Amec Foster Wheeler to build French fusion reactor's remote-control system

Amec Foster Wheeler (AFW) has been awarded a seven-year contract with Fusion for Energy (F4E) that amounts to approximately $78 million, AFW said on Monday.

The contract calls for AFW to develop and deliver the Neutral Beam Cell Remote Handling System, to be used at the ITER fusion reactor at Cadarache in southern France.

 The system will play a key role in establishing nuclear fusion as a viable power source in the future. The ITER uses Neutral Beam injectors to heat plasma within the fusion reactor to the necessary heat level for the reaction to take place.

The internal systems in the reactors must be maintained, repaired and handled remotely to protect employees.

“This contract demonstrates our leading expertise in nuclear remote handling and robotics,” Clive White, president of AFW's Clean Energy unit, said. “It also highlights the key role we have in developing future nuclear technologies while continuing to support the existing nuclear fission power industry.”

Pietro Barabaschi , F4E's acting director, said robotics is a discipline that is capable of yielding many applications, specifically within the realm of nuclear power and managing nuclear energy.

"Thanks to this collaboration, leading innovators will be joining forces to deliver high-end engineering for ITER’s maintenance system and will push forward know-how in robotics," Barabaschi said.