A crane close to ITER’s heart.

3-D view of the NB cell (Tokamak on the top left) with the crane railway attached to its roof ©F4E

The Neutral Beam (NB) Cell will house heating equipment to keep the ITER plasma burning by injecting highly energetic deuterium into the heart of the device. Inside this huge 10 m high cell , with a 1000 m2 footprint, three identical “bazookas”, and additional complex plant systems, will be located. Due to neutron activation, limited access will be allowed. Therefore, Europe needs to design a complex crane system that will be remotely operated to perform a series of tasks. It will run on railway to collect, transport, and dispatch the activated components to the Hot Cell Building, located behind.

Europe’s industrial partners have already developed the preliminary design of such crane, which was successfully tested on a full-scale prototype. To develop the final design of this crane, F4E signed a contract with Reel. Due to the fact that the equipment needs to be ready and installed during ITER’s first assembly phase, the time pressure to deliver is enormous. Towards the end of March, a kick -off meeting took place bringing together experts from F4E, ITER Organization and Reel, at their offices in Lyon, France. The contract will culminate, after approximately two years, in a final design review that will pave the way to manufacturing and installation in the Tokamak Building, together with many other systems in the NB cell.

“We are very happy to start this activity, for which two strong teams will collaborate- one in Reel, and another in F4E lead by Emilio Ruiz in partnership with our colleagues from ITER Organization. We will work together to develop the design of a first of a kind system, with many technologies integrated on board, some of which developed by F4E. A one team spirit is essential for the success of this project. In the years to follow, we will deliver a system that will act as the workhorse of the NB cell remote maintenance system,” explained Carlo Damiani, F4E Programme Manager for Remote Handling.