Category Archives: Nuclear

Nuclear fusion

1.    FUSION: Advantages and CO2 reduction in energy production.

Fusion is a physical principle during which two nuclei combine to generate energy.

For a peaceful application, electricity would be generated through a reactor generating heat, which would then be transferred in a loop to activate a turbine.

There would be numerous advantages of this technology: CO2 free electricity production, minimal waste compared to FISSION reactors, unlimited “raw material” coming from the sea and intrinsic safety. If problems occur, switch off the reactor.

2.    Basic principle

Fusion is the process that occurs in the core of the Sun and stars. When we see light and feel warmth, this is the result of fusion reactions: hydrogen nuclei collide, fuse into heavier helium atoms and release considerable amounts of energy in the process. Fusion is the main source of life in the Universe. To reach an appropriate environmental condition at which the reaction can occur, different vacuum chambers have been developed with Tokamak reactors.

3.    TOKAMAK reactors

A Tokamak reactor is a vessel which uses a strong magnetic field to contain a plasma and ultimately produce a net energy output. It is shaped like a “donut”.

Tokamak stands for the Russian acronym of toroidal chamber with magnetic coils. This scientific device was initially conceptualised in the 1950s in Russia and built in several countries in the 1970s. The most powerful of them being built in UK, the Joint European Torus (JET).

In the 1980s the idea of an international project called ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) was proposed by Russia to the USA.

4.    ITER

ITER (“The Way” in Latin) is designed to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy. ITER is a large-scale scientific experiment that aims to demonstrate the possibility of producing commercial energy from fusion. It is the culmination of sixty years of fusion research, carried out on hundreds of devices all over the world.

ITER is also a unique international collaboration bringing together China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States – seven Members (35 nations).

The ITER Members have a shared responsibility to design, build and operate the ITER installation. Following the establishment of the ITER Organisation and a preparatory site, a unanimous decision was made in 2005 whereby the ITER Members chose a site in the South of France suggested by the European Union.

© ITER Organisation


  • A giant device weighing 23,000 tonnes. A fusion energy generating 500 MW of output power.
  • The World’s largest vacuum vessel, heavier than the Eiffel tower.
  • A plasma temperature of 150 million °C, x 10 the core temperature of the sun.
  • And when less than 10 metres away, there is a magnet temperature of -269°C (4K°).


Nowadays multiple initiatives are receiving funding. Some new projects have been launched in the US, in the UK and in China. Plasma is a question of density. To increase plasma density and release more energy than  required in order to initiate the plasma, some compression techniques are combined to magnetic confinement. The future reactor will be more compact, simpler, more stable and cheaper.


THERMOCOAX fully supports FUSION technology. Over the years and through projects like JET, we have accumulated experience and developed specific solutions for the FUSION reactor.

THERMOCOAX technology -Mineral Insulated cable- is ideal for harsh environments with fluctuating temperatures, high levels of radiation, a high vacuum or a high magnetic field.

THX can offer solutions such as:

CABLING: In-vessel cabling, penetration feedthrough

SENSORS: Temperature and magnetic field measurement

HEATING: Backing of small items or massive pieces of steel forming the vacuum vessel

Our integrated nuclear department (engineering, qualification, quality assurance, production) coordinated by our project department develops bespoke solutions, in which norms and regulations play a critical role.



Anticipate today on future nuclear supply chain standards to maintain highest requirement in term of safety culture, quality and competitiveness.

WNE will be coming up mid 2020. We are actively preparing our stand booth to warmely welcome you. While waiting for this great event, let’s share with you our paper on ISO 19443 and Skills & Knowledge Management. We had the pleasure to be part of the nominees’ list for the 2018 WNE award.

In an effort to be ready at the time of the implementation of this new standard, THERMOCOAX puts the emphasis overs the last three years on Skills & Knowledge Management.

How do we put it in practice? Hereafter a brief description of the organization we put in place.

COMEX commitment: On the supervision of the CEO, Mr Patrice GUILLON – Quality director- and Mme Michèle CHAUMONT -HR director- are promoting Skills & Knowledge management in the Group Management Manual. Nuclear business unit is related to our French entity THERMOCOAX SAS only but this Skills & Knowledge Management is considered at a group level.

