Design and construction management for a cryogenic plant on ITER site

Context and challenges

ITER represents a large energy project. This project is aiming at developing the largest experimental fusion reactor that has ever been built, in order to offer an inexhaustible, safe, and environmentally friendly source of energy. ITER is a unique global collaboration involving a European Union Joint Undertaking, which bears half the cost of the project, and six non-European countries: the United States, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia. The project requires unprecedented engineering services.

Within this major site, the largest helium and nitrogen production plant in the world is being built

The cryogenic plant will produce liquid nitrogen (equipment supplied by Europe) used in the "pre-cooling" processes of the liquid helium production unit (under the responsibility of the ITER Management) as well as for cooling the thermal shield. A complex system of cooling lines (supplied by India) will ensure the distribution of Helium. The plant will be much larger and more powerful than those required for the existing superconducting tokamaks.

In this context, ITER Management has appointed Assystem, as part of 2 entities as representative to:

  • perform design studies and construction management activities for the buildings (including services) and site infrastructures
  • perform construction management activities for IO’s systems including the TOKAMAK machine

Project scope

  • Detailed design preparation (all disciplines), to the final acceptance of the works, concerning site infrastructures and the distribution of the power supplies
  • Construction Management on all buildings of the site:
    • Contract management
    • Project management
    • Construction preparation
    • Site coordination
    • Works supervision
    • Completion activities
  • Assystem is the representative of the two entities:
    • One is in charge of the infrastructures that will house the TOKAMAK machine and other buildings. civil engineering, HVAC, I&C + M&E systems, 3D model management, Integration, construction design, visa, supervision, control, OPC, HSE, contract management, BIM of nuclear and some non-nuclear buildings including the cryoplant
    • The other one is in charge of supervision, control, contract management of the ITER systems that will be installed in nuclear and non-nuclear buildings

Key figures

  • 8,000 square metres of surface area
  • Dimensions of the plant: 120 metres long, 45 metres wide, 20 metres high
  • 2,000 square metres for the cold box building (helium unit)
  • 3,400 square metres for the compressor building (compressors, nitrogen unit)
  • 2,600 square metre for the outdoor storage area
  • 75 kW to 4.5 K: Liquid helium - overall cooling capacity
  • 12,300 litres/hour: Liquid helium - maximum liquefaction rate
  • 1300 kW to 80 K: Liquid nitrogen- overall refrigeration capacity
  • 50 tons/days: Nitrogen gas - maximum production rate

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