Studsvik and NRG join forces to support the nuclear qualification of materials used in ITER


View of the 3 ITER equatorial Ports allocated to TBM testing (2 TBMs per test port), and part of their connection to ancillary systems. Image: Courtesy ITER Organization

A contract between Studsvik and NRG has been signed in October regarding the qualification of a steel that presents itself as a candidate material for the blankets of future fusion reactors.

This contract stems from the collaboration between Fusion for Energy (F4E), the European organisation managing Europe‚Äôs contribution to ITER, and Studsvik, the Swedish company with a proven track record in areas such as waste treatment, consultancy services and fuel and materials technology for the nuclear industry. 

It is envisaged that ITER, the biggest international collaboration in the field of energy, will explore the viability of fusion and operate as a test bed for these blanket mock-ups.F4E is responsible for the design, manufacturing and delivery to the ITER site of these European high-tech components.

The materials in fusion reactors will be exposed to neutron irradiation, which can have a negative impact on their performance.Therefore, NRG will irradiate specimens in the High Flux material test Reactor in Petten (HFR) under controlled conditions, up to neutron dose levels representative of what can be expected, in the ITER facility.

After irradiation, the material samples will be transported to Studsvik for post-irradiation examination and characterisation of the materials.These tests and examinations will be conducted to quantify how far neutron irradiation affects fatigue properties, fracture toughness, creep, and mechanical properties of this potential structural material for blankets of future fusion reactors. 

NRG and Studsvik are looking forward to supporting the nuclear qualification of potential materials and components for future fusion reactors and to fostering a successful partnership together.The successful partnership of the two SMEs is another example of the potential contribution made by companies that are small in size but big in innovation.