Click here

From the beginning (integration of news staff), recruiting process defines clearly what are the responsibilities and Authorities.

Project after project, THERMOCOAX has developed proprietary solutions mainly based on our MI cable technology. To make them available to the engineering staff, Manufacturing skills are identified and listed. Mentoring of the engineering department new comers associated with training “on the field” in all workshop allows a comprehension of technics and their implementation difficulties and limits. An expert senior engineer is made available to ensure a smooth implementation of existing Manufacturing skills and their implementation in new designs.


Each COMEX member proposes through a yearly assessment and a CEO approval trainings to managers who in return are doing the same with their N-1.


On a yearly basis and based on specialized questionnaires on individual competencies so that competencies matrix can be updated and training plan defined accordingly. On an individual level, very specific skills and knowledge but also processes are followed individually through internal tolls developed on ACCESS & Excel.

In order to capitalise and materialize THERMOCOAX key Know How, the technical director is in charge of the definition of the core competencies of THERMOCOAX. This document has been initiated at the time of a very specific project where THERMOCOAX took a significant role in the development of a Post Fukushima sensor along with CEA / AREVA/ IRSN ( “Investissement d’avenir “ supported by French Government).


At a technician and operator levels, procedure are made to be directly understood; a picture being far more comprehensible than a long description. Both cumulated they facilitate operators comprehensions.



Under the responsibility of the technical director, it is the duty of the R&D department to anticipate on future requirement in term of Know Why and – through partnership with universities, research institutes (For instance: CNRT for advance material dielectric behaviour, SCK-CEN for In Core simulation related to Neutron sensors) to launch survey on fundamental knowledge on specific topics declared to be strategic and turn them into new technologies.



As a recognition of our expertise based on specialized technological components, THERMOCOAX has been entrusted of several Transfer Of Technology (TOT) by reputable companies like AREVA or GE.


 The nuclear safety culture is a fundamental part of our training cycle. All the actions launched by the Management demonstrate a firm commitment in this culture so that every individual understands its total responsibility in the nuclear safety.


Competitiveness On the basis of our identification of the knowledge and skills of our staff, we have in hand powerful tools to meet the most demanding requirements of our customers. Our methods of qualification of personnel directly related to the matrices of competences demonstrated their efficiency and their completeness. They are a means of effective differentiation for the selection of our company through the demonstration of our mastery of our know-how.

HAF 604 certification’s extension

THERMOCOAX is serving the civil nuclear Chinese market for more than 20 years as an authorized exporter for safety related components for nuclear power plant.

We are proud to announce that our HAF 604 certification has been extended by the National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) of People’s Republic of China) till 2022.

This certification initially issued in 2011 has been extended to additional product categories so that THERMOCOAX can now cover a wide range of I&C solutions in term of design and manufacturing of safety related CABLING and SENSORS for InCore and ExCore application.

THERMOCOAX will strengthen its position by providing more cabling for new reactor type like HUALONG, EPR or upgrade solutions for Gen 2 Nuclear Power plant.

作为核电站安全相关部件的授权出口商,THERMOCOAX在中国民用核市场服务了20多年。我们自豪地宣布,我们的HAF604认证已由中华人民共和国国家核安全局(NNSA)延长至2022年。2011年发布的这一认证已扩展到其他产品类别, Thermocoax现在可以在设计和制造用于堆芯和堆芯应用的安全相关电缆和传感器方面涵盖广泛的I&C解决方案。



HAF 604 certification
Copy of the HAF 604 certification

THERMOCOAX Nuclear department : 2018 highlights

DISCOMS project: a happy ending with promising results.

Following the FUKUSHIMA disaster, the French government decided to allocate some of its budget  to stimulate R&D in the field of nuclear safety and radiation protection.

investir l'avenir logo

The DISCOMS (DIstributed Sensing for COrium Monitoring & Safety) project aims at developing an innovative under-vessel remote monitoring instrumentation to improve NPPs safety in operation.

