Iter project under construction (Source: Assystem)Atkins, part of the SNC-Lavalin Group, has secured a five-year contract extension to continue as architect-engineer for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) project.

According to the contract, Atkins will design and construct all the site’s buildings and offer services, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning, electrical supplies, commercial and industrial, fire safety and mechanical handling.

The company will also be responsible for infrastructure works at the site, including roads, networks and galleries. Atkins will manage project works as part of Engage consortium, which consists of French companies Assystem and Egis and Spanish groups, including Empresarios Agrupados. It will be working on the project until 2025. The companies will work on all 39 buildings as well as the site-wide infrastructure under its scope of work for Fusion for Energy (F4E), the European Union organisation managing Europe’s contribution to Iter.

Christophe Junillon, director for Atkins Nuclear New Build said: “As part of the Engage consortium, Atkins has been working for the last ten years on Iter."

"The five-year extension and contract renewal from F4E is a testament to the hard work and the collaborative effort of the teams involved in this genuinely ground-breaking project, and we are thrilled to continue our significant involvement,” he added.

Assystem to design and test Divertor Remote Handling System

On 4 February, UK-based Assystem announced it had been awarded a contract for the final design phase 1 and prototype testing of the Divertor Remote Handling System (DHRS) for Iter. The DRHS is one of the first remote handling systems to be provided as part of the European contribution to Iter. Assystem said the work is pioneering the application of industrial expertise to fusion projects.

Stephen McTeer, technical leader on the Assystem project, said, “The divertor remote handling system is an essential tool for maintaining Iter. He described Iter as “a harsh irradiated environment requiring regular maintenance”, adding, “once it begins deuterium-tritium operations in 2035, the only safe way of entering the reactor will be with remotely operated machines and tools”.

Construction of the plant and auxiliary buildings is now largely complete, with the main phase 1 reactor assembly expected to continue for the next five years.

At the end of 2019, the Iter project was reported to be 67% of the way to first plasma, which is expected in 2025.

Photo: Iter project under construction (Source: Assystem)