Let’s pump that gas from the ITER tokamak

(L-R) J. Schwemmer, F4E Director, and B.Bigot, ITER Organization Director-General, sealing the agreement for the cryopump systems.

When ITER is operational the gases resulting from the fusion reaction will be pumped with the help of six cryopumps from the lower part of the torus to the roughing system, and two from the cryostat of the machine. The cryopumps, which measure 3.4 x 1.8 m and weigh about 7.8 t will be identical for both systems. In essence, they will pump gases by absorption on charcoal coated cryopanels at 4.5 K and subsequently will treat them in a closed circuit as part of the fuel cycle.

Following the successful manufacturing of the first cryopump, a final design review of the equipment took place in March 2018. In parallel, F4E launched a market survey inviting Europe’s industry to declare its expertise and express its interest in the manufacturing of the components. Today engineers are ready to go ahead with the production of the eight cryopumps. A call for tender will be launched soon and the equipment is expected to be ready by 2023.

Francina Canadell Navarro, F4E Technical Officer following this contract, explains that “one of the most challenging aspects we will face is timing because our schedule is very tight. On the other hand, the production of the cryopumps offers a great learning opportunity to those working in the field of cryogenics to become familiar with the strict set of rules applying to a nuclear environment, with which ITER needs to comply. Last but not least, due to the multiple technologies required for the fabrication of the cryopumps, such as hydroforming, charcoal coating, etc., there is scope for collaboration between many companies.”

Cutaway drawing of the Torus Cryopump CATIA model prepared by ITER Organization with the main components.

A Procurement Agreement (PA) has been signed between F4E and ITER Organization (IO), according to which Europe will have to deliver six cryopumps for the torus of the ITER device, two for the cryostat, and their respective auxiliary systems. The PA foresees a number of tasks for both parties, among which, Europe with its suppliers will have to manufacture the equipment, and IO will then take care of the installation, testing and commissioning.

For more information on F4E tenders click here.

Members of staff from ITER IO and F4E at the signature of the Procurement Agreement for the cyopump systems. From left to right: S. Willms, A. Teissier, J. Schwemmer, R. Pearce, M. Dremel, B. Bigot, G. Wolfers, R. Salemme, S. Orlandi.