Blasting, comfort, and the colour of champagne!
The united colours of ITER will eventually merge into champagne and orange.
On Tuesday lunchtime, the windows rattled, the office buildings trembled and coffee sloshed around in cups. We had been warned, however: blasting operations have recommenced on the ITER platform for a period of approximately two weeks to complete the excavation for the Hot Cell Facility.
The Hot Cell Facility will be contiguous to the Tokamak Complex. Its foundations—less profound than those of its immediate neighbour—nonetheless require final blasting to finish the contours before foundation work begins.
The contractor responsible for excavation and foundation works, GTM Construction, is erecting a tower crane at each of the four corners of the Tokamak Complex area prior to concrete pouring works which are scheduled to begin in May and last the rest of the year.
At the peak of construction activity on the platform some 20 of these tower cranes will be in action, spread over the different work sites. The four silos of the on-site concrete batching plant are ready for the continuous ballet of trucks that will soon be seen loading, delivering, returning to wait in line, loading, delivering...
The workers involved with this heavy construction activity will of course need access to "comfort" facilities including locker rooms and a space for lunch. The European Domestic Agency is currently installing a staircase leading directly down from the platform to the comfort zone, some 60 steps below. From 70 today, the number of workers will rise steeply within the next months.
Concrete pouring works in the Tokamak Complex area are scheduled to begin in May and last the rest of the year.
On the far side of the platform, the Poloidal Field Coils Winding Facility has taken on some of the colours of the ITER Member flags...but not for long. The red, green, blue and yellow metal sheets that can be seen on the south side of the building and that form part of the exterior cladding will soon be covered by sheets of another colour.
Five layers in all have been planned to isolate the poloidal field coil work space—where cleanliness is a priority—from the dust of the platform: an inner layer of sheeting containing small holes to absorb work area noise; insulation; and finally three layers of metal sheets sealed with tape for dust proofing.
Once completed, the Poloidal Field Coils Winding Facility will be champagne and orange coloured.
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