It's not easy containing a plasma at 150o
C. Our Sun, fortunately, cannot keep energy to itself, even though it is 10 times cooler but scientists running theInternational Tokomak Experimental Reactor
(ITER) require a vessel that must not be breached if their research into nuclear fusion is to succeed.
Phoenix Inspection Systems of Warrington is designing and building ultrasonic non-destructive testing equipment that can be used to check the quality of the welds on the ITER vacuum vessel, where the high temperature fusion plasma will be held.
The doughnut-shaped vessel — 15m high and 25m diameter — will be made of nine segments of an austenitic alloy that will be joined either by tungsten inert gas welding or electron beam welding.
The challenge for
To get around inside ITER's doughnut the
'Narrow gap welding processes make for more rapid production with less use of filler metals,' said
The company, which specialises in developing machines for the nuclear and power sectors, has been awarded a €320,000 (£220,000) contract to design and build the prototype.
Managing director Karl Quirk believes there is a good chance that the machine, when finished next summer, will actually be used on the finished ITER vessel when it is constructed at