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 months ago on 11 October.
At first view nothing stands out as being dramatically different. But on closer inspection, most everything has changed.
In the Tokamak Complex to the left, the bioshield has come full circle, at least visually. Only 30 percent of the last level (L4) remains to be poured, and this work should be completed in the coming weeks.
Just outside of the bioshield, in the area of the Tokamak Building that will host neutral beam injection equipment, many new columns are in place. These strong pillars will support the next-level floor slab (L3).
Running vertically down the centre of the photograph, columns and formwork are in place for what will be the roof (L4) of the Diagnostics Building.
As for the plant buildings on the right, the changes are mostly taking place on the inside with the installation of equipment and services. In the months to come, however, we can expect to see the first large tanks going up along the cryoplant (second building from the top)—11 will be installed in all.
More details in the photo gallery below.
One kilometre of construction
All of the ITER plant buildings are located on the level 42-hectare construction platform, which is one kilometre in length. In the early years of the construction project, deep galleries were created under the surface of the platform for storm water, run-off water, and technical services like electricity and water. Most of these galleries have now disappeared from view, but their role will be critical during ITER operation.
A Colosseum ... a rotunda ... an amphitheatre
After close to two and a half years of covering the construction of the ITER bioshield, we are running short of comparisons. So let's write with sobriety that as of this month, the bioshield is nearly finished, with only 30 percent of the last level (L4) remaining to be poured. Upon completion, the scaffolding will be removed and the entire structure will be fully exposed for the first time.
Benchmarks for positioning the cryostat
When the last level of the bioshield has been finalized, the temporary "lid" that is currently positioned at mid-height will be raised to the top to act as a roof. (A recess in the concrete shows where the lid will rest.) This will provide access to the entire volume of the Tokamak Pit for machine assembly activities and enable workers to install a certain number of benchmarks ("topographic benchmarks") that will be essential to the precise positioning of the four sections of the cryostat.
The northern half
Looking north from one of the five cranes serving Tokamak Complex construction, the photographer is able to capture activity on the northern part of the worksite, including construction of the heat rejection zone (top centre). The Control Building will be situated in the top left of the platform, accessible from ITER Headquarters.
Waiting for the tanks
In front of the cryoplant (second building from the top) what looks like a theatre marquee, ready to shelter chauffeured limousines, is in fact a concrete platform that will support a 190,000-litre liquid helium tank—one of the 11 tanks that will be installed, either vertically or horizontally, along the building. Early in February, the first of eleven helium and nitrogen tanks of various sizes and capacities, some vertical some horizontal, will be installed outside the building. Most of them will be anchored to the circular structures that are visible at the right end of the building. Civil works are now finalized in the twin power conversion buildings that stand parallel to the cryoplant (only one is visible in full on this image). The buildings will accommodate the converter units, busbars and control system that convert the AC current from the grid into DC current to be fed to the magnet system.
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