News & Events-Appointed by ITER for the test blanket modules systems design integration solution

Frazer-Nash has been appointed by the ITER Organisation to optimise the design solution for the ventilation of the port cells which will hold the experimental Test Blanket Modules (TBM) Systems, which are test facilities to demonstrate self-sustained tritium production for future large-scale fusion power plants.

Due to the radioactive nature of tritium it is important the concentration within the TBM port cells is kept below the maximum acceptable limits, and at times can be reduced to low enough levels to allow entry to the TBM port cells for maintenance work. The port cell walls are predominately made from concrete - with a maximum operational temperature of 50 degrees centigrade - so it is therefore essential to find a way to ventilate the cells to keep the temperature down, as well as reducing the level of tritium contamination down to acceptable levels.

Using the consultancy's Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling expertise, as well as its work in the field of nuclear fusion, Frazer-Nash determined design proposals which satisfied the complex ventilation requirements for the three TBM port cells involved in this project, each of which had an associated ancillary cooling and tritium-extraction system.

Frazer-Nash's fluid dynamics work resulted in a number of significant findings, which will shape the ultimate design of the TBM port cells. The modelling work identified that heat release from the TBM systems equipment was relatively easy to control, but that tritium management was going to be essential to a successful design due to its radioactive nature. 

The proposeddesign enables tritium levels to be reduced to low enough levels for human access to the port cells within a reasonable timeframe, which will allow maintenance to be carried out between plasma operation cycles. The design also identified the optimum placement and operational conditions for the coolers within the TBM port cells based on the calculated heat release from the equipment, to ensure that the tritium within the system was well mixed and would be within the allowed levels for access to the system.

In addition, Frazer-Nash developed a number of empirical tools to calculate the drop-off in tritium levels during shutdown and the heat released from the TBM systems equipment.  This means that the effect of modifying the design can now be instantly assessed with no need to undertake additional CFD modelling, saving time and money in the future.

Phil Rogers, Senior Consultant at Frazer-Nash, said: "We are delighted to win the contract with ITER for this project. Through using our knowledge of the fusion energy sector and our modelling expertise we were able to create a design that ensured we were providing the client with an optimal solution that will also have time and cost savings for them in the future."