Central, retractable tubes are proposed in several Upper Port Plugs (UPPs) designs for ITER, to enable fast exchange of specific components of diagnostics housed in these UPPs. This paper investigates into possible designs to enable the efficient handling of tubes. The feasibility of tube handling is analysed by first reviewing the designs drivers. Several concepts for handling of the tube are proposed, exploring the limits described by the design drivers. Suggestions are presented for tube integration into the UPP design, concerning the tube mounting into the UPP, the load takeover and coping with the thermal elongation. It is found that the handling of tubes is feasible but still requires a lot of system level integration. Also, the added value of a tube as a feature in an UPP design to the availability of the subsystem the UPP is a part of, is questionable and needs further assessment on ITER system level. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.