Nuvia and consortium partners secure the single biggest-ever fusion energy robotics deal

UK Company Nuvia Limited is at the forefront of cutting-edge technology to develop solutions to the world’s future energy needs. It has now, as a consortium team member, secured the largest fusion energy robotics contract to date. Fusion for Energy, the EU organisation responsible for the European contribution to ITER, has signed a multi-million-pound deal with Airbus Safran Launchers, Nuvia and Cegelec CEM to develop robotics equipment for ITER, one of the world’s most ambitious energy projects.

Trajectory of the equipment from the ITER machine to the maintenance hall ITER IO ©

Illustration of human figure standing next to an ITER cask F4E ©

Cut-away image of the ITER machine showing the casks at the three levels of the Tokamak building ITER IO ©

Worth nearly 100 million EUR, the deal will see state-of-the-art remote handling equipment become designed and supplied to ITER, the world’s largest experimental fusion facility. The prestigious project unites seven parties (China, Europe, Japan, India, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the USA), which together represent 50% of the world’s population and 80% of the global GDP.

The high-tech remote handling systems will support the maintenance and repair of the ITER fusion experiment, where space is extremely limited and the exposure of some of the components to radioactivity prohibits any manual intervention inside the vacuum vessel. The transfer of components from ITER’s vacuum vessel to the Hot Cell building, where they will be deposited for maintenance, will use approximately 15 huge double-door containers known as casks, some of which will weigh 100 tonnes when transporting the heaviest components.

Resembling a conventional shipping container, these casks will be remotely operated as they move within the different levels and buildings of the facility. The overall system is known as the ITER Cask and Plug Remote Handling System. It is underpinned by a variety of leading technologies which must comply with stringent nuclear safety requirements. Proven manufacturing experience in similar fields and the development of bespoke systems to perform mechanical transfers is therefore essential.

As this Engineer, Procure, Construct (EPC) contract covers the detailed design, procurement, manufacture, Factory Acceptance Testing, installation, on-site integration and testing, Nuvia’s calibre as an international project management organisation, supported by a wealth of experience across these disciplines, will be vital to this complex and challenging project.

See the progress of the ITER construction

Commenting on securing this major contract, Keith Collett, CEO of Nuvia Limited, said:

We are delighted to have been awarded this significant framework alongside Airbus Safran Launchers and Cegelec CEM. The ITER project is at the forefront of research to develop solutions to the world’s future energy needs. We are pleased, as a UK company, with Millennium as part of the Nuvia Group, to be playing such a key role in this important global objective. Contributing to world-leading science and research projects is central to Nuvia’s strategy. This contract requires full EPC project delivery. It is gratifying that we have been recognised for our proven capabilities as an international project management organisation, supported by our wealth of experience across multiple disciplines. Our mission now is to safely and successfully deliver to our client’s expectations.

UKAEA Head of Business Development, Martin Townsend, explained his thoughts on supporting Nuvia in this significant project:

We are really excited to be supporting Nuvia in the development of the Cask & Plug system for ITER. Partnerships between fusion research laboratories and industry are essential to develop the new technologies necessary for ITER’s success. The Cask & Plug system will be a first of a kind material transport system between the fusion reactor and its maintenance facility – there will be technical challenges to overcome, but I am very confident our collective experience will find creative solutions.