L&T, June 30
The heavy engineering arm of Larsen & Toubro, 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 flag-off ceremony took place in the August virtual presence of Dr. Bernard Bigot, Director-General, ITER Global, Mr. K.N. Vyas, Chairman Atomic Energy Commission, India, Mr. U.K. Baruah, Project Director, ITER‐India, Mr. V.K. Saraswat, Member, NITI Aayog, Mr. A.M. Naik, Group Chairman, Mr. S.N. Subrahmanyan, CEO & MD, L&T, Mr. Adil Zainulbhai, Independent Director, L&T, Mr. S.N. Roy, Whole-time Director, L&T and CEO & MD, L&T Power, Mr. M.V. Satish, Whole-time Director & Sr. EVP (Buildings, Minerals & Metals), L&T, Mr. J.D. Patil, Whole-time Director & Sr. EVP (Defence & Smart Technologies), and Mr. A.V. Parab, EVP & Head, L&T Heavy Engineering at L&T’s Hazira Manufacturing Complex.
Commenting on this occasion, Dr. Bernard Bigot, Director-General, ITER organization said, “Today, in Hazira, we celebrate with you the completion of fabrication of all the segments of the Cryostat, including most recently the segments of the Cryostat Lid — again achieved under these challenging conditions. The ITER Project and ITER-India were very fortunate to have Larsen & Toubro as our partner and the primary contractor for Cryostat fabrication…(as) the challenge of the Cryostat was unique.”
Commenting on this achievement, Mr SN Subrahmanyan, CEO & MD, L&T said, “This is a proud moment for the company, as it has completed another milestone in the development of world’s largest stainless-steel, high-vacuum pressure chamber. The company has used innovative and digital manufacturing techniques to ensure uninterrupted supply of high-quality, 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 large-scale feasibility of fusion power. It has empowered India to tread towards Atma Nirbhar Bharat by acquiring knowledge in this highly specialised field of science and technology.”
The Cryostat assembly referred as the Top Lid, weighing 650 MT (metric tons), 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.
Mr Anil V. Parab, Executive Vice President and Head, L&T Heavy Engineering said “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. This is a proud moment for L&T Heavy Engineering, which is showcasing Indian capabilities in the high technology arena at the global stage.”
The project scope for L&T Heavy Engineering is divided into three aspects. Firstly, the company was to manufacture assemblies at its state-of-the-art Hazira manufacturing complex. The second aspect involved constructing a temporary workshop at the project site in Cadarache, France for the assembly of various sectors. And finally, it is to integrate the Cryostat with the Tokamak Reactor building. With this flag-off, L&T Heavy Engineering has completed the manufacturing work planned in India.
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 $20 billion.
L&T Heavy Engineering has state-of-the-art, fully integrated, world-class manufacturing facilities at Hazira (Surat), Powai (Mumbai) and Vadodara. The Heavy engineering business of L&T has a proven track record of supplying technology-intensive equipment and systems to global customers in Refinery, Oil & Gas, Petrochemicals, Fertilizers and Nuclear Power industries.
The virtual flag-off ceremony at Hazira manufacturing complex was attended by officials from Niti Ayog, ITER, India, ITER global, DAE, Rajiv Gandhi Science & Technology Commission, NPCIL, AERB and BARC joining through digital platforms.
India is among the seven elite countries funding the ITER program (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) in Cadarache, France. ITER (meaning "The Way" in Latin) is one of the world’s largest research project that seeks to demonstrate the scientific and technical feasibility of fusion power. It’s a magnetic fusion device that has been designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy based on the same principle that powers our Sun and stars.
Larsen & Toubro is manufacturing The Cryostat which will be the largest stainless-steel, high-vacuum pressure chamber in the world. In lay man’s terms, the cryostat is like a giant refrigerator while the nuclear reactor is like a star, having a very, very high temperature at its core. The Cryostat will provide cooling to the reactor and will keep temperatures under control. In 2012, L&T’s Heavy Engineering business won the prestigious contract for the cryostat, competing against stiff competition. ITER India, a wing of Department of Atomic Energy is the overall in-charge of the Indian participation for this ambitious mega scientific project.
While L&T has the best of skills and management capabilities for products manufactured in-house, this was the first mega project for the company to be executed in Europe. The project scope is divided in three parts viz. manufacturing and shipping of all subassembly sectors from L&T Hazira, Gujarat, constructing of a temporary workshop at project site for assembling the cryostat to be supplied in sections and integrating the cryostat with the Tokamak Reactor building.
ITER is a first of its kind futuristic global project. Cryostat is the largest vacuum vessel ever built with 29.4 metre in diameter, 29 metre in height weighing 3,850-MT. Successful delivery of such complicated projects is ingrained in L&T’s culture. In 1976, when Canada pulled out of the Indian civil nuclear program post Pokhran nuclear test, India government looked up to L&T for developing indigenous technology to complete the balance work. Since then, we are a trusted partner in India’s nuclear power program and have been making major contributions in every single nuclear power project in the country.
L&T has already delivered the Base Section and Lower Cylinder in July 2019 and Upper Cylinder in Mar 2020. Final part, the Top Lid Sector will be flagged off on 30th June from Hazira, Surat (Gujarat) and will be delivered at ITER site in southern France in July.
L&T Heavy Engineering facilities at Hazira, where the Cryostat sectors are manufactured, are globally benchmarked, fully integrated, state-of-the-art and amongst the top 3 in the world. To fight reversal of globalization in the 21st century by maintaining competitive edge, L&T has been investing in technology upgrade and digital infrastructure. Its on-time delivery record is over 90 per cent, including the impact of lockdown due to Covid-19. Notably, the sub-assemblies for ITER France were delivered on an urgent basis during Lockdown to ensure uninterrupted assembly of Cryostat in Reactor pit at Cadarache, France.
Over last 6 decades L&T contributed significantly to India’s all 22 Nuclear reactors - Indigenous PHWR as well as PFBR and VVER (Russian technology). The company collaborated with Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC), IGCAR & Institute of Plasma Research for their research and development activities. L&T continues to create global benchmarks now - be it heaviest refinery reactor, tallest “Statue of Unity” in the world or the longest Metro rail network. CRYOSTAT is the latest addition in them.