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News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • Tokamak cooling system | Final design achieved

    To remove the heat from the components closest to the plasma, the tokamak cooling water system will rely on over 36 kilometres of nuclear-grade piping and fitti [...]

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  • Worksite progress | Spot the differences

    Let's play the "spot the differences" game between these two general views of the ITER site, one taken last Thursday 18 January, the other three month [...]

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  • Inventions | Where have all the neutrons gone?

    It is not unusual in the course of a work day at the world's largest scientific experiment to rely on creativity to resolve the challenge at hand. But less comm [...]

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  • Neutral beam test facility | Europe delivers first-of-a-kind equipment

    Tullio Bonicelli, in charge of Europe's contributions to the ITER neutral beam heating system, calls them "beyond state-of-the-art components." The hi [...]

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  • Vacuum vessel | First segment completed in Korea

    The technically challenging fabrication of the ITER vacuum vessel is progressing in Korea, where Hyundai Heavy Industries has completed the first poloidal segme [...]

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Of Interest

See archived articles

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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