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ITER Project ~70% Complete for First Plasma; Now Preparing for Machine Assembly

Vacuum vessel sector in ITER assembly hall, October 2020

The ITER Project is approximately 70% complete for First Plasma. A celebration of the start of machine assembly was held July 27, 2020.  Photo: ITER Organization

July 28, 2020

The international ITER project held a virtual celebration to mark the start of machine assembly on July 28, 2020. President Macron of France will serve as the event's host, and government officials from all ITER partners will share messages during the celebration. The event was livestreamed and can also be viewed anytime at the same link.

The first major assembly activities for the ITER tokamak involve joining vacuum vessel components, produced by Korea, Europe, Russia, and India, with their corresponding toroidal field magnet coils, produced by China, Europe, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States.  The firsts sector is expected to be assembled and installed by the end of the calendar year.

Cryostat base installed in pit
The first piece of the ITER Tokamak--the soup-dish-shaped base of the cryostat (1,250 tonnes)--was lowered into the Tokamak pit on 26 May. It fit perfectly. Photo: ITER Organization/EJF Riche


On Tuesday May 26, 2020, the soup-bowl-shaped base of the ITER cryostat was gradually lifted from its frame, carried across the Assembly Hall to the Tokamak Building and eventually lowered into the Tokamak assembly pit. In a delicate lifting operation, the cryostat base descended into the deep concrete cylinder of the tokamak pit,  to be positioned within millimeter accuracy into its support system.

At the start of the operation, ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot had stressed the unique importance of the moment and expressed his confidence in the operation's success. "The coming moments will stand out in the minds and memories of us all," he said. "What you will accomplish today, as a team, is something that has never been done before in history—and although you have rehearsed it many times, it will be a first-of-a-kind operation. We trust the engineering calculations, strategy and control. We trust the materials science. We trust the metrology. But my confidence today is because I trust you to work as one committed and highly professional team, convinced as we all are that failure is not an option."

The achievement marked the culmination of a ten-year effort to design, manufacture, deliver, assemble and weld one of the most crucial components of the ITER machine—the 30-meter-high, 30-meter-in-diameter ITER cryostat (of which the base is only one part)—which will act as a thermos, insulating the magnetic system at cryogenic temperature from the outside environment.

Procured by India, manufactured in segments by Larsen & Toubro Ltd at its Hazira factory, the cryostat is assembled and welded on site under the supervision of the Indian Domestic Agency. 


Source: ITER Organization

Last Updated: October 27, 2020 - 11:48 am