A team of reputable Research Institutes, universities and Industrial companies was formed to address the development of a remote monitoring solution able to improve the safety of Nuclear Power Plants and strengthen the third containment barrier in case of a severe accident with a reactor breakthrough and corium release.

Long-length Self Powered Nuclear Detectors have been developed to identify the reactor core debris progression, the erosion of the concrete floor, as well as to monitor the corium cooling.

After multiple simulations and theoretical validations, a complete system (sensors + electronics) has been tested with corium and has demonstrated its technological readiness.


Safety Culture

 Nuclear culture award


THERMOCOAX was distinguished with a  Safety Culture award from Rolls Royce. In 2019, THX will continue its effort to improve working practices and place safety as a main priority.


 Skills & Knowledge Management

 At the WNE, THERMOCOAX was nominated for an award in the “Skills & Knowledge Management” category.

In its Quality Assurance Manual, THERMOCOAX takes into account the requirement  presented in the ISO 19443.

One goal: anticipate chain standards for future nuclear supply today to maintain the highest standard of safety culture, quality and competitiveness.

“During Rolls Royce Nuclear supplier days” sounds unnatural in English but difficult to amend without knowing meaning of source text.


In-Core water level detector

Over the last decade, THERMOCOAX has developed a range of Ex-Core accident resistant cabling systems and In-Core instrumentation assemblies for Gen 3 reactors.

Based on THERMOCOAX unique expertise and taking profit of the extreme robustness of its MIneral Cable technology, THERMOCOAX has developed, tested and qualified a Reactor Pressure Vessel Level (RPVL) detector.

Before making the detector commercially available, THERMOCOAX has partnered with SIET ( to verify detector functionality at normal and abnormal conditions.

Some results have been published during the latest BEPU 2018 Conference. Click here to read an abstract

THERMOCOAX Nuclear team remains available for further information.

THERMOCOAX to build Magnetic Diagnostics Flux Loops Cable Assemblies for ITER

THERMOCOAX, the expert in nuclear cabling systems and instrumentation ,has been awarded a contract by ITER.

THERMOCOAX will manufacture Magnetic Diagnostics Flux Loops Cable Assemblies. This innovative cable assemblies will be based on Mineral Insulated cable technology and will be installed in the ITER Vacuum Vessel.

This project represents an important milestone in THERMOCOAX nuclear business unit expansion and pave the way for others applications in FUSION reactors.

THERMOCOAX offers support to its customers through the design, delivery and support phases of a program.


THERMOCOAX has over 60 years of expertise in cabling solutions and instrumentation. It provides solutions in the world of nuclear, aerospace and semicon industries. It design, qualify and manufactures sensors for harsh environment with a focus on nuclear on cabling solutions and connectors.

About ITER

ITER (“The Way” in Latin) is one of the most ambitious energy projects in the world today. 35 nations are collaborating to build the world’s largest tokamak, a magnetic fusion device that has been designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy.
The heart of a tokamak is its doughnut-shaped vacuum vessel. Inside, under the influence of extreme heat and pressure, gaseous hydrogen fuel becomes a plasma.


THERMOCOAX rewarded by Rolls-Royce

THERMOCOAX received Certificate of excellence from Rolls Royce Civil Nuclear in recognition of efforts placed in the Quality control of signal transmission projects.

Quality performance requires constant effort and dedication to reach the highest standards of Nuclear Industry.

THERMOCOAX has demonstrated once again our the ability to reach superior achievements in the demanding Nuclear market.



CNPRI and THERMOCOAX have been awarded a contract for early 2017 to provide the InCore Instrumentation of HUALONG reactor (HPR1000).

In continuation of this contract , CNPRI and THERMOCOAX have this week signed a cooperation agreement for the next HUALONG reactors. This agreement is paving the way of future common successes in reactor I&C.



