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