L&T builds cryostat for USD 20 bn global fusion project

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Engineering and construction giant Larsen & Toubro on Tuesday said it has achieved a major milestone under ‘Make in India’ initiative by building a cryostat for USD 20 billion global fusion project.

The final assembly or top lid sectors of the cryostat, a key part of the world’s largest nuclear fusion reactor being built in France, were dispatched on Tuesday from the company’s Hazira manufacturing complex in Surat district in Gujarat.

Larsen & Toubro (L&T) in 2012 chosen by ITER-India to manufacture and install cryostat – a vacuum pressure vessel made of 3,850 tonnes of stainless steel.

L&T Group Chairman AM Naik termed it a “moment of pride for India and Larsen & Toubro”.

“The heavy engineering arm of L&T, India’s leading engineering, construction, technology, manufacturing and financial services conglomerate, has flagged-off the most complex and final assembly of cryostat, the largest stainless-steel, high-vacuum pressure chamber in the world.

“This is an important milestone in the global nuclear fusion arena as well as a moment of pride for the Make in India initiative,” the company said in a statement.

The cryostat assembly weighing 650 tonne is to be installed with other cryostat segments for ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) in a reactor pit in southern France.

L&T 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.

A virtual flag-off ceremony of the final assembly was held at the company’s Hazira manufacturing complex.

Dr Bernard Bigot, Director-General, ITER Global, KN Vyas, Chairman Atomic Energy Commission, India, UK Baruah, Project Director, ITER-India, V K Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog, A M Naik, Group Chairman L&T and SN Subrahmanyan, CEO & MD, L&T, joined the ceremony virtually.

Naik said: “It is a moment of pride for India and for L&T in particular – as we have gathered to flag-off the last section of the Cryostat Vessel for the most ambitious clean energy project limitless carbon-free energy that will power the future. L&T has always been proud of this global collaborative research to build a greener planet.”

Subrahmanyan the company has used innovative and digital manufacturing techniques to ensure uninterrupted supply of high-precision assemblies to ITER.

“This will further pave a way for the installation of cryostat at the project site in France and eventually lead to the demonstration of largescale feasibility of fusion power. It has empowered India to tread towards Atma Nirbhar Bharat by acquiring knowledge in this highly specialized field of science and technology, Subrahmanyan added.

Anil V Parab, Executive Vice President and Head, L&T Heavy Engineering told PTI that ITER is a USD 20 billion project and India is contributing 9 per cent of the project component.

“With the supply of the Top Lid sector, we have successfully completed our India scope of the project ahead of the schedule. The fabrication of these components has been an engineering marvel both in terms of its massive size and its stringent quality standards.

The project scope for L&T Heavy Engineering is divided into three aspects, the company said.

L&T’s Heavy Engineering business won this prestigious contract from ITER India, a wing of Department of Atomic Energy, for the ambitious mega scientific project, conducted in collaboration of seven elite countries, including India, and with a project outlay of around USD 20 billion.

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