News & Events-Frazer-Nash skills resonate with fusion experts


Systems engineering consultancy Frazer-Nash has competitively secured a contract with Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) to provide them with a thermal and structural analysis package, in support of the ITER Organisation's planned nuclear fusion reactor.

In order to initiate and maintain fusion, the plasma within the reactor is heated to very high temperatures.  A proportion of the energy required to heat the plasma is delivered via the Ion Cyclotron Resonant Heating (ICRH) System.  The ICRH antenna emits radio frequency (RF) which resonate with ions within the plasma, in a similar way to how a microwave oven works, but the ICRH provides 20,000 times more power inside the extreme environment of the reactor vessel. 

The antenna is the last part of a large system delivering RF power to the plasma, and comprises of complex, internally water cooled, stainless steel and titanium components.  It is of vital importance for the safe and reliable operation of the reactor that the antenna components can safely withstand the extreme operating conditions generated within the reactor.

CCFE appointed Frazer-Nash to undertake a structural analysis study on the ICRH antenna components due to the consultancy's technical expertise in dynamic structural analysis and familiarity with design codes in the nuclear sector. 

Frazer-Nash's work has involved using its analysis capabilities to model both static and dynamic component stresses under thermal, pressure and electro-magnetic loads.  This process will help CCFE to better understand the ICRH antenna's performance against key loadcases at the preliminary design stage and to therefore progress forward to the detailed design phase.

Nigel Doyle, Senior Consultant at Frazer-Nash, said: "We are delighted to have secured this contract through the framework we have with CCFE and to be using our nuclear fusion and analysis expertise to support them with this work.

"We have recognised the importance of nuclear fusion research for a number of years and have an experienced team that can provide bespoke analysis packages that can meet the requirements of our clients."

Mark Shannon of Culham Centre for Fusion Energy said: "We look forward to working with Frazer-Nash to understand the antenna performance at this crucial stage of the design, and utilising their analysis resources to pinpoint areas for further design optimisation during the next phase of antenna development."