ITER tokamak (Credit Iter Organization)US-based Jacobs said it has been awarded several contracts worth more than $25 million in total for work on nuclear fusion projects in the UK and France.

The contracts have been awarded by Fusion for Energy (F4E), which is responsible for the European Union's contribution to the international ITER fusion project, ITER Organization and the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).

The ITER Organization has appointed Jacobs to its integrated engineering framework as part of a consortium with Orano Projects and the Madrid-based National Distance Education University. The task is to minimise operator exposure to radiation during planned maintenance activities at the world's largest fusion energy project under construction in Southern France. Jacobs said it would combine strong collaboration skills with knowledge of ITER maintenance activities, remote handling, radiation and contamination assessment, and hazard risk reduction.

As part of an existing contract with ITER Organization, Jacobs is also developing and supplying technology to monitor for corrosion in the hermetically sealed vacuum vessel. This contract also includes the production of safety documentation for submission to French regulators, it said.

Jacobs also noted it had been awarded both lots of a framework contract to provide ITER Organization with engineering support for the Tokamak Complex Detritiation System, which is key to decontamination and fuel recycling.

Supporting Fusion for Energy Jacobs said it is demonstrating safe operating and maintenance methods for helium-cooled pebble bed test blanket technology, and is undertaking the construction design of the hydrogen monitoring system in the tokamak and tritium buildings.

Jacobs, which completed the acquisition of Wood earlier this year, has been supporting the international ITER project for 20 years.

"These new contracts add to our considerable, long-term contribution to the ITER project and keep us at the forefront of nuclear fusion, which could provide future generations with a clean, safe and virtually unlimited source of energy," said Clive White, international senior vice president of Jacobs Critical Mission Solutions.

"As innovators with a combination of fusion- specific and cross-sector engineering experience, we are focused on delivering long-term efficiency and schedule certainty for this important project," he added.  

Jacobs to support UK fusion test facility

Jacobs also announced that it is increasing its support to the UKAEA's research into design, engineering and manufacturing of components for fusion power stations.

Specifically, Jacobs said it had secured an $18.4 million contract to design and build a test facility to replicate typical fusion conditions of extreme heat flux, high-pressure cooling and immensely strong electromagnetic fields.

"Jacobs will support UKAEA scientists, with partners from around the globe, to develop fusion as a new source of cleaner energy for tomorrow's power stations," a statement said.  

The UKAEA also awarded Jacobs a range of work to support the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP). STEP is a UK government-funded programme to design and build a prototype fusion power reactor, demonstrating its commercial viability. These contracts cover several areas including in modelling and simulation, alloy development and materials science, breeder blanket and divertor design, digital engineering, balance of plant and siting.

Photo: ITER tokamak (Photo courtesy ITER Organization)