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Of Interest

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Cryostat completion

An exceptional, yearslong industrial adventure

It's a long way from Hazira, on the northwestern coast of India, to the ITER construction site in southern France. And it's also a long way from the first segment of the cryostat delivered in December 2015 to the completion of the massive component in mid-March 2022. On Thursday last week, against the backdrop of the finalized top lid now wrapped in plastic and almost ready to go into storage, the ITER community celebrated this unique industrial and technological achievement.

However impressive the figures, the finalization of the ITER cryostat was, first and foremost, the product of a convergence of competencies, creativity and dedication. ''The ITER one-team spirit eventually absorbed all the complexities of the project.'' said ITER Construction Domain Youngeek Jung. (Click to view larger version...)
However impressive the figures, the finalization of the ITER cryostat was, first and foremost, the product of a convergence of competencies, creativity and dedication. ''The ITER one-team spirit eventually absorbed all the complexities of the project.'' said ITER Construction Domain Youngeek Jung.
Gathered in the Cryostat Workshop on site or present virtually through a video connection with India, the designers, manufacturers, machining experts, metrology specialists and welders involved in the realization of the ITER cryostat bore testimony to the magnitude and complexity of the international venture. Designed by ITER, manufactured by Larsen & Toubro in India under a contract from ITER India, assembled and welded by the German company MAN Energy Solutions in a dedicated facility built by India on the ITER site ... the fabrication of the 3,800-tonne cryostat was, in the view of head of the ITER Construction Domain Youngeek Jung, "a long march" that began in 2012 when the ITER Organization and ITER India signed the Procurement Arrangement containing all technical specifications.

THEY SAID...

Youngeek Jung, Head of the ITER Construction Domain"Today we are celebrating an important milestone in the ITER Project: the completion of the ITER cryostat. The last welds have now been performed. The top lid you see towering behind me—all wrapped up—is now prepared and waiting for its turn. When it next appears, it will be the final closing piece of the largest fusion machine humans have ever dared to build."

Ravi Bhushan Grover, India Atomic Energy Commission — "Larsen & Toubro (L&T) has demonstrated once again its competence in managing large and complex projects. This realization is a continuous reminder of the work and contribution of India to the ITER Project."

Ujjwal Baruah, Head of the Indian Domestic Agency"With today's delivery, our journey of over 10 years has crossed another gateway: all cryostat parts are now delivered and we are preparing for final assembly in the Tokamak pit. [...] We achieved the highest level of safety during manufacturing with, remarkably, zero incidents."

Anil Parab (Senior Vice President & IC Head - L&T Heavy Engineering)"Today is indeed a memorable day for the ITER Project and the global energy industry. It is a moment of pride for India and for L&T in particular. [...] L&T has always been proud to be associated with this global collaborative research project to build a greener planet. L&T maintained impeccable quality standards throughout and delivered ahead of project schedule despite unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic challenges."

The ITER cryostat is a 16,000-cubic-metre vacuum chamber that completely encloses the ITER machine and acts as a thermos, insulating the ultra-cold superconducting magnets from the outside environment. The four sections of the cryostat—the base, lower cylinder, upper cylinder and top lid—were successively assembled and welded from 54 independent segments, each weighing an average of 50 tonnes. The base and lower cylinder have already been lowered into place inside the Tokamak assembly pit; the upper cylinder, carefully cocooned for protection, was moved outside the Cryostat Workshop two years ago. The 665-tonne top lid will be moved into storage in October.

One of the biggest challenges in creating this "world wonder," in the words of Norbert Anger, head of site for MAN Energy Solutions, was to ensure the quality of the approximately 50 kilometres of weld lines. During the carefully controlled welding process (partly automatized, partly manual), 17 tonnes of metal filler were used, amounting to close to 1,500 kilometres of welding wire.

However impressive the figures, the finalization of the ITER cryostat was, first and foremost, the product of a convergence of competencies, creativity and dedication. "The ITER one-team spirit eventually absorbed all the complexities of the project," said Jung.

As remote participants from India look on, representatives of the ITER Organization, Larsen & Toubro Ltd, the Indian Embassy in Paris and MAN Energy Solutions are honoured with the first tree to be planted in the new butterfly garden at ITER Headquarters. (Click to view larger version...)
As remote participants from India look on, representatives of the ITER Organization, Larsen & Toubro Ltd, the Indian Embassy in Paris and MAN Energy Solutions are honoured with the first tree to be planted in the new butterfly garden at ITER Headquarters.
For more than six years, the Cryostat Workshop pulsed with music, crane sirens, the clanging of metal on metal, and the chatter of English, Hindi, Gujarati, German and French voices. It is now almost silent, but will not remain so for long; soon, the vast football-field-size space (50 x 100 m) will accommodate new ITER assembly activities. In ITER memory, though, it will always be the place where the cryostat took shape in an exceptional, yearslong industrial adventure—a first-of-a-kind giant component for a first-of-a-kind giant machine.

Click here to view a video of segment delivery and the assembly and welding of the ITER cryostat.

THEY SAID...

Praveen Bhatt (General Manager & Head Nuclear Business - L&T Heavy Engineering) — "L&T has always demonstrated its core strengths in the successful completion of 'first-of-a-kind' new technology development projects and the ITER cryostat is one of them. We learned and grew at every single stage, from engineering to the final assembly of sections in the Tokamak pit. To ensure 'first time right' manufacturing, we extensively developed prototypes prior to start of manufacture, used laser optics for measurements and virtual assemblies. Fixtures were designed and optimized through finite element analysis. We developed large size machine capability, distortion prediction and control."

Norbert Anger (Head of Site, MAN Energy Solutions SE) — "This celebration is the result of excellent international cooperation. Thank you to all the engineers and designers—at ITER Organization, ITER India, L&T, and MAN—for their ideas, their excellent design work, and the endless long working hours they have spent here on site. And thank you to the specialists in the workshop at L&T for their forming, fitting, welding, machining and trial assembly work, and the MAN fitters, welders, and machining experts for their high quality work. All that with a strong eye to safety; we had no accident here on site."

Anil Kumar Bhardwaj (Project Manager, Cryostat & VVPSS Group, ITER India, Institute for Plasma Research) — "In addition to the technical challenges already mentioned, I would like to add the challenge of freezing the interface design of the cryostat. The cryostat interfaces with all ITER systems. To finalize the interface design of the cryostat, when the other systems were in different stages of maturity, was challenging; in 2015, we encountered more than 20 manufacturing holds due to the design of interfaces alone. The cryostat team worked in a phased manner to release these holds without impacting the manufacturing schedule."



 



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