RACE is one of the sub-contractors in a successful Amec Foster Wheeler bid for development of the Neutral Beam Cell remote handling system on the ITER international fusion research project.
The seven-year, €70 million framework contract has been awarded by Fusion For Energy (the agency responsible for Europe’s contribution to ITER) and is the largest nuclear robotics contract to be awarded by F4E to a UK company.
The remote handling system in the Neutral Beam Cell is crucial to the success of ITER. As on present-day experiments like JET and MAST at Culham, the Neutral Beam Injectors are used to heat up the plasma inside the reactor until it is hot enough for fusion to take place. During outages at ITER, the complex internal systems of the injectors, each the size of a bus, must be maintained, repaired and replaced completely remotely, which is the task of the Neutral Beam Cell remote handling system.
A sophisticated repair hub will use a 90m monorail that will spread over the Neutral Beam Cell, and will consist of transfer trolleys, beam line transporters and a variety of supporting beams that will operate in perfect coordination with tooling and manipulators. Some of the key tasks performed will include the maintenance work of the Neutral Beam Injectors, with the cutting and welding of myriads of pipes, and the transportation of heavy components to the Neutral Beam Cell storage area or to its main entrance for refurbishment and disposal.
All activities ranging from design, manufacturing, factory testing, delivery, on-site integration, commissioning and final acceptance tests for ITER’s Neutral’s Beam remote handling system will be covered through this contract as it unfolds progressively.
Amec Foster Wheeler will lead the project as prime contractor with specialist sub-contractors: RACE; Reel SAS of France; Walischmiller Engineering GmbH of Germany; Hyde Group of UK; Capula of UK; VTT, the Technical Research Centre of Finland; TUT – Tampere University of Technology of Finland; and KU Leuven – MAGyICs of Belgium.
F4E Acting Director Pietro Barabaschi added: “Thanks to this collaboration, leading innovators will be joining forces to deliver high-end engineering for ITER’s maintenance system and will push forward know-how in robotics, a field with many applications.”