JET is the world’s largest experiment on thermo-nuclear fusion, the energy producing process which takes place in the sun.
Over time, high-energy neutrons render all components and support structures of the reactor radioactive. Furthermore many plasma facing tiles are covered in beryllium, which, if breathed in as dust, poses a further hazard to anyone working inside the reactor. Therefore, JET always placed great emphasis on its Remote Handling group, to ensure a maximum of tasks can be carried out fully remotely.
The JET machine is a complex device whose detailed configuration changes as the physics experimental requirements dictate. The Remote Handling system is required to fulfil two functions:
- Repair of any system whose failure stops the experiment
- Modification of torus components for new experiments
Experience shows that remote handling interventions achieve higher precision and introduce less impurities than sending men inside the torus did in the past.