How to design the ITER Hot Cell?
Work is currently ongoing at ITER to refine the layout of the Hot Cell Building—the building located adjacent to the ITER Tokamak that will provide shielded areas for the manipulation of "hot," or radioactive, components during the assembly, commissioning, de-activation and dismantling phases of ITER.
Once operation at ITER begins, in-vessel components and remote handling equipment will be transported to the Hot Cell Facility to be cleaned, refurbished, maintained or stored. Most of these operations within the Hot Cell Facility will be carried out remotely by operators working from the Control Room.
What volume needs to be reserved for the cranes and remote handling tools capable of manipulating components weighing up to 100 tonnes? What is the best trajectory for the sealed transfer casks that will run between the Tokamak and Hot Cell Facility Buildings?
Twelve members from the multi-departmental team involved in Hot Cell layout at ITER were invited last week to visit CEA Marcoule and the ISAI decommissioning facilities. There, they witnessed new-generation remote handling tools in operation, and had hands-on experience of handling and lifting in a nuclear environment.
ITER delegates visited CEA's virtual reality room where, equipped with 3D glasses and captors, participants tested telemanipulation. At the robotics platform, they saw cutting performed in a nuclear environment at the laser cutting station. Experiencing these recent tools in action will serve as a reference to the ITER team as it continues to conduct design studies. Possibilities for cooperation were discussed, including test cutting at Marcoule using ITER materials like tungsten.
At the ISAI (Installation de Surveillance des Assemblages Irradiés) facility, the delegation viewed examples of handling and lifting in a nuclear environment. The ISAI facility is currently undergoing assessment by the French nuclear regulators. Sharing in the feedback from this experience will be useful for ITER planners.
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