The interview (in Chinese) of our CEO in the webzine : La Lettre ECO du GIIN

Thermocoax总裁Dominique Mallet访谈录

Thermocoax的HAF 604 认证已被中国延至2022年。值此之际,总裁Dominique Mallet接受了GIIN的采访。



DM 在结束国际工业集团任职后,我于2013年年底加入Thermocoax。当时,和这个行业内的众多企业一样,我们面临着全球核市场的不确定性。当时我们的目标之一便是保留技术产品和重大项目中的专业技能,同时拓展国际业务。Thermocoax旗下共有260名员工,分布在4个生产基地(其中包括诺曼底核电专用基地)以及2个产品专业中心。在这些中心实现新产品的开发、设计和工业化流程。中心立足于我们的旗舰技术 – 矿物绝缘电缆、加热硅胶产品以及测量和信号传输系统。





DM 事实上,自1957年公司成立以来,核电一直是我们的精髓。当时公司命名为核能研究与开发股份公司(Société Anonyme d’Etudes & réalisations nucléaires)。1982年之后,公司更名为Thermocoax。我们核工业的真正开端始于法国的CEA和美国的通用集团。随后,我们多次携手Framatome、 Areva和EDF开展硕果累累的合作。时至今日,我们是已安装稳压器电加热元件数量居首位的公司。



DM 共分为三部分:1/3分配至核工业,1/3分配至航空/太空版块,1/3分配至优质产业。我们并非依赖于某一特定部门的业务循环。每个部门均配备专门的认证资质。我们的优势在于,所提供的产品并非依照产品目录,而是依靠定制需求,这也有助于强化企业的可持续性。




DM 上世纪80年代,公司在Framatome的引领下,首先参与中国的大亚湾项目。如今,随着中国自主权的不断增强,我们与当地的主要电力运营商、工程公司和工程总承包公司合作,并建立起强大的合作网络,这些公司也逐渐成为我们的直接合作商。

2016年底,我们和当地供货商展开合作成为了中广核工程公司(CGN)首个 “华龙”机组的中子测量仪表组件供应商,这一领域之前曾被俄罗斯供应商所占据。


公司近期宣布已延长中华人民共和国核安全管理局的HAF 604认证。您可否解释一下该认证?REX对此如何应对呢?

DM – HAF 604认证旨在认可境外公司的贡献。该认证用于确认和管理参与中方项目的供应商群体。这是必不可少的一环。同时,该步骤也遵循自愿的原则,因为认证需要非常行业性和细致性的证明,并且,我们也希望保护公司的技术。





DM –是的,核工业也有所涉及。今年将有40名员工加入集团。订单数量整体增长超过30%。我们在寻找技术专家方面颇为艰难。我们招聘生产、工业和工程师贤才。



DM –目前全球核工业已转移至中国,日后将转移至印度。整个行业均面临着巨大的机遇,同时需要接受一些挑战,诸如争议性、实现自身竞争优势、远程保障性能和交付标准,以及应对当地合作商的质疑。就本国和欧洲市场而言,我们需要一个良性而充满活力的生态系统,这也涉及到政治层面,以便推进我们拓展新的领域。



关于Thermocoax NDLR


该企业在法国设有两个生产基地(其中一个基地专门致力于核电),在德国和美国均设立工厂。70 %的产品用于出口。


The interview (in English) of our CEO in the webzine : La Lettre ECO du GIIN

Interview with Dominique Mallet, President of Thermocoax

Thermocoax’s HAF 604 certificate has been extended by China until 2022. On this occasion, its president, Dominique Mallet, is accommodating the GIIN.


How would you describe yourself and Thermocoax in a few key words?

DM – I joined Thermocoax at the end of 2013 after a career within international industrial groups. At this time, just like numerous other companies in the sector, we were faced with the uncertainty of the global nuclear market. One or our objectives then was to maintain our expertise in technical products and major projects, while developing internationally. Thermocoax has a wealth of 260 employees spread over 4 production sites – one site of which is dedicated solely to nuclear in Normandy – and 2 product expertise centres. In these centres we undertake the development, design and industrialisation of new solutions. They are based on our flagship technology – the cable with mineral insulation – silicone heating products, the measuring system and signal transmission.

In 2016, our turnover reached € 40 m.

Apart from these products, that which sets us apart from our competitors is the creativity and flexibility that we associate with the robustness of operation of much larger scale businesses.


Historically, the first activities of the company Thermocoax concentrated on the nuclear industry. What were the first customers to put their trust in you?

