Fourteen port plugs at the equatorial level and 16 at the upper level will host diagnostics, elements of the ion and electron cyclotron heating systems, and test blanket modules. These 30 plugs—designed to be removed for maintenance—are subject to stringent availability targets. To meet these objectives, ITER engineers plan to test the port plugs before installation on the machine and after any refurbishment during the operational phase.
A port plug test stand is a complete system, with heating, vacuum, and handling and control capacities organized around a central test tank. Russian contractor GKMP is ready to manufacture the first tank after successfully completing a manufacturing readiness review.
To run the tests, the port plugs will be installed in a test tank—a 40 m³ vacuum chamber that will emulate the vacuum conditions of the ITER Tokamak. The heating system used to cycle the temperature consists of a loop circulating water inside the port plug and around the test tank at 40 atmospheres of pressure to heat and cool the plug across the test range temperatures.
Massive port plugs weighing up to 48 tonnes will seal off the openings to the ITER vacuum chamber while hosting important equipment like diagnostics, elements of the ion and electron cyclotron heating systems, and test blanket modules. The capacity to test these plugs—both before installation and after maintenance—is critical to ensuring that they will work as planned.