Subscribe options

Select your newsletters:

Please enter your email address:

@

News & Media

Latest ITER Newsline

  • In-vessel electrical systems | What it takes to wire up a fusion reactor

    While the challenges of keeping cables operational in harsh environments such as jet engines and nuclear fission reactors have been understood for a long time, [...]

    Read more

  • Assembly preparation | Off goes the lid

    In the summer of 2017, a circular platform was installed inside of the large steel-and-concrete cylinder of the Tokamak pit. The 200-tonne structure was meant t [...]

    Read more

  • Deliveries | Two coils on their way

    For the past five years, 'highly exceptional loads' (HEL) have been successfully travelling along the ITER Itinerary to be delivered to the ITER site. As the pr [...]

    Read more

  • ITER NOW video | Ready for the big lifts

    This new video in our "ITER NOW" series provides an insider's view of the recent load tests performed as the ITER Organization prepares for the machin [...]

    Read more

  • Divertor | Far more than a fancy ashtray

    It has been likened to the filter of a swimming pool or an oversized ashtray. It has been called alien in shape and hellish in its affinity for heat. But whatev [...]

    Read more

Of Interest

See archived entries

Assembly preparation

The ballet of the Titans

R.A.

The stage is ready, some of the props are already in place, and the show will soon begin. It will be a grand production served by an international cast of highly skilled performers. The central theme? Twin Titans, in the form of giant tools dancing a mechanical ballet to contribute to the assembly of one of the most complex machines ever conceived.

The rafters of the Assembly Hall are the catwalk of this oversized theatre. They offer a breathtaking view of the ongoing work on the stage floor some 45 metres below. (Click to view larger version...)
The rafters of the Assembly Hall are the catwalk of this oversized theatre. They offer a breathtaking view of the ongoing work on the stage floor some 45 metres below.
The rafters of the Assembly Hall are the catwalk of this oversized theatre. They offer a breathtaking view of the ongoing work on the stage floor some 45 metres below.

To the right side of the 6,000-square-metre open space, technicians are busy preparing for the Titans' arrival, bolting semi-circular rail tracks to steel plates anchored deep into the floor, adjusting torque, and verifying alignment with laser optics.

The Twin Titans, SSAT-1 and SSAT-2 (for vacuum vessel Sector Sub-Assembly Tool), will travel along these tracks, opening and closing their arms to bring together and pre-assemble a vacuum vessel sector with a pair of toroidal field coils plus thermal shielding—for a total mass of 1,200 tonnes. The operation will be repeated nine times, once for each of the nine vacuum vessel sectors.

The Titans will operate in close cooperation with another giant tool—the double overhead crane that will deliver the sub-components to be assembled and, when completed, will carry each sub-assembly to the Tokamak well.

The Titans will operate in close cooperation with another giant tool—the double overhead gantry crane whose lifting capacity exceeds 1,500 tonnes. (Click to view larger version...)
The Titans will operate in close cooperation with another giant tool—the double overhead gantry crane whose lifting capacity exceeds 1,500 tonnes.
Load tests for the 1,500-tonne overhead crane will begin next week. But the dummy loads are already in place, stacked in the centre of the stage ... approximately 40 steel-and-concrete blocks that will stand in the place, for the time of the trials, of ITER's massive components.

Several tests will be performed: a static test at nominal capacity, followed by a dynamic test at 10 percent over-capacity (reproducing all of the operational movements of the crane) and a final test at 25 percent over-capacity to verify that the flexion of the 43-metre-long girders remains within specifications.

The actual production on stage will open in a little more than a year. It is expected to be one of the most spectacular in the history of science and industry.


return to the latest published articles