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Latest ITER Newsline

  • Pre-compression ring facility | Ready to exert serious pressure

    The tool is ready; the first prototypes are on their way. Soon, a specialized test bench at CNIM (France) will enter into service to verify the resistance of th [...]

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  • Internal auditor | A partner in identifying solutions

    ITER's new internal auditor Friedrich Lincke goes where his expertise is needed to make a difference. Armed with valuable experience from many years of service [...]

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  • Sub-assembly tools | A 12-tonne beam, a crane and a little push

    There is nothing remarkable about lifting a 12-tonne beam. Except when it happens in the spectacular setting of the ITER Assembly Hall, and the beam needs to be [...]

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  • Hiring | Skilled candidates wanted

    In 2018 the number of staff members employed by the ITER Organization increased to 858, as skilled and qualified candidates joined from each of the seven ITER M [...]

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  • Toroidal field coils | First ITER magnet arrives this year

    A major milepost is projected for 2019 as the first of ITER's powerful, high-field magnets is scheduled to arrive from Japan. Let's take a look behind the scene [...]

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Of Interest

See archived entries

10,000 tonnes of magnets to cool

In ITER, huge volumes of liquid helium will be circulated throughout a complex, five-kilometre network of pipes, pumps and valves to keep the 10,000-tonne magnet system at superconducting temperature. Helium will also be required to provide cooling power to the thermal shields—which reduce the large temperature gradient between the superconducting magnets and the Tokamak environment—and the cryopumps, which use extreme cold to achieve high vacuum in the plasma chamber.

The cryoplant area stretches over 8,000-square-metre zone not far from the Tokamak Building. Part of the area is given over to the storage of helium and nitrogen in liquid and gaseous forms; the rest (5,400 m²) is for the Cold Box and Compressor buildings that will be joined under a single roof. (Click to view larger version...)
The cryoplant area stretches over 8,000-square-metre zone not far from the Tokamak Building. Part of the area is given over to the storage of helium and nitrogen in liquid and gaseous forms; the rest (5,400 m²) is for the Cold Box and Compressor buildings that will be joined under a single roof.
As a consequence, the ITER cryoplant will be the largest in the world. Nearly 25 tonnes of liquid helium at minus 269 °C will circulate in the ITER installation during operation.

Helium however is not the only ultra-cold fluid that the cryoplant will produce. Liquid nitrogen, at a temperature of minus 196 °C, will be used as a "pre-cooler" in the liquid helium plants.

Nitrogen, which accounts for approximately 78 percent of the air we breathe, will be extracted directly from the atmosphere in an on-site gaseous nitrogen generator with a production capacity of 50 tonnes per day, and then processed in two large liquid nitrogen plants.

The complexity of the cooling processes, along with the flux rate required for the cooling of magnets, cryopumps and thermal shield, has dictated the size and design of the cryoplant.

Construction is underway now on the buildings and technical areas of the cryoplant.

The images below show recent progress on site. Access for the first installation activities is expected in June.


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