The European Union’s agency Fusion For Energy (F4E) has selected Amec Foster Wheeler to provide neutral beam cell remote handling system for the international thermonuclear experimental reactor (ITER) fusion reactor in Cadarache, France.

The scope of work under the €70m contract includes design, manufacture, delivery, on-site integration, commissioning and final acceptance tests of the remote handling system, which is said to play a key role in the ITER project.

As a prime contractor, Amec Foster Wheeler will provide services for the next seven years.

"The scope of work under the €70m contract includes design, manufacture, delivery, on-site integration, commissioning and final acceptance tests of the remote handling system."

Amec Foster Wheeler clean energy business president Clive White said: "This contract reinforces our company’s strong expertise in remote handling and robotics, and more generally in taking a key role in the design and development of future fusion energy reactors."

For the contracts, the company will be supported by a group of laboratories and companies with their robotics expertise, including the Culham Centre for Fusion, Reel, Wallischmiller Engineering, Hyde, Capula, ‘KU Leuven-MaGyICs,’ VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and the Technical University of Tampere (TUT).

VTT and TUT will work together at the divertor test platform (DTP2) facility in Finland, to design and test devices and control systems for ITER’s remote handling system.

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VTT smart industry and energy systems executive vice-president Jouko Suokas said: "The mechanical designs and viewing, control and virtual technologies related to ITER can also be applied across a wide range of different industries worldwide."

Using powerful injectors and heating systems, ITER’s superhot plasma will be raised to 150 million degrees Celsius, which makes it difficult for maintenance personnel to perform the tasks.

ITER’s remote handling system will comprise an advanced repair hub with transfer trolleys, beam line transporters and various supporting beams on a 90m monorail spread over the neutral beam cell.

Key tasks, including maintenance of neutral beam injectors, cutting and welding of myriads of pipes, and transporting heavy components coils to the storage area for refurbishment and disposal, will be performed by the system.

Image: Work underway on the ITER facility. Photo: courtesy of ITER Organization.