20 February 2020

Nuclear industry and Big Science

Handling heavy parts: the 4 lifting beam systems that will lift and install ITER’s heaviest part – the 1,250 tons cryostat base – passed the load tests successfully.

On February the12th, 2020, 4 large lifting beam systems were successfully tested using two 600-ton cranes.


Specific handling systems

Designed and manufactured by CNIM for ITER Org, these lifting beam systems will this summer precisely handle and position key components at the heart of ITER, such as the 1,250 tons cryostat base, ITER’s heaviest part.

They measure 3m high, 10m long and weigh 11 tons each. A hydraulic compensation system couples the lifting beam systems in order to equally distribute the heavy loads.

For configuration reasons, the lifting beam systems load tests have been performed upside down. Indeed the 470 tons concrete blocks were not easy to grab and had no attachment points.

« Purpose Built Tools »: nine specific tools for large & complex handling and precise positioning

These 4 heavy-duty lifting beam systems are part of the "Purpose Built Tools" (PBT) framework contract which consists of the design, manufacture and installation of specific tools for the assembly of ITER tokamak’s external components.

A smaller lift beam, a 5th one, is also specifically developed for handling the "lower cylinder" - a cryostat section whose geometry required a 9th lift point.

1250 tons ITER cryostat handling system.jpg

Photo: cryostat base, 1.250 tons, ITER's heaviest part