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Media Corner
06 August 2018

Cryoplant equipment arrives at ITER Neutral Beam Test Facility

Unpacking the auxiliary cold box at the ITER Neutral Beam Test Facility, MITICA, Padua, Italy

The trucks transporting the equipment of the cryoplant that will cool down MITICA, the second experiment of the prestigious ITER Neutral Beam Test Facility, have reached Padua. It’s a humid hot summer afternoon, in stark contrast to the cold temperatures that will be produced by the “refrigerator” of this experiment.

Arrival of the Gas Helium tank at the ITER Neutral Beam Test Facility, MITICA, Padua, Italy


Consorzio RFX, in collaboration with F4E, ITER Japan, and ITER International Organization are the Parties contributing to MITICA (Megavolt ITER Injector and Concept Advancement). The tests carried out there will help scientists test the potential of a Neutral Beam Injector (NBI) prototype that will feed directly towards the design and manufacturing of the NBI used in ITER.

Installing the auxiliary cold in the ITER Neutral Beam Test Facility, MITICA, Padua, Italy


MITICA requires a cryogenic system to cool down the cryogenic pump in order to maintain the necessary vacuum during operation. F4E in collaboration with Air Liquide, have been working together since autumn 2016 to manufacture the components of the MITICA cryoplant. In July 2018, more than 90% of its equipment has been completed. The overall budget of the contract is in the range of 6 million EUR and the cryoplant is expected to be ready by April 2019. Grigory Kouzmenko, F4E Technical Officer, explains that “…the teams on the ground have started installing the components and they are expected to conclude this stage by October 2018. From November until spring next year, the phases of commissioning and testing should be concluded.”

The cryoplant will supply helium at -196 °C to cool down the thermal shields and at -269 °C it will cool down the cryopanels, which will absorb the gas used to neutralise the high-energy beams. Periodically, warmer gas at room temperature or at 127 °C will flow through the cryopanels to extract any gas stored. In spite of the fact that the cryoplant is based on conventional equipment, it is enhanced with sophisticated auxiliary systems to cope automatically with a wide range of operational conditions.


Installation of the Gas Helium tank at ITER Neutral Beam Test Facility, MITICA, Padua


Benoît Hilbert, Managing Director of Air Liquide advanced Technologies, explains that “ addition to the ITER Cryogenic system that Air Liquide is responsible for delivering; it is also contributing to cryoplant system of the ITER Neutral Beam Test Facility in Padua, Italy. In close collaboration with F4E, the manufacturing and delivery of equipment was completed in June. Next, we will procced with the installation of the piping interconnections which involve more than 20 vacuum lines.”  


Connecting the main cold box, on the left, with the auxiliary cold box, on the far right, with the help of cryolines, ITER Neutral Beam Test Facility, MITICA, Padua, Italy