ITER is an international project with the aim to build up the world’s first full size fusion nuclear power plant. To this aim, a power plant is under construction in the South of France, in the city of Cadarache, at an estimated cost of around 15 billion euros. The objective of the plant is to produce more energy than is consumed, while the process is running.

A Tokamak fusion reactor is used, inside which magnetic field reaction plasma will be heated up to 30 million °C. ITER Tokamak is supported by the largest cryogenic plant ever built. Cryogenic helium is required in the plant in large quantities.

In addition, a liquid helium plant is already under construction and compressor stations are to be delivered to the site. Within the design phase, Vahterus PSHE was chosen as a component part of the system to reclaim heat from the compressor oil used in compressor stations. The energy recovered will then be utilized in other parts of the plant.

When the aim of the project is to produce more energy than consumed, maximum heat recovery from all heat resources at the ITER plant is critical. Using Vahterus PSHE the heat from compressor oil is transferred into a water stream. To achieve a high rate of heat recovery the exchanger was designed with a low temperature approach between the hot oil and cold water (LMTD 4.4°C). Achieving such a tight approach in temperatures was made possible by using PSHE technology. Vahterus scope of supply included 12 large exchangers (PSHE Size 9HA-650) which were designed with a multi-pass construction (5/5) in order to reach the desired temperatures and recover the maximum amount of heat.

One more design requirement was that the heat exchanger solution must be compact. Vahterus PSHE-technology is a thermally efficient and compact solution, which fitted well to the tight installation space within the compressor package. Since this entire plant is unique, it was important consideration that all collaborators and technologies used must be trustworthy and reliable. Vahterus was able to satisfy all requirements of their cooperation partners for the project.

Photo: EUROfusion