After a journey of more than 500km by road and inland waterways, the exceptional convoy carrying 3 helium cold boxes designed by Air Liquide has just reached the ITER site in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, France, its final destination.
On November 14, the cold boxes left the Air Liquide workshops in Sassenage, France. After several stages, they finally arrived at the construction site of the international experimental fusion reactor ITER. From design to manufacturing, more than a 100 people over 4 years have worked on the project.
More than 3,000 of 5,400 m² are will be occupied by the ITER liquid helium plant. The plant is composed of three compressor stations and three cold boxes. Each cold box measures 21 meters in length and 4.2 meters in diameter and weighs 135 metric tons. The three helium refrigerators will provide a total average cooling capacity of 75 kW at 4.5 K (-269 °C), which translates into a maximum liquefaction rate of 12,300 liters per hour.
In connection with the ITER program, Air Liquide is also supplying the nitrogen refrigerators and cryolines. Together with the helium refrigerators, they will constitute one of the largest centralized helium cryogenic plants in the world. This plant will be used to cool the Tokamak’s superconducting magnets that create the magnetic fields that are indispensable for the confinement of the fusion plasmas.