L&T installs Cryostat base in world’s largest N-fusion project


Indian engineering multinational Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T) on Tuesday said the 1,250 ton Cryostat base, the largest section of the world’s largest nuclear fusion reactor, was successfully lifted and placed into a reactor building in France.

According to L&T, the Cryostat base was made by its heavy engineering arm L&T Heavy Engineering.

The assembly tools of Cryostat were delivered during the lockdown by the heavy engineering arm of Larsen & Toubro to ensure the uninterrupted assembly of Cryostat in the reactor pit in southern France.

The Cryostat forms the vacuum-tight container surrounding the reactor vacuum vessel and the superconducting magnets and acts essentially as a very large refrigerator.

The reactor base, the single largest and heaviest Tokamak component of the world’s largest stainless steel, high-vacuum, pressure chamber Cryostat, will eventually contain the rest of the reactor.

“We thank L&T for the timely deliveries, in the current difficult circumstances, of the Cryostat base alignment tool and shims which are critical to install Cryostat base, as brilliantly manufactured by L&T since 2015,” Bernard Bigot, Director-General, International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), was quoted as saying in the statement.

“This installation into the ITER Tokamak building is a significant activity for other downstream activities to achieve the mission for a First Plasma as soon as possible by the end of 2025. This could have been possible, amidst COVID-19 lockdown period, only due to the extraordinary dedicated efforts of L&T team and invaluable support of the Indian government authorities. L&T has always been a trusted partner in meeting the goals of ITER,” he added.

L&T also delivered the Lower Cylinder of the Cryostat in March 2019 and the Upper Cylinder in March 2020.

The final part, the Top Lid Sectors, will be dispatched from Hazira in July 2020.

The project scope for L&T Heavy Engineering is divided into three parts: Firstly manufacturing and shipping of all subassembly sections from L&T Hazira, Gujarat, then constructing a temporary workshop at the project site in France for assembling the Cryostat sections into large assemblies and lastly to integrate the Cryostat inside the Tokamak Reactor building.

“ITER is a first of its kind futuristic global project. The Cryostat is the largest vacuum vessel ever built with 29.4 meters in diameter, 29 meters in height weighing 3,850 MT. Successful delivery of such complex projects is ingrained in L&T’s culture,” Anil V Parab, Executive Vice President and Head, L&T Heavy Engineering said.

L&T’s Heavy Engineering business won the contract in 2012. ITER India, a wing of the Department of Atomic Energy, is the overall in-charge of the Indian participation for this ambitious mega scientific project.

India is among the seven elite countries funding the $20 billion International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) programme in Cadarache, France.

This is one of the world’s largest research projects that seeks to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power.