• December 17, 2020

RACE demo IRTF project to ITER

RACE demo IRTF project to ITER

RACE demo IRTF project to ITER 1024 334 Iain

RACE has been running demonstrations of the latest IRTF project, IA5, to ITER via a live stream. Read about in the latest edition of the ITER Newsline.

IA5 – Test Blanket Module

IA5 demonstrates the feasibility of using remote handling to manoeuvre a mock-up of the ITER Test Blanket Module. In future fusion reactors, blanket modules will be used to produce or ‘breed’ tritium, a hydrogen isotope required for fusion that is also one of the rarest materials on earth.

The mock-up Dummy Test Blanket Module (Dummy TBM-MU) and the mock-up TBM Frame are identical to the versions that will be in ITER, in terms of relevant geometry and mass. Made of carbon-steel plates and weighing 8 tonnes, the Dummy TBM-MU needs to be lifted from and lowered into the mock-up TBM Frame – a distance of 2.4m with only a 6mm clearance around the edges.

Controlling the position of such a heavy object, in relation to the frame, with millimetric accuracy and demonstrating that the process can be repeated is a major challenge. To make the operation more complex the Dummy TBM-MU’s centre of gravity can be shifted.

ITER Robotics Test Facility (IRTF)

IRTF is a technical collaboration between ITER Organisation and UKAEA, established in 2017, looking specifically at remote maintenance activities. The aims of IRTF are:

  • Prove feasibility of high-risk remote handling designs
  • Ensure that components can be maintained before designs are finalised for manufacture
  • Improve component design handling features
  • Increase technical readiness of remote handling equipment ahead of industrial procurement
  • Investigate novel solutions in low risk environment