Fusion test facility to open in Yorkshire
Posted on 14 Oct 2019 and read 899 times
The UK Atomic Energy Authority is to open a £22 million fusion energy research facility in Rotherham next year to engage industry in commercial fusion energy development.
The facility will see UKAEA working with industrial partners to put the UK in a strong position to commercialise nuclear fusion as a major source of low-carbon electricity in the years ahead.
It will foster increased collaboration with research organisations including the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC).
It will be sited at the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP), alongside existing occupiers that include Rolls-Royce and McLaren Automotive (plus both the AMRC and NAMRC).
It will be funded as part of the Government’s Nuclear Sector Deal, with another £2 million of investment coming from Sheffield City Region’s Local Growth Fund.
The key role of the facility will be to develop and test joining technologies for fusion materials and components — for example, novel metals and ceramics.
These will then be tested and evaluated under conditions simulating the inside of a fusion reactor (including high heat flux, in-vacuum, and strong magnetic fields).
It will help UK companies to win contracts as part of ITER — the key international fusion project under construction in France. Looking further ahead, it will enable the development of technology for the first nuclear fusion power plants, which are already being designed.
Colin Walters, director of the National Fusion Technology Platform at UKAEA, said: “Momentum is growing in fusion research, and we believe the opening of this facility in South Yorkshire represents a practical step towards
developing power plants.
“It will provide fantastic opportunities for UK businesses to win contracts and put UKAEA in a great position to help deliver the necessary expertise for the first nuclear fusion power stations.”