Design fusion plants for maintenance, says VTT

27 August 2013

Joint development of the reactor and remote maintenance systems for a fusion power plant can 'significantly improve' future performance, according to Finland's technical research centre, VTT.

VTT is involved in developing remote handling systems for critical reactor parts for the ITER and DEMO international nuclear fusion programmes. It has come up with a plan on how to apply maintenance and equipment design to the DEMO project, based on lessons from ITER.

The resulting concept plan provides for the planning of fusion reactor maintenance alongside other structural design work at a sufficiently early stage.

"Designing remote handling and reactor structure in parallel would prevent major errors that hamper compatibility," VTT says.

"This would mean fewer alterations during the building process and minimised downtime in the finished power plant, resulting in lower construction and overhead costs."

Several maintenance issues have been encountered during the ITER experiment, VTT said. Installation of service equipment and the required maintenance ports sizes were not considered sufficiently in the original plans, for example, limiting the opportunity for remote maintenance.

Maintenance requirements for the DEMO project are 'significantly stricter' than for ITER. The basic premise of DEMO design has been to minimise maintenance periods through modular design and simple module structure, VTT said.

Photo: ITER (Source: Iter Organization)

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