For the last 10 years, Third Dimension has been working with the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) RACE (Remote Applications in Challenging Environments) department to facilitate the development of nuclear fusion by speeding up the MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) process of the world’s largest experimental reactor.
As the world's largest nuclear fusion power experiment, the JET (Joint European Torus) nuclear fusion tokamak1 is designed to harness energy with the intention of furthering the development of fusion power generation. Fusion is based on the same principle that powers our Sun and stars and is a key stepping stone towards a carbon free world in energy production.
Operated by the UKAEA at Culham Science Centre near Oxford for the EUROfusion consortium of European fusion scientists, the project started in 1983 and is at the absolute cutting edge of scientific development. Third Dimension supports quality control and MRO of JET with our advanced profile measurement systems.
When we originally started working with UKAEA, a third generation GapGun was installed onsite and used for inspection, in and out of the fusion rig. However, the GapGun, was upgraded last year to the recently launched Vectro system and has been specifically designed to be installed as an integrated robotic inspection tool. Already, Vectro has proven to deliver significant improvements to the speed and productivity of maintenance procedures for UKAEA. This has been achieved with the Authority’s MASCOT robot.
During operation, the reactor runs for 30 seconds every half hour, with scientists from around the world eagerly awaiting their data and test results.