All ITER sub-systems of remote handling (RH) classes 1 and 2 have to be remotely maintainable. The maintenance strategy for these components has to ensure system availability after failure or scheduled maintenance. This paper shows how virtual reality (VR) simulation  can be used as a tool to analyze the maintenance process, to predict the mean time to repair and to ensure the RH compatibility of one ITER sub-system, the Upper Port Launcher (UPL) . Special emphasis is put on the development of RH procedures and the identification of tooling requirements. The possibility to Simulate RH logistics and repair actions in an early stage of the design process allows for the identification of those maintenance actions that require dedicated tests in the Launcher Handling Test Facility at Karlsruhe. The VR analysis. together with dedicated mock-up tests will demonstrate the RH compatibility of the UPL plug, provide input to the design of the Port Plug maintenance area in the ITER Hot Cell, and support the development of RH maintenance tooling. (C) 2009 Published by Elsevier B.V.