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L&T flags off final assembly of cryostat for $20-billion fusion reactor

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

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | Published: July 1, 2020 2:36:51 am
L&T non-executive chairman AM Naik said he was “apprehensive” of bidding for the cryostat contract. (File)

The heavy engineering arm of Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Tuesday flagged off the final assembly of a cryostat, the largest stainless-steel, high-vacuum pressure chamber to Cadarache in France. The company has already delivered the base section, lower cylinder and 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 Heavy Engineering 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 project’s importance, Anil V Parab, executive vice-president & head, L&T Heavy Engineering, said this is the first time a 500-megawatt reactor has been built which is the commercial demonstration of fusion power.

L&T non-executive chairman AM Naik on Tuesday was quoted by PTI as saying he was “apprehensive” of bidding for the Rs 1,338-crore ITER’s cryostat contract for the world’s largest experimental thermo-nuclear fusion reactor in Cadarache as it was considered as “too risky” a bet.

“L&T’s management bandwidth and teams executing such an enormous project and that too far from India … this we have never done nor had done before. Hence the project was perceived to be too risky,” Naik said during the virtual flag-off ceremony of the final assembly at L&T’s Hazira manufacturing complex. However, Naik called it “moment of pride for India and Larsen & Toubro”.

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

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