In the frame of the Engineering Validation and Engineering Design Activities (EVEDA) phase of the International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (IFMIF) project, a supporting lithium loop has been designed and is currently under construction at Oarai (Japan) with the main objective to test several technological solutions to be adopted in the future IFMIF plant. Among these, the lithium target system represents one of the most critical components as it will be exposed to high-energy intense neutron flux and consequently to severe irradiation damage rates (up to 60 dpa/fpy). For this reason, it must be designed for periodic replacement. The solution proposed by ENEA is based on the so-called back-plate bayonet concept which consists of a replaceable element that can be inserted to and removed from the permanent structure of the target assembly by means of a sliding-skate mechanism. Recently, the design of the bayonet back-plate has been revised and some important modifications have been introduced in order to improve its functionality and optimize its features in terms of compactness, robustness and remote maintainability. Several design solutions have been conceived to achieve better performance including smaller overall dimensions, sealing load reduction, gasket retention system improvement, positioning and centering effectiveness and optimized detachment mechanism. Moreover, a new variable-curvature geometry for the lithium channel profile has been calculated using an analytic approach based on the simplified Navier-Stokes equations in order to avoid the fluid dynamic instabilities evidenced in the old profile. In this paper, the new design features of the back-plate are presented, along with the main outcomes obtained from the engineering assessment performed so far. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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