Innovative and mundane

World’s largest nuclear fusion experiment clears milestone

The $20bn International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project, which aims to build the world’s largest fusion reactor near Cadarache in southern France, passed a major milestone this week as construction crews lifted the first major piece of the reactor, known as a tokamak, into place.

Over two days, a crew of about 200 carefully lifted the cryostat base, a steel dish weighing 1,250 tonnes, into the tokamak pit.

The cryostat base – the single largest and heaviest tokamak component – is the bottom section of a huge metal can that will eventually contain the rest of the reactor, including the vacuum vessel, huge superconducting magnets, and cooling systems.