Context and challenges

ITER is a large energy project, aiming to develop the largest experimental fusion reactor ever built, in order to offer a safe, inexhaustible and environmentally friendly source of energy.

A specific equipment, Divertor Remote Handling System (DRHS) will be deployed inside the lower region of the ITER tokamak to remotely remove, replace and reconnect the 54 Divertor Cassettes. The complex maintenance operations includes remote cutting, welding, and reconnecting various service connections, and high precision in-vessel lifting and handling of the 10-ton cassettes. 

This client awarded Assystem a 7-year framework contract for delivery of the Divertor Remote Handling System (DRHS) for the ITER project. Assystem led the European project team including support from industry (Wälischmiller GmbH, Tamlink), national laboratories (UKAEA RACE) and universities (Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), Tampere University of Technology (TUT)).

Project scope

  • Design of the remote maintenance system, taking into account harsh environments including radiation
  • Implementation of systems engineering methodology using DOORS software for requirements management and reporting
  • Demonstration of compliance to ASN (Nuclear Safety Authority) defined requirements
  • Equipment qualification, including physical testing in workshops
  • RAMI Analysis (reliability, availability, maintainability and inspectability) and design for maintenance, inspection and decontamination
  • Mechanical design: 3D modelling, design drawings, finite element analysis and simulation
  • Development of control system (EC&I: Electrical Control & Instrumentation), and design of electric power and sensor sub-systems
  • Operational analysis: normal and off-normal scenarios, 3D simulation of operations
  • Interface management: using DOORS to manage complex interfaces with ITER sub-systems
  • Design for manufacture and installation
  • Supply chain management: sub-contract partners in UK, Finland, Germany and France

Client benefits

  • Preliminary DRHS design review successfully completed in December 2018, before moving on to final design and testing
  • Reduced manufacture costs and easier to maintain thanks to significantly simplified structural design using analysis-led design optimisation
  • Improved safety of the installation process by redesigning and automating the Port Cell Isolators to eliminate the need for manual glove-box tasks during normal operations
  • Systems Engineering methodology to the ITER design process, recognised as best practice and applied to other projects
  • Retention and transfer of knowledge built-up during the R&D phase of the ITER project, thanks to efficient coordination of the team including industry, national laboratories and universities

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