JET: The Joint European Torus

Developing, maintaining and operating the unique remote handling system at JET, the record-breaking fusion facility.
MASCOT performing a bolting task in the JET In-Vessel Training Facility

The Joint European Torus (JET) is the world’s largest and most powerful operational fusion research device.

Fusion is the process that takes place in the heart of stars. It is the power that drives the universe and has great potential to deliver safe, sustainable, low-carbon energy for generations to come.  

JET has made world-leading advances in the science and engineering of fusion since it began operating in 1983. The knowledge gained from remotely maintaining JET led to the formation of RACE in 2014. Our mechanical, electrical and controls engineers are instrumental in the safe operation of JET and the remote equipment used to maintain it.  

A graphic showing JET, with a cutaway showing the remote handling system

JET has a bespoke system for remote maintenance, with two 12-metre-long snake-like booms that reach into the vacuum vessel.

An operator holds both arms of the MASCOT local device.

One boom is used to carry tools and components into the work area.The other boom carries MASCOT, a manipulator with haptic feedback that allows the operator to feel every action, from carrying a heavy object to tightening a bolt. Our remote handling operators are highly skilled at planning and executing even the most dextrous tasks. 

The remote handling system is used to maintain the contents of the JET vacuum vessel, and respond to unplanned events. In one major refurbishment project, the equipment was used for 18 months, two shifts a day, to replace the entire plasma-facing first wall of the vacuum vessel. This involved developing more than 350 new tools to remove and replace over 4,000 components. All of the work was done remotely using cameras and virtual reality.

RACE is now upgrading the MASCOT manipulators and booms to ensure that we can continue to maintain and decommission JET. RACE is developing digital tools that help teams to plan, visualise and track operations. We are pushing the boundaries of fusion technology, bringing commercial fusion energy closer to reality. 

Learn more about JET

RACE Programmes

RACE is engineering the freedom to operate in challenging environments. To achieve our fusion engineering goals, we work internationally with end users, industry supply chains and academia.

Ensuring that ITER, the world’s largest fusion experiment, can be remotely maintained.

Developing digital tools to enable faster, safer and more cost-effective decommissioning.

Delivering the world’s largest windowless hot cell.

Keep up to date with what's going on at RACE