The European domestic agency Fusion for Energy (F4E) has signed a €40 million deal with Assystem and partners for the delivery of a remote handling system for the ITER divertor exhaust system.
The contact is expected to run for seven years, and will include all activities ranging from design to manufacture, delivery, on-site integration, commissioning and testing of the ITER divertor remote handing system.
Assystem will work with the UK's Culham Centre Fusion for Energy (CCFE), Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd (SMD), Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) and Tampere University of Technology (TUT) for the contract.
Located at the bottom of the vacuum vessel, the divertor is a key component of ITER. Its role will be to extract impurities from the plasma during operations, in effect acting like a giant exhaust system. However, due to erosion it is anticipated that the component will need to be replaced at least three times during ITER's proposed 20-year lifetime.
The divertor remote handling systems will include all the equipment required to safely and reliably position as well as extract each of the 54 removable cassettes within the divertor, Assystem says.
"This contract is a turning point for ITER's remote handling system because it will lead us to production mode," said F4E director, Professor Henrik Bindslev.
"We have managed to bring together industry, fusion laboratories, SMEs and research centres under one contract that will unleash their potential and help them advance further in their domain."
Assystem says its team brings a 'distinctive combination of skills and experience' which provides F4E access to the extensive nuclear remote handling capability .
CCFE brings substantial fusion energy experience and expertise from operations of JET, the largest toroidial fusion reactor in the world.VVT/TUT have been researching the ITER divertor system and remote handling systems at its Divertor Test Platform Facility (DTP2) in Tampere, Finland, which was completed in 2009. SMD brings large-scale remote handing manufacturing capability.
Photo: 3D image of the remote handling system for ITER divertor (Credit: Assystem)