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Media Corner
20 December 2016

Work has started for the Cryoplant of ITER’s Neutral Beam Test Facility

Neutral Beam Test Facility, Padua, Italy

To raise the temperature of ITER’s super-hot plasma to 150 million ˚ C, ten times the temperatures at the core of the sun, we would need powerful heating systems. To fulfill this task, high-energy beams will be used to push together the nuclei and to trigger off a fusion reaction. ITER will use two Neutral Beam Injectors which are foreseen to deliver up to 16.5 MW.

To develop and test the powerful heating systems a test facility has been set up in Padua, Italy. The Megavolt ITER Injector and Concept Advancement , otherwise known as the MITICA, is part of ITER’s Neutral Beam Test Facility, which receives contributions from F4E, ITER International Organization, India’s and Japan’s ITER Domestic Agencies, and Italy’s Consorzio RFX, the host of the infrastructure where the tests will be carried out.

A cryogenic system will be needed for the operation of MITICA’s high-energy beams in order to ensure the necessary vacuum during its operation. For this reason, F4E has signed a contract with Air Liquide for the design and manufacturing of a cryoplant. The overall budget of the contract is in the range of 6 million EUR and the plant is expected to be ready by April 2019.

In spite of the fact that the plant is classified as conventional, the auxiliary system can be described as sophisticated because it will have to cope with a range of operational modes. The cryoplant will supply helium at - 269 ˚ C and - 196 ˚ C so that the cryopumps absorb all gas coming from the high-energy beams. Periodically, however, warmer gas of 127 ˚C will be supplied in the pumps to extract any gas stored.

The first meeting for the cryoplant, between F4E and Air Liquide, took place in October and the preliminary design review is expected to kick off in March 2017.

Illustration of the MITICA Cryoplant

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