UK-based Amec Foster Wheeler has signed a framework contract to supply maintenance and remote handling services to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) under construction at Cadarache in France.

The contract, expected to be worth up to €4m ($4.3m) over four years, will provide engineering support for developing the "maintainability and inspectability" of Iter structures, systems, and components during their design, Amec Foster Wheeler said. The work will cover critical complex areas such as the hot cell, where irradiated components are dismantled and treated, and the Cryostat, at 3850t the second largest high-vacuum pressure chamber ever built.

In May 2015, a joint venture led by Amec Foster Wheeler won a €70 million, seven-year contract to carry out all activities ranging from design, manufacturing, factory testing, delivery, on-site integration, commissioning and final acceptance tests for Iter’s neutral beam remote handling system.

China recently concluded its first procurement arrangement with the Iter Organisation to supply 7.5% of the superconductor needed for the fusion reactor’s giant toroidal field coils. The successful completion of the last unit length of toroidal field conductor is a sign of the capacity of Chinese industry to meet the stringent Iter requirements, Iter said in a statement. Toroidal field coils are used to produce strong magnetic fields that confine the high-temperature plasma necessary for nuclear fusion to occur.

Russia has also been producing superconductor for Iter. All 28 standard lengths of the toroidal field conductor, including two mock-ups, which are Russia’s responsibility, were produced, tested and sent to Europe over the past five years. Since 2011, Russian enterprises and organizations have co-operated in the fabrication of the toroidal field conductor, including the AA Bochvar Research Institute of Inorganic Materials (VNIINM), fuel company TVEL, Chepetsky Mechanical Plant, the Russian Scientific Research & Development Cable Institute (VNIIKP), the Institute for High Energy Physics (IHEP) and the Kurchatov Institute. Russian commitments to the 35-nation project, include the development, supply and adjustment of 25 systems, 10 of which are process systems and components, and 15 systems for diagnostics. In December, Russian Domestic Agency Iter signed the last two contracts to supply diagnostic equipment for Iter. Contracts were previously signed for 23 systems and work is ongoing on all 25.

The Russian enterprises just over five years fabricated 28 standard (unit) lengths of the conductor with a total weight of 120 tons. According to the delivery schedule, all lengths stored in Russia should be delivered to the Customer before the end of this year.