coming weeks.
View a slide show of the convoy and transformer installation below.