India which is one of the partner countries that is building an experimental fusion reactor at Cadarache in France —- to prove the feasibility of nuclear fusion as future source of energy —- has competed 50 per cent of the work assigned, said Ujjwal Baruah, project director of ITER-India, headquartered at Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
Earlier this week, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Heavy Engineering flagged off the top lid of the cryostat, which is the largest vessel of its kind to be built in the world, with 4,000 tonnes of stainless steel. This lid built at Hazira in Surat will be installed with other cryostat segments in a reactor pit in Southern France.
The company has already shipped the base, upper cylinder and lower cylinder for the cryostat, which is a cylindrical vessel 30 metre high and 30 metre in diameter and will act has a huge refrigerator and provide cooling to the fusion reactor that will attempt to harness the energy produced by fusion of atoms.
“The main machine of the reactor will be housed inside a shell made by L&T. This shell will not only maintain the vacuum but will also keep it cool. This will help the production of plasma and help future fusion experiments,” Baruah told The Indian Express.
India which formally joined the ITER project in 2005, is responsible for delivery of cryostat, in-wall shielding, cooling water system, cryogenic system, heating systems, Diagnostic Neutral Beam System, power supplies and some diagnostics.
When asked about the status of work on the equipment that India has to contribute towards the project, Baruah said, “As of now we can say, India has delivered 50 per cent of its contribution to the project. The remaining things are scientific equipment which will be put into the machine for heating or diagnostic. The work of these will begin now.” He said work on the in-wall shielding system and the cooling water system is almost complete and will be shipped later this year.
He said though a group of scientists from Institute of Plasma Research (IPR) was steering the ITER programme, the final production was being done by the industry. Apart from L&T about 200 companies are directly or indirectly involved with the production of parts of ITER. About 107 Indian scientists including those from IPR were also working on this project.
Apart from India, countries of European Union, United States, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea have pooled in their financial and scientific resources to built the biggest fusion reactor in history.