JFN Works With UKAEA, Supplying Key Components To The World’s Most Powerful Neutron Research Facility.

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Supporting the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) remote handling division RACE (Remote Applications in Challenging Environments), James Fisher Nuclear is manufacturing a suite of modular, radiation tolerant, electrical connectors. These connectors will be used in the high radiation ‘Hot Cell’ being built in the European Spallation Source (ESS) Active Cell Facility.  

The aptly named Hot Cell is where highly irradiated components from the experiments will be safely managed and provides critical downstream support for the ESS.

The ESS research facility is currently under construction near Lund in Sweden and is a multi-disciplinary research facility  that will house the world’s most powerful neutron beam linear accelerator; where researchers,  across a range of scientific disciplines,  are due to begin experiments in 2023.The ‘Hot Cell’ is a sealed and heavily shielded secure area and will handle and process irradiated components from the neutron source’s target station. The connectors JFN is providing are highly resistant to radiation damage and will be used to link the power manipulators, cranes and other processing equipment in the Hot Cell and allow them to be managed via a central control system. 

Mike van de Mortel, Systems Electrical Engineer for RACE, said “The connectors were fully compliant across all elements of the project and their modular, scalable design meant that any changes we needed were easy to accommodate. Visiting JFN’s manufacturing facility certainly impressed us and gave us the confidence to place not just this order but look to work with JFN over the longer term”

Designed to be flexible and cost-effective, the connectors are robust enough to be handled remotely by the in cell manipulators in high radiation environments. This will give RACE the scope needed to operate the large in-cell manipulators which will be cutting up and safely packaging for storage the highly irradiated 4.9-tonne 2.6m diameter tungsten target wheels and other irradiated components used in the ESS facility for many years to come.

JFN is pleased to be helping RACE and the UKAEA to enhance the UK’s reputation on the world stage for managing the unique challenges presented by radioactive materials safely and efficiently.  And, albeit in a small way, JFN is also helping the ESS project to achieve its scientific goals.