An £86 million Government investment in the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA’s) nuclear fusion research programme – at Culham Science Centre – has been announced.
This investment (announced on 7 December) will fund the building and operation of a National Fusion Technology Platform at Culham, expected to open in 2020.
The new facilities will support British industry and help to secure around £1 billion in contracts from the key international fusion research experiment ITER – now being built in France – and other global fusion projects.
It will also enable UKAEA to develop technology for the first nuclear fusion power plants and put UK industry in a strong position to exploit the commercialisation of this highly promising low-carbon energy source.
The National Fusion Technology Platform comprises two new centres of excellence:
- Hydrogen-3 Advanced Technology (H3AT) will research how to process and store tritium – one of the fuels that will power commercial fusion reactors
- Fusion Technology Facilities (FTF) will carry out thermal, mechanical, hydraulic and electromagnetic tests on prototype components, under the conditions experienced inside fusion reactors.
The National Fusion Technology Platform will enhance the UK’s expertise in critical areas of fusion research, with significant benefits to the economy as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy.
The National Fusion Technology Platform is expected to create around 100 jobs at Culham Science Centre and many more in the wider nuclear industry supply chain.
Nigel Tipple – Chief Executive of OxLEP – said: “This is a significant announcement and demonstrates the global impact Culham Science Centre is making – and will continue to make – in the field of fusion research.
“Not only does this investment mean dozens of new jobs for Oxfordshire – but it’s further evidence that our economy is a key driver of ‘UK PLC’ and the Government’s Industrial Strategy.
“This follows the recent Science Innovation Audit for Oxfordshire that suggested the county’s four transformative technologies of; quantum computers, autonomous vehicles, digital health, and space and satellites – if fully-utilised – could be worth in the region of £180billion to the UK economy by 2030.
“Today’s announcement – in addition to this year's £65m Faraday Institution and £100m Rosalind Franklin Institute investments at Harwell Campus – shows that Oxfordshire truly has established global strengths and, as the Science Innovation Audit demonstrates, we have further international opportunities waiting to be unlocked.”
Head to the Gov.uk website for more information.