World’s biggest tokamak gets Gujarati heart

Times of India Paul John | TNN | Dec 24, 2015

AHMEDABAD: The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), which is the world’s biggest six -country scientific collaboration to generate nuclear fusion energy in Saint-PaulLez-Durance in France, now officially has a Gujarati heart.

The institute of plasma research (IPR) in Gandhinagar, which houses the ITERIndia team led by director Dhiraj Bora, has delivered before official deadline the first 12 segments of the massive cryostat of Tokamak fusion reactor, being set up in France. In all, India has committed 54 segments of the cryostat. The segments manufactured at Larsen & Toubro Ltd at its Hazira plant have reached France before schedule -a major milestone for India. Together, the cryostat segments will form Tier 1 of the base section -the largest, most complex steel vacuum chamber ever built by humans.

In southern France, apart from six major countries, 29 other nations are collaborating to build the world’s lar gest tokamak, a magnetic fusion device that has been designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy . The reactor intends to produce 500 megawatts of power from 50 megawatts input.

“We can celebrate a great accomplishment, one that is the fruit of remarkably integrated work and coordinated effort, as our first milestone,” said ITER director-general Bernard Bigot in a press release.

The cryostat, once complete, will weigh 3,850 tonnes and will act as a “thermos” to maintain the ultra-cold tem perature of the super-conducting magnets. It will also provide structural support and access to the vacuum vessel and magnet systems.The plasma temperature to be achieved in the reactor is of the order of 150 million degree Celsius. Today , most nuclear power stations use nuclear fission to produce heat while ITER will rely on nuclear fusion.

The cryostat, a vacuumtight container, which will be largely India’s contribution, will surround the main plasma chamber -where the fusion will occur -including its superconducting magnets.