An 18-month development programme to prototype remote handling tooling for the next-step ITER fusion device was demonstrated at Culham’s RACE (Remote Applications in Challenging Environments) facility last week.
Representatives from ITER, F4E (the European ITER agency), Assystem UK and Amec Foster Wheeler came to Culham to see a fully remote deployment of prototype remote pipe cutting and welding tooling developed by RACE.
Under an F4E/EPSRC-funded grant, RACE and CCFE’s Engineering Implementation Department has produced a set of prototype tools intended for eventual use maintaining the neutral beam heating systems at ITER. Remote cutting and welding of process piping to the required codes, and under the challenging conditions of the ITER tokamak, has not been demonstrated before, and is one of the higher risk areas across the ITER remote maintenance strategy.
The work carried out under this grant paves the way for RACE to take a leading role in the continued development of technologies that are a crucial contribution to the success of ITER and subsequent fusion reactors such as the DEMO power plant.
Following the demonstration, the visitors went to see the RACE facility under construction. Here they were given a tour of the site by RACE Director Rob Buckingham and Building Project Manager Richard Brown. The visitors (pictured right on the new building’s roof) were impressed with the progress of the new building and its potential to host future remote handling projects.