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Amec Foster Wheeler gains largest ITER robotics contract to date

11 May 2015

Amec Foster Wheeler wins seven-year, €70m contract to design, manufacture, deliver and commission ITER’s Neutral Beam remote handling system.

The ITER site, April 2015

F4E, the European Union’s organisation managing Europe’s contribution to ITER, has awarded one of the largest robotics contracts to date in the field of fusion energy to the UK's Amec Foster Wheeler.

ITER is the world’s biggest international collaboration designed to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion power. The machine will consist of an unprecedented number of high-technology components that will require a vast range of bespoke devices for operation and maintenance.

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 will be covered by this contract. The seven-year contract is value in the region of €70 million.

Neutral Beam injectors will be a vital component of the planned ITER fusion reactor. They heat up plasma inside the reactor until it is hot enough for fusion to take place. The internal systems of these machines, each the size of a bus, must be maintained, repaired and replaced completely remotely, hence the need for the remote handling system that will be developed by Amec Foster Wheeler.

Artist's impression of the ITER Neutral Beam Remote Handling system, courtesy of Amec Foster Wheeler

Under the leadership of Amec Foster Wheeler, a group of laboratories and companies - including CCFE- the Culham Centre for Fusion, the UK’s Fusion National Laboratory, Reel SAS of France, Wallischmiller Engineering GmbH of Germany, Hyde Group of UK, Capula of UK, KU Leuven-MaGyICs of Belgium, VTT-the Technical Research Centre of Finland, and the Technical University of Tampere - will share their expertise in robotics and contribute to the works.

Clive White, president of Amec Foster Wheeler’s Clean Energy Business, said: “This contract reinforces our company’s strong expertise in remote handling and robotics, and more generally in taking a key role in the design and development of future fusion energy reactors.”

A 90m monorail traversing the Neutral Beam Cell, will consist of transfer trolleys, beam line transporters and a variety of supporting beams that will operate in coordination with tooling and manipulators.

Some of the key tasks performed will include maintenance work on the Neutral Beam Injectors, with the cutting and welding of many pipes, and the transportation of heavy components and coils to the Neutral Beam Cell storage area or to its main entrance for refurbishment and disposal.

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