It is official: the massive ITER quench tanks have been safely delivered on-site and are hard to miss. The impressive components, manufactured by Air Liquide and their subcontractor Chart Ferox, are 35 m long and have a diameter of 4.5 m. They weigh approximately 160 tonnes each, which is the weight of a blue whale, our planet’s heaviest mammal.
After four nights en route, the exceptional convoy of 140 m drove them from the port to “home”. The transport overviewed by DAHER, responsible for the global logistics of the ITER project, was successfully concluded in the early hours of 24 November. Representatives of F4E together and ITER International Organization were there to welcome the components on-site.
Their delivery marks an important milestone for the F4E colleagues who have been directly responsible for these components, working closely with ITER International Organization. After four years of solid work put to the drafting of specifications, one year to conclude the contractual negotiations, two years of design, a bit less than a year for manufacturing, we have a very visible result of F4E’s contribution to the Liquid Nitrogen Plant and Auxiliary Systems.
The two pieces of equipment are extremely important to ITER’s cryogenic system. The machine will use powerful superconducting magnets to entrap the hot plasma which is expected to reach 150 million ˚C. In order to achieve this, cold helium will circulate inside the magnets to bring their temperature down to -269 ˚C. However, from time to time, the magnets might experience a so-called quench. Basically, they will stop being superconductive, start becoming resistant and their temperature will start rising rapidly. As the temperature rises, the helium circulating through the cryogenic system will start to expand and will need to be extracted from the machine. When this phenomenon occurs the gas will be directed to these tanks, where it will be stored at -196 ˚C.
To read more about the contract signed between F4E and Air Liquide click here.