Thermonuclear experimental reactor: L&T delivers world’s largest vacuum vessel

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Published: July 1, 2020 5:20 AM

The cryostat’s function is to provide cooling to the fusion reactor and to keep very high temperatures at its core under control.

L&T’s heavy engineering business won the contract from ITER India, a wing of the Department of Atomic Energy, for the scientific project in 2012.L&T’s heavy engineering business won the contract from ITER India, a wing of the Department of Atomic Energy, for the scientific project in 2012.

The heavy engineering arm of Larsen & Toubro (L&T) on Tuesday flagged off the final assembly of a cryostat, the largest stainless-steel, high-vacuum pressure chamber to Cadarache in France.

Larsen & Toubro has already delivered the base section, the lower cylinder and the upper cylinder for the cryostat.

The cryostat’s function is to provide cooling to the fusion reactor and to keep very high temperatures at its core under control.

L&T’s heavy engineering business won the contract from ITER India, a wing of the Department of Atomic Energy, for the scientific project in 2012. It was conducted in collaboration with seven countries including India and the project outlay is around $20 billion. L&T’s scope of work for the cryostat was to the tune of Rs 1,300 crore.

Explaining the importance of the project, Anil V Parab, executive vice-president and head, L&T Heavy Engineering, told FE that this is for the first time that a 500-megawatt reactor has been built which is the commercial demonstration of fusion power.

Parab said given the sheer size of the project, it was complex. “The cryostat that we are making will be the largest vacuum vessel built ever in the world. It is a very complex project. So ensuring that we got all the quality standards and the tolerances with the required specifications right is a big feat for L&T”.

In terms of the challenges, Parab said adapting to various international standards was an important challenge. “It could not be transported in one piece. It is going in 50 models, which are being assembled into four major assemblies at a workshop that we have set up at Cadarache, France. We have been there in France for almost four years to do this work. Knowing the French labour laws, environmental safety standards were some of the other challenges”.

SN Subrahmanyan, CEO & MD, L&T, said, “This will further pave a way for the installation of cryostat at the project site in France and eventually lead to the demonstration of large scale feasibility of fusion power.”

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