UKAEA’s RACE centre supports industry in securing ITER Cask and Plug contract
The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) is delighted to be part of the Airbus Safran Launchers /Nuvia Limited/Cegelec led partnership now tasked with the development of the ITER international fusion energy project’s Cask and Plug Remote Handling System.
Worth nearly 100 million Euros, the deal awarded by Fusion for Energy will see state-of-the-art remote handling equipment designed and supplied to ITER, the world’s largest experimental fusion facility.
The role of the system is to provide primary containment during the transportation of irradiated components from the ITER fusion reactor to the maintenance cell. The complex nature and layout of the reactor and maintenance building, which are connected with a service lift, requires the Cask and Plug Remote Handling System to be self-powered, remotely controlled and self-recoverable in the event of a failure. Physically a cask is slightly larger than a standard shipping container and when fully loaded can weigh as much as 100 tonnes and requires positional accuracy of millimetres.
UKAEA’s RACE (Remote Applications in Challenging Environments) centre is actively supporting a number of industry-led partnerships developing remote maintenance systems for ITER, including the Divertor and Neutral Beam systems. Having this common link via RACE provides the opportunity for sharing best practice, creating common standards, sharing development effort and development of generic test facilities.
A key role for RACE is the development of generic robotic solutions for deployment in challenging environments. For example there is a growing need for multiple remote controlled devices, operating at the same time and together, from the same user interface. RACE has launched new control software, called ‘CorteX™’, that allows operators to control an unlimited number of remotely operated devices; this may have future value to the Cask and Plug development programme. This software has been written to control bespoke and commercial off the shelf equipment from multiple vendors. Its design anticipates planned and unplanned additions which will be inevitable through ITER’s multi-decade life. CorteX™ has applications far beyond fusion.
UKAEA Head of Business Development, Martin Townsend, explained:
Supporting industry to win business from ITER and then partnering to deliver is a key goal for UKAEA. Our successful engagement with industry is due to the know-how that exists in RACE, developed over decades of efficient, reliable remote operations on the JET European fusion experiment at Culham.
For more information please contact Nick Holloway, UKAEA Media Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01235 466232.