High and ultra-high vacuum (UHV) vessels are used to house components, processes and experiments in a huge variety of applications. These vessels come in all shapes and sizes, and engineering within tight spatial parameters presents its own unique set of challenges.
We solve problems in this field for clients in a range of industries, often in combination with other areas of Veolia Nuclear Solutions expertise, such as diagnostics and remote handling.
We specify and design high and ultra-high vacuum vessels to house sensitive and complex equipment and processes, under a variety of environmental conditions including extreme temperatures, strong and fluctuating magnetic fields, high voltages, and radiation. The bulk of our work in this field has consisted of projects within ITER, where the cleanliness of the environment is of the utmost importance for the processes taking place.
When a client proposes to operate an experiment, process or device in a vacuum, we carry out an extensive specification process. The specification is tailored to the requirements stated by the client at the beginning of the project, and it is agreed upon before any further work commences.
We carry out materials tests to suit the requirements of the project in question. This has to take into account potential temperatures, magnetic fields, voltages, radiation levels, the sensitivity of the kit involved, and any other operating factors that might affect the vessel or its contents.
After materials testing, and still before any construction begins, we carry out an extensive risk assessment with regards to maintenance. It’s important to answer these questions at this early stage, as the vessel may need to be sealed and remain unopened for a long period of time. This needn’t present a huge challenge for maintenance, so long as the right plans are laid in advance.