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Media Corner
13 January 2015

ITER’s Liquid Nitrogen Plant and Auxiliary Systems pass successfully the preliminary design review

The design review panel participants during their meeting in F4E, Barcelona.

Think of ITER’s cryoplant as a massive fridge that will produce and distribute the cooling power in the machine through different networks. The most advanced cryogenic technologies will be deployed to generate extremely low temperatures needed for the ITER magnets, thermal shields and cryopumps.

With respect to this system, F4E has to provide the Liquid Nitrogen Plant and Auxiliary Systems that will cool down, process, store, transfer and recover the cryogenic fluids of the machine. Two nitrogen refrigerators will be delivered along with two 80 K helium loop boxes, warm and cold helium storage tanks, dryers, heaters and the helium purification system. The high performance requirements are underpinned by high safety standards and a sophisticated operational system.

A preliminary design phase was completed in mid-2014. In order to comply with the rigorous technical specifications and fabrication, safety, quality and project management requirements, F4E has structured a design review process, for its share of components for the cryoplant, relying on two main entities: the design review steering committee and the design review panel. The former has the final technical say endorsing or amending the proposals submitted by the latter.

The two bodies bring together more than 13 highly qualified experts from F4E, ITER IO and external organisations, willing to share their knowledge and examine meticulously the technical details that will feed into the final specifications and lead towards the purchase of long lead items such as compressors, heat exchangers, turbines, tanks and cold circulators.

In October, the steering committee was communicated a very positive report on the basis of the observations of the design review panel which met in September. In a nutshell, the quality and the comprehensiveness of the studies performed by the F4E, ITER IO and Air Liquide team were fully praised. The system was deemed to be at a level of sufficient maturity to move to the next stage. In other words, this is a go-ahead for the final design of the system and the purchase of the heat exchangers, compressors, turbines and tanks which have to be ordered prior to the next design review.