Plant optimization analysis completed at nuclear reactor test site

Engineering consultant Frazer-Nash has completed analysis and design optimizations for the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) in France in support of the ITER Fusion test reactor project.

The ITER project is a pioneering scheme to demonstrate the capabilities of fusion nuclear power on a large scale. In order to initiate and maintain fusion, the plasma within the tokamak reactor needs to be heated to very high temperatures using Neutral Beam Injectors.

The Injectors comprise of several components that need to be held in place using adjustable beds and support structures made from steel. These could be subjected to structural stresses caused by rapid changes in temperature within the reactor or by seismic events. It is therefore vital for the safe, reliable operation of the reactor that the beds and structures can withstand such conditions.

Frazer-Nash’s work involved using its design and analysis capability to model the stresses under which the adjustable beds and support structures could be placed. First, initial designs of both parts were reviewed for suitability. Then the team applied advanced computational analysis techniques to subject the designs to worst-case loads and thermal-shock loads, in order to optimize the designs. This optimization process enabled the engineering consultancy to make significant improvements to the design of the support structures and adjustable beds, and deliver a fully compliant solution that would be suitable for use within the restricted space of the fusion reactor.

Construction work at the ITER site at Cadarache began in 2010. It is hoped the first plasma will be achieved in late 2019.

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