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27 October 2016

Fusion for Energy signs multi-million deal with Airbus Safran Launchers, Nuvia Limited and Cegelec CEM to develop robotics equipment for ITER

Cut-away image of the ITER machine showing the casks at the three levels of the ITER machine. ITER IO ©

F4E’s final and biggest contract in the field of Remote Handling has been signed reaching a value of nearly 100 million EUR. It is considered to be the single biggest robotics deal to date in the field of fusion energy. The collaboration between F4E with a consortium of companies consisting of Airbus Safran Launchers (France-Germany), Nuvia Limited (UK) and Cegelec CEM (France), two companies of the VINCI Group, will run for a period of seven years. The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UK), Instituto Superior Tecnico (Portugal), AVT Europe NV (Belgium) and Millennium (France) will also be part of this deal which will deliver remotely operated systems for the transportation and confinement of components located in the ITER machine.

The contract carries also a symbolic importance marking the signature all procurement packages managed by Europe in the field of Remote Handling. Carlo Damiani, F4E’s Project Manager for ITER Remote Handling Systems, explained that “F4E’s stake in ITER offers an unparalleled opportunity to companies and laboratories to develop expertise and an industrial culture in fusion reactors’ maintenance.”

Why ITER requires Remote Handling?

Remote handling refers to the high-tech systems that will help us maintain and repair the ITER machine. The space where the bulky equipment will operate is limited and the exposure of some of the components to radioactivity, prohibit any manual intervention inside the vacuum vessel.

What will be delivered through this contract?

The transfer of components from the ITER vacuum vessel to the Hot Cell building, where they will be deposited for maintenance, will need to be carried out with the help of massive double-door containers known as casks. According to current estimates, 15 of these casks will need to be manufactured and in their largest configuration they will measure 8.5 m x 3.7 m x 2.6 m approaching 100 tonnes when transporting the heaviest components. These enormous “boxes”, resembling to a conventional lorry container, will be remotely operated as they move between the different levels and buildings of the machine. Apart from the transportation and confinement of components, the ITER Cask and Plug Remote Handling System will also ensure the installation of the remote handling equipment entering into the vacuum vessel to pick up the components to be removed. The technologies underpinning this system will encompass a variety of high-tech skills and comply with nuclear safety requirements. A proven manufacturing experience in similar fields and the development of bespoke systems to perform mechanical transfers will be essential.

Background information

Press Release

Fusion for Energy signs multi-million deal with Airbus Safran Launchers, Nuvia Limited and Cegelec CEM to develop robotics equipment for ITER EN FR

MEMO

Fusion for Energy signs multi-million deal with Airbus Safran Launchers, Nuvia Limited and Cegelec CEM to develop robotics equipment for ITER EN FR

Multimedia

To see how the ITER Remote Handling System will operate click on clip 1 and clip 2

To see the progress of the ITER construction site click here

To take a virtual tour on the ITER construction site click here

Illustration of lorry next to an ITER cask. F4E ©
Trajectory of the equipment from the ITER machine to the maintenance hall ITER IO ©

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