Vacuum vessel

Print edition : November 02, 2012

The cryostat with a large number of openings.-

INDIA'S Larson & Toubro (L&T) has been awarded a contract to supply the massive cryostat that will form the vacuum-tight container surrounding the vacuum vessel and the superconducting magnets in the international nuclear fusion project ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor). The cryostat, measuring almost 30 metres in diameter and 29 m in height and weighing a colossal 3,800 tonnes, will essentially act as a very large refrigerator, the ITER organisation said. It will be made of stainless steel with 50mm-250mm thickness. It will be the largest vacuum vessel ever made of stainless steel. The cryostat will have several openings allowing internal access for maintenance. Large bellows will be located between the cryostat and the vacuum vessel to allow for thermal contraction and expansion in the structures.

Under the contract, L&T will manufacture the massive component at its Hazira plant near Surat in Gujarat. It will be shipped to the ITER site in Cadarache, southern France, in 54 modules. These modules will then be pre-assembled in a temporary workshop on the site before being transported to the tokamak pit, where they will be welded together. Osamu Motojima, ITER director-general, commented, The cryostat is an essential part of the ITER machine. The ITER project, a collaboration between the European Union, Russia, India, China, Japan, Korea and the United States, aims to demonstrate that it is possible to produce energy from fusion. The first equipment for the ITER reactor is due to be delivered to the Cadarache site in 2014.

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