DM – That’s true, nuclear has been in our DNA since the company was created in 1957. The company was then called Société Anonyme d’Etudes & Réalisations Nucléaires (Nuclear Design & Realisation). It is only since 1982 that the company has taken on the name Thermocoax. Our career in the nuclear industry really started with CEA in France and GE in the United States. We then worked a lot with Framatome then Areva and EDF, with which we have continued to maintain useful cooperation. And today, for heating elements for use in nuclear “pressurisers”, across all platforms we are the number one company in terms of installed equipment across the world.


Today, what is the distribution of your activities between nuclear, aeronautical and space?

DM – This distribution is split into three thirds: one third for nuclear, one for aerospace and one for premium industries. We are therefore not tributaries for the cycles of any particular sector. We have specific certifications for each of these sectors. Our strength is in our capacity to provide bespoke products rather than from a catalogue, which helps strengthen the sustainability of our company.

With regard to nuclear, we are working a lot on instrumentation systems, particularly to measure physical quantities in the reactor core, such as temperature, neutron flows or even measuring the water level…


You have been on the Chinese market for more than twenty years. Can you tell us a bit more about your success in the Middle Kingdom?

DM – The company was first brought in by Framatome on the Chinese market with Daya Bay in the eighties. Today, with the increasing autonomy of China, we have built and maintain a robust network with local players – the major electrical operators, engineering companies and EPC – which are increasingly becoming our direct contacts.

At the end of 2016, a new market opened for the supply of neutron measurements for the first ‘Hualong’ plants of the CGN group, on which we based our position in partnership with a local player. We didn’t win this since the Russian players were the awarded this project.


You recently announced that the nuclear safety administration of the People’s Republic of China has extended your HAF 604 certificate. Can you explain to us what this certificate consists of? What experience feedback can you give?

DM – The HAF 604 certification aims to recognise the contribution of foreign-owned companies. Its role is to validate and inspect a pool of suppliers capable of being present on Chinese projects. It’s an indispensable door-opener. But it is also a voluntary approach, because it is a certification that needs very detailed rationale, and, on the industrial level, we are also seeking to protect our know-how.

Obtaining this certification, and not only this, by the way, is a good strategy that is paying off for us today. Due to the capability of working on several construction codes, for example, our company supplies China and is lining up to India and the USA. That is not even to mention our participation in

the HPC programme in Britain.

The situation in Russia is different: the market, mature and very closed in terms of technology, is self-sufficient. Our approach on this market is solicitous and opportunistic.


You pointed out during the Bourget 2017 fair that Thermocoax was going to launch a recruitment campaign this year. Do these recruitments also concern your nuclear activities?

DM – Yes, the nuclear activities are also concerned. 40 people are joining the group this year. We are achieving a growth of + 30 % in orders overall. We still have difficulty recruiting for technical posts. We are seeking candidates for production, industrialisation and engineering.


To conclude, what is your vision of the nuclear sector in terms of service-providing companies? How do you think it is going to develop, particularly on the international level?


DM – The global nuclear market has moved to China today and will be in India tomorrow. Our entire sector, faced with this great opportunity, has the challenge to increase and assess our competitive advantages, to guarantee performance criteria remotely and to supply and to seek out local partnerships. At the national and European level, we need a favourable and dynamic ecosystem which includes the political level, to be able to make arrangements for new territories.

With regard to innovation within Thermocoax, we have signed up to the major players of the sector within a development phase: through partnerships with EDF, projects with the CEA and Areva. We are working on solutions for tomorrow’s nuclear safety. Finally, based on the good practices of EDF, we can change the specifications of other electricians for more reliability and safety. We are therefore completing K1 60 years certification for our primary coolant loop instruments.


About Thermocoax – NDLR –

Thermocoax is a medium-sized French company specialising in thermal solutions and sensors for harsh environments for the nuclear and aerospace industries. One of the company’s strengths is its expertise in the manufacture of cables resistant to a temperature of up to 2000°C. This technology has allowed unique solutions to be developed.

The company has two production sites in France, one site of which is entirely dedicated to nuclear and workshops in Germany and the United States. 70 % of the production is exported.