The current design of the Hot Cell Facility. The 130,000-cubic-metre building is a substantial, stand-alone structure that comprises four floors above ground and one full basement.
The Hot Cell Facility will be necessary at ITER to provide a secure environment for the processing, repair or refurbishment, testing, and disposal of components that have become activated by neutron exposure. Although no radioactive products are produced by the fusion reaction itself, energetic neutrons interacting with the walls of the vacuum vessel will 'activate' these materials over time. Also, materials can become contaminated by beryllium and tungsten dust, and tritium.
Heavy refurbishment operations within the Hot Cell Facility will be performed by remote handling systems capable of handling components up to the size of a school bus. The Hot Cell Facility will also house the remote handling equipment for simulation and rehearsal of operations.
In addition, the Hot Cell Facility will perform the removal of tritium from tritiated components and materials. This operation will be housed in a safe, confined, and shielded area containing analytical systems for tritium measurement, and a detritiation system for gaseous streams in order to minimize releases and waste.
All waste materials will be treated, packaged, and temporarily stored in the Hot Cell Facility before being handed over to the French authorities.