Abstract A basic requirement for ITER equipment to meet is a high level of reliability, because ITER operation time is precious and radioactive operation leaves limited scope for repair. In order to reduce the risk of failure during ITER operation an effective risk mitigation strategy is necessary. This paper presents such strategy for the ITER electron cyclotron upper port launcher (ECUPL). A preliminary ECUPL risk analysis identifies possible failure modes. A probabilistic risk assessment quantifies the risk of failure using a 4 × 4 impact-likelihood matrix. Impact is quantified through technical, cost and schedule elements. Likelihood depends on the risk mitigation strategy adopted. A cost benefit analysis determines the most cost effective risk mitigation strategy. An essential element in risk mitigation is the testing of equipment prior to installation on the ITER machine. This paper argues the need for low- and highpower millimetre wave tests carried out on the fully assembled ECUPL. It presents a conceptual design for a dedicated on-site test bed that can handle 2 of 8 microwave beams at 2 MW long pulse operation.