Sian Crampsie

Fusion for Energy (F4E) has awarded a seven-year contract for the development and delivery of the neutral beam cell remote handling system on the ITER fusion reactor at Cadarache in France to Amec Foster Wheeler.

The framework contract, worth up to €70 million over the seven years, is the largest nuclear robotics contract so far awarded by F4E to a UK company. The remote handling system in the neutral beam cell is a key part of ITER, the multi-billion pound project that aims to demonstrate the technical feasibility of nuclear fusion as a future power source.

The neutral beam injectors are used to heat up the plasma inside the reactor until it is hot enough for fusion to take place; during outages, the complex internal systems of these machines, each the size of a bus, must be maintained, repaired and replaced completely remotely, which is the task of the NB-RHS.

Amec Foster Wheeler will lead the project as the prime contractor with a number of specialist sub-contractors, including Culham Centre for Fusion (CCFE), Reel SAS of France, Walischmiller Engineering GmbH of Germany, Hyde Group of UK, Capula of UK, VTT the Technical Research Centre of Finland, Tampere University of Technology (TUT) and KU Leuven – MAGyICs of Belgium.