Validating suitable welding for ITER TBMs

There are many interests vested in ITER Test Blanket Modules (TBMs). Europe has developed two types of TBMs that will be located at the 16th equatorial port of ITER. Each of them will consist mainly of a steel box containing the tritium breeder, neutron multiplier materials, as well as a series of heat extraction plates. During the last two years, technicians have had to manufacture mock-ups of these boxes in various sizes, in order to identify the best welding techniques that will be applied at the time of production. F4E together with a large group of partners have successfully developed a preliminary welding procedure on a full size mock-up of the TBM box measuring 1.7 x 0.5 x 0.7 m.

The challenging task was carried out using a TIG welding robot to carry out the welding operations in the tight and limited space of the box. In order to cope with any distortions resulting from the operation, and to keep the surface of the box intact without damaging any of its internal channels, special clamping tools were designed and used during tests.

The exploration of welding procedures is expected to come to an end during the next two years.
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