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7 June 2012

Engineering consultancy Frazer-Nash has successfully completed analysis and design optimisations for the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), in support of the ITER Fusion test reactor project.

The ITER project at Cadarache, southern France, 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 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 optimise the designs.

This optimisation 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.

Philip Rogers, Senior Consultant in the Nuclear New Build and Fusion Business Sector at Frazer-Nash, commented: “This work was undertaken as part of an ongoing framework support contract between Frazer-Nash and the CCFE that began in November 2008. Our extensive knowledge of designing for challenging and hostile environments using a range of design and analysis software meant we were able to make significant design improvements to key components within the reactor.

“The importance of nuclear fusion research has long been recognised by Frazer-Nash. We have an experienced engineering design team who work closely with our stress, seismic and thermal analysis teams to provide bespoke, fit-for-purpose solutions to our clients.

“Frazer-Nash continues to support the ITER project in other areas, such as fluid dynamics analysis and seismic qualification of the plant.”

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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