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  • Thermal shield repair | Where are we at?

    Fitting the vacuum vessel sectors like a jacket, lining the inner wall of the cryostat, or covering the sides of vertical coil gravity supports, ITER's thermal [...]

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  • Assembly prep | Reviewing plans for in-vessel installation

    A thorough review of all 'in-vessel' assembly scope was organized by the ITER Machine Assembly Program in early February, with the active participation of senio [...]

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  • Image of the week | Last measurements before campaign

    In order to precisely identify the bevel regions that need to be rectified, metrologists from the SIMANN (SIMIC-Ansaldo) consortium are performing ultra-precise [...]

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  • Neutral Beam Test Facility | After upgrades, SPIDER testbed set to restart

    After a two-year shutdown for upgrades, the SPIDER testbed at the ITER Neutral Beam Test Facility in Padua, Italy, is preparing for commissioning and operation. [...]

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  • ITER Research Plan | Jointly preparing a new blueprint

    As part of work underway to update the ITER Project Baseline, a group of experts nominated by the Members met in February to evaluate the new blueprint for achi [...]

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Of Interest

See archived entries

Inside the pit

From dizzying volume to cramped environment

There was a time when the assembly pit felt like a huge arena, with toy-like tools scattered on the floor and workers reduced to Playmobil-size figures. Progressively, over the past year, the perception has changed dramatically. As successive components are installed, the place seems to be shrinking—a dizzying volume turning into a cramped environment.

At ITER, you can hardly blink before the scene in the Tokamak pit changes. This photo from 13 April 2021 will be supplanted as soon as poloidal field coil #6 is installed. (Click to download the image.) (Click to view larger version...)
At ITER, you can hardly blink before the scene in the Tokamak pit changes. This photo from 13 April 2021 will be supplanted as soon as poloidal field coil #6 is installed. (Click to download the image.)
In a spectacular operation, the 1,250-tonne cryostat base was first to enter the pit in May 2020. Resting on a set of 18 chrome-plated spherical bearings anchored in the massive concrete crown, the soup-dish-shaped component reduced the visible diameter of the pit by more than one metre but without altering the feeling of space. The pit still felt big and empty.

The installation of the lower cylinder, the following August, and of the silver-plated lower cryostat thermal shield in January of 2021, also did not change this perception.

Beginning in February, when the first gravity supports for the 18 toroidal field coils were installed on the base pedestal and the temporary supports for poloidal field coil #6 (PF6) were arranged in a circle in the centre of the pit, the place began to feel small and crowded.

And when the bottom cylinder of the central column (the first segment of a 20-metre-tall assembly tool) was lowered into the pit on 27 March, it was as if the vast arena had shrunk to the dimensions of a small outdoor swimming pool—with room for a very limited number of swimmers.

The present view, as reflected in this image, will soon be a thing of the past as PF6 (10 metres in diameter) is inserted this week. Enjoy it while it lasts ...



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