ITER is the next generation fusion research device being built in the south of France that will achieve ‘a burning plasma’. This is one of the required steps on the way to commercial fusion power.
Remote handling is critical to ITER and RACE is at the heart of the action.
RACE is a partner in the ITER Neutral Beam RHS project led by Amec Foster Wheeler.
In preparation for the Neutral Beam RHS contract RACE developed concepts for remotely replacing the beam sources of the neutral beam heating system. These high energy ion beams are used to heat the plasmas to 200million degC.
A monorail crane was designed with high lift in a compact space, with an innovative control system for high radiation environments. The crane will be built by Reel.
The beam line transporter operates along the full length of the beam line, like an industrial production line. It has a load capacity of many tonnes, haptic feedback and is fully remotely operated and remotely recoverable.
RACE is a partner in the development of the Divertor RHS led by Assystem UK.
The Divertor is often called the exhaust system of a fusion reactor. It experiences massive heat loads as the 200million degC plasma is evacuated from the toroidal vacuum vessel. Over time the plasma facing surface of the Divertor will erode so every two years all 54 Divertor cassettes must be exchanged with only limited access. Each cassette must be positioned with millimeter precision. All the services will need to be cut and then remade to exacting nuclear standards.
RACE is supporting the development of the ITER Casks working with Airbus, Cegelec and Nuvia. The Casks, which are the size of a freight container will be used to move components between the huge ITER hot cell and the vacuum vessel.
A fundamental process for remote maintenance at ITER is cutting and welding large diameter stainless steel pipes. (Read more).
ITER Remote Maintenance – Designing for Remote Handling
ITER provides some seriously challenging environments for robotics: high radiation dose; elevated temperatures; limited access; large, compact equipment and some very challenging inspection and maintenance procedures to implement fast and reliably, without failure.