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Temperature Monitoring goes nuclear!
The SR Mini has been successfully used in the latest experiments by JET - the world's biggest machine for studying fusion - at the Culham Science Centre in Abingdon, Oxfordshire. The installation of the SR Mini overcame heating problems encountered in the previous stage of experimentation. JET, standing for Joint European Torus, is the flagship of the European Fusion Programme aimed at developing a new, safe and vast source of energy for the future. It possesses environmental and safety advantages over all current alternatives for base load generation.

In the nuclear operation the gaseous fuel is heated to a high temperature and becomes plasma. TC Ltd became involved after the fibre optic cables, which transmit essential data on the condition of the plasma, became cloudy as a result of the fuel mixtures used. The only way to prevent this was installation of specially heated fibre optic cable with a multi-zone control and alarm system.

The SR Mini was the ideal system for this application. Involving a European workforce of 700, JET provides data critical to the design and operation of the next step machine ITER, or International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. Each stage marks a further step towards commercial fusion power stations. In a fusion reaction energy is released when light atoms are fused together. Fusion power requires deuterium, a form of hydrogen extracted from water, and tritium, a form of hydrogen that does not occur naturally and has to be manufactured using lithium. Heated to high temperatures, the nuclei of these atoms fuse together releasing helium and high-speed neutrons. A commercial fusion power station will use heat generated by
the neutrons and slowed down by a blanket of denser material to generate electricity.

Scientists have declared nuclear fusion to be an extremely important long-term energy supply. The reaction does not cause any environmental damage or atmospheric pollution, no radioactive materials need to be transported or processed off-site and the system is inherently safe. Even an accidental release of tritium would not have any effect beyond the boundary of the power station site. JET engineers found the SR Mini to be unique in its modular and miniature construction without any compromise to its performance.

The control/alarm modules are DIN rail mounted with up to 20 advanced PID control loops on a single power supply and communications module. Up to 16 communication modules may be connected to a single serial port, giving a maximum of 320 control loops. Other controllers were too bulky or not compatible with JET's PC driven control system.

The SR Mini also features a range of monitoring, alarm and digital input/output modules for a range of thermocouple, RTD and analogue process inputs. It is simple to install, configure, commission and operate and is easily linked to a PC and/or MMI and/or PLC for control, monitoring and data acquisition. Linking software chosen for the JET application was the Specview SCADA package that features a unique self-configuring start-up mode allowing very fast configuration by the user.

The SR Mini temperature monitoring and control system from TC Ltd is playing a key role in a revolutionary nuclear fusion project.
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Tel. 01895 252222. International. +44 1895 252222
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