ITER reactor is the most prominent facility of nuclear fusion

TECFIR / UNED provides with nuclear analysis regularly to ITER


TECFIR / UNED and ITER Organization hold a Memorandum of Understanding to impulse common research activities and exchange researchers.

ITER reactor is a joint effort of 35 nations to build the first nuclear Tokamak. It is under construction in southern France, with an estimated budget of 24.000M€. It is considered the fifth largest scientific project attained by the human kind. It is the msot prominents effort ever made to develop the nuclear fusion to produce energy. The experimental campaign that will be carried out at ITER is crucial to advancing fusion science and preparing the way for the fusion power plants of tomorrow.

ITER will be the first fusion device to produce net energy. It is designed to produce a ten-fold return on energy (Q=10), or 500 MW of fusion power from 50 MW of input heating power. ITER will not capture the energy it produces as electricity, but—as first of all fusion experiments in history to produce net energy gain—it will prepare the way for the machine that can.

This feature makes the ITER design special. A radiation field from the plasma (neutrons and photons) will spread along the facility. The Tokamak and its hosting complex are being designed to shield and mitigate it, so it does not impact on the superconducting coils temperature stability, the electronics functioning, the optics performance and the maintenance tasks. This is where TECFIR is playing a role providing ITER with cutting-edge methodologies and analysis to support the decision making.

The ITER Tokamak presents over 50 access ports to the vacuum vessel, which host diverse systems: Diagnostics, Test Blanket Modules, Heating Antennas, Neutral Beam Injector and Cryopumps. All of them represent leakage paths for the radiation that must be carefully designed and shielded to minimize the radiation presence everywhere else.

Behind the access ports planned in-situ maintenance operations with human intervention are expected. This requires an intense work to reduce the radiation levels during machien shutdown as much as possible. TECFIR has conducted nuclear analysis for all these systems, and has been involved in different design review phases.

Once the radiation leaves the so-called "Bio-shield", it spreads along the Tokamak Complex, a seven storey building with approximate dimensions of 120m x 80m x 80m. TECFIR has been involved in the production of the radiation maps in the complex to support the decision making with respect to electronics allocation, in particular the safety-related equipments.

The aforementioned nuclear analysis requires sophisticated tools coupling complex phenomena, the involvement of High Performance Computing facilities, a deep understanding of the machine nuclear dynamics, and highly skilled analysts. Probably they can be considered as the most complex nuclear analysis activities worldwide nowdays. TECFIR is at the vanguard.


Courtesy of ITER Organization