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  • Worksite | First pillars for the crane hall

    For the overhead cranes to deliver machine components into the Tokamak assembly pit, the rails that carry them need to be extended some 80 metres beyond the tem [...]

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  • Transport | 300 tonnes of equipment on its way to ITER

    A specially designed assembly tool and elements of the cryostat and vacuum vessel thermal shields are part of the shipments travelling now from Korea to ITER. W [...]

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  • Fusion world | A new tokamak in town

    After EAST in China and WEST in France, another of the cardinal points of the compass has been chosen to name a tokamak. Introducing NORTH—the NORdic Tokamak de [...]

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  • Opportunities | Bringing the ITER Business Forum to Washington

    Every second year, a two-day ITER Business Forum is held to invite existing and potential suppliers for the ITER Project—laboratories, universities, and compani [...]

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  • World Energy Congress | Fusion "at a time of transition"

    In the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is often referred to as a tourism hotspot that combines luxury and ancient traditions. In September, Abu Dhabi was in the [...]

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Of Interest

See archived entries

Not your ordinary pipes

R.A.

The typical pipe is made from a steel plate that is rolled to form a tube, and welded along its length. The nuclear world, however, is not fond of long welds ... especially in piping.

A 10-km network of seamless stainless steel pipes will connect vacuum pumps to the vacuum vessel, cryostat, and neutral beam injector. Vacuum team members Liam Worth (forefront) and Bansal Gourab received their first order last week from contractor Global Nuclear Metal Supply (GNMS). (Click to view larger version...)
A 10-km network of seamless stainless steel pipes will connect vacuum pumps to the vacuum vessel, cryostat, and neutral beam injector. Vacuum team members Liam Worth (forefront) and Bansal Gourab received their first order last week from contractor Global Nuclear Metal Supply (GNMS).
Because pipes are often located in places difficult to access, the regular inspections and radiographic examination that safety regulations require would be a taxing and extremely expensive process. There would also be an increased risk of leaks not being detected by normal methods of non-destructive testing.

What the nuclear world prefers is the so-called seamless pipe—a pipe that is manufactured not by rolling and welding a flat surface, but by piercing and extruding a billet of hot metal to form a tube.

Such pipes come in standard lengths of 5 to 7 metres that are welded together to form networks, allowing for fewer, and more accessible, welds.

In ITER, this type of seamless pipe will be required for a 10-kilometre network that will connect powerful vacuum pumps to the vacuum vessel, cryostat, and neutral beam injector. This piping will act as an extension of the first nuclear confinement barrier, transporting the unburned tritium (along with ash and impurities) from the vacuum vessel and delivering it to the Tritium Plant for reprocessing.

The first order of seamless stainless-steel piping was delivered to ITER on 16 September, procured by the ITER Organization on behalf of the US under the terms of a specific agreement to centralize the procurement of vacuum pipework. The pipes were manufactured in Austria for the company Global Nuclear Metal Supply (GNMS).

"Our first order of seamless pipes for the vacuum system was deliberately small—only 80 metres," explain Liam Worth and Bansal Gourab, from the ITER Vacuum Section. "We'll use this first order as a test to verify that all procedures are observed and secured, before ordering the remaining scope (in three deliveries) from the supplier for arrival in 2017."

The Vacuum Section is pursuing the standardization of vacuum components, including piping and vacuum instrumentation, as a way for the ITER Organization and Domestic Agencies to save cost on the qualification and order of mass-purchase items.


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