The consortium of RI Research Instruments and the French company ALSYOM received the contract for the manufacturing of the Torus and Cryostat Cryopumping System (TCCS) of ITER, the international fusion reactor under construction in Cadarache in the south of France. ITER is the world’s largest fusion experiment with 35 nations collaborating to build and operate a potential source of safe, non-carbon emitting and virtually limitless energy based on fusion reactions as they happen in the center of our sun. The extreme conditions in the reactor pose particular challenges to the materials used and to the supplying industry.
Fusion for Energy (F4E), in charge of providing Europe’s contribution to ITER, now contracted the consortium RI-ALSYOM with the manufacturing of a total of eight cryogenic pumps for the ITER torus and cryostat. The cryopumps have a diameter of 1.5 m and a length of 3 m each and are designed to create the ultra-high vacuum inside the vacuum vessel, the vast toroidal chamber of the ITER tokamak, which is imperative to initiating plasma operations.
Six torus cryopumps positioned around the vacuum vessel are to perfect the high vacuum inside the vacuum vessel prior to operation and to evacuate helium ash, unburnt fuel, and all exhaust gases during plasma shots. The other two cryopumps will be installed on the cryostat to provide the vacuum that thermally insulates the magnet system from the environment. Within the scope of another F4E contract, RI also designs and produces the cryogenic distribution system that will supply the ITER torus and the cryopumps with liquid helium.
RI Research Instruments and ALSYOM look back on a long-standing and trusting collaboration. As a consortium, both companies already gathered valuable experience during the production of a prototype cryogenic pump for ITER between 2012 and 2017, see picture above.