Amec Foster Wheeler to work on simulator to validate ITER reactor and train operators


Amec Foster Wheeler has announced that it has been appointed to carry out design development work on an integrated plant simulator for the ITER nuclear fusion reactor.

The company will draw up technical specifications and implementation plans for the simulator alongside three subcontractors: the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), Fortum and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd.

Greg Willetts, Vice President for Consultancy at Amec Foster Wheeler’s Clean Energy business, said: “We are delighted to have been asked to lead this work, which will play an important part in preparing for the integrated operation of the ITER machine. This contract award demonstrates the depth of expertise in Clean Energy’s software and consultancy services team, which develops and licenses its ANSWERS radiation transport computer codes to a wide range of clients. These codes are currently used to support all stages of the nuclear fission plant operational cycle and we now have the opportunity to extend their application to a full-scale nuclear fusion facility.”

The simulator will bring an integrated approach to the training of operators and will support the commissioning and operation phases at ITER, which is building the world’s largest nuclear fusion machine at Saint-Paul-lès-Durance in the South of France.

To validate the design and the design modifications, plant simulators are being developed for the heating, plasma and cryogenic systems. The integrated plant simulator is vital in understanding the behaviour of the full ITER machine because it provides the capability to simulate how these interconnected systems interact.

This contract adds to Amec Foster Wheeler’s existing work at ITER, which includes a 10-year construction management contract, remote handling and robotics for the neutral beam, conceptual design and engineering for a remotely-operated cutting and packaging system to reduce the volume of waste, design of a remotely-operated rail and trolley system for maintenance and inspection of the cryostat and studies into decommissioning and decontamination.