With their protective coverings removed, the 18 cryostat support bearings that dot the crown like jewels are clearly visible.
The circular shape at the very centre of the pit is a set of deeply embedded plates designed to anchor the central column of the in-pit assembly tool
. This tool will support, align, and stabilize the vacuum vessel sub-assemblies as they are progressively joined and welded.
The cryostat support bearings will act as ball-and-socket joints to allow the smooth transfer of the tremendous forces that will be exerted on the machine in all types of situations.
By mid-week, the Tokamak pit will be perfectly clean and ready to receive the 1,250-tonne cryostat base, an operation both delicate and spectacular that will open a new chapter in the history of ITER.