Blog | Big science, Fusion, Technology

The ITER Simulation Platform Project is a Success!

David Pahor

Fusion power plants take a long time to be designed and built, and the experimental tokamak of ITER is no exception. The latter will be the world’s first nuclear fusion power plant to maintain long-duration fusion while producing net energy.

Logically, the organisations or companies responsible for deploying these power plants would want to optimise their construction efforts much as possible, for example, by performing some essential activities and programmes in advance, using simulations.

After a highly competitive bidding process which included leading simulation companies from ITER member states, in May 2021, the ITER Organization awarded the contract for the supply of the platform for its Fusion Plant Simulator. The consortium, formed by Tecnatom and Cosylab, won the contract based on their technical competence and experience in the fusion domain.

Consortium leader Tecnatom is an expert in nuclear engineering, especially in providing inspection and structural integrity services, operation-personnel training via full-scope simulators and plant-operation support engineering.

Cosylab is a global controls-system specialist for Big Science, Industry and Radiation Therapy and authority on the ITER CODAC (Control, Data Access and Communication) system.

ITER’s Fusion Plant Simulator: Uses and Features

The simulator developed with Tecnatom’s and Cosylab’s platform will not only be used for training operators but will also contribute to facility design and construction, providing engineering support and serving as a tool for reviewing operating procedures.

The co-simulation strategy is one of the development foundations of complex facilities such as ITER. The Fusion Plant Simulator platform will be versatile, flexible and modular enough to integrate third-party models under the FMI co-simulation standard and models developed with Tecnatom’s simulation technology, TEAM_SUITE. Finally, the simulator will also incorporate the CODAC Plant Control System, ITER’s brain and nervous system.

The Road Travelled

It has been more than a year since the project Fusion Plant Simulator at ITER began with the First pilot case aimed at demonstrating the viability of the technological approach. Various process models were integrated under the FMI co-simulation standard, connected with logic models, developed with Tecnatom TEAM_LOGIC simulation technology, and linked to operation screens in the CODAC environment.

In the second stage, ITER technical staff will be educated in Tecnatom’s TEAM_SUITE simulation technology, which will be critical in the simulator development process. This way, personnel shall be trained both in the use of the simulator and in developing and integrating simulation models.
In the project’s third phase, among other things, the consortium will establish the foundation for developing the models for the logic and control of the entire cryogenics plant. Proceeding with the TEAM_LOGIC simulation technology, the library of all the essential functions for the implementation of instrumentation and control models of the cryogenics plant will be developed.

What the Future Holds for the Simulator

Once the first three phases have been completed, ITER will launch the fourth task order for the ITER Simulation Platform Project. The latter will cover the modelling of the instrumentation and control of the cryogenics plant, thanks to the previously developed libraries. Tecnatom and Cosylab hope to continue adding value and knowledge to ITER for a long time to come!

“Tecnatom and Cosylab have really hit it off as the technology partners who are contributing to the realisation of the ITER Plant Simulator Platform Framework. Our teams have established synergistic collaboration, shown ITER a high level of flexibility, worked with high technical proficiency, and delivered quality solutions. After successfully completing the “Pilot case” in 2023, the work continues in 2024 with the simulation and integration of the first Cryogenic Sub-system.”

Robert Modic, Strategic Account Manager at Cosylab

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