Tokamak Energy and UKAEA will Work Together to Develop Spherical Tokamak Technology for Commercial Fusion Energy

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by KnowESG

Tokamak Energy and UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) have signed a framework agreement to allow for closer collaboration on the development of spherical tokamaks as a route to commercial fusion energy.

The five-year partnership will include coordinated technological development, shared use of equipment and facilities, and employee secondment between the two organisations. 

The collaboration will focus on materials development and testing, power generation, fuel cycle, diagnostics, and remote handling, among other things.

Chris Kelsall, CEO Tokamak Energy, said: 

“We are in a race against time to phase out the world’s reliance on fossil fuels and aim to deliver fusion as a clean, sustainable, low cost and globally available energy source. Tokamak Energy and UKAEA jointly recognise the importance of collaboration to accelerate the delivery of commercial fusion. We welcome the opportunity to progress knowledge, skill sharing and joint development opportunities with UKAEA, further boosting the UK’s world-leading fusion cluster.”

Professor Ian Chapman, UKAEA CEO, said: 

“Fusion has great potential to deliver almost limitless clean energy for future generations. This new agreement with Tokamak Energy will benefit both organisations and help advance our collective ambitions because together we are stronger. Fusion presents an exciting opportunity for the UK, and we’re proud our ground-breaking work here continues to drive innovation and progress as part of a thriving cluster.”

Both organisations have operating spherical tokamak devices, with Tokamak Energy's ST40 recently reaching the 100 million degree Celsius plasma temperature required for commercial fusion energy.

Tokamak Energy will shortly unveil its next device, the world's first high-field spherical tokamak demonstrating the full potential of high-temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets, which is expected to be operational in the mid-2020s. 

It will also demonstrate many sophisticated technologies needed for fusion energy and help shape the design of the company's first commercial fusion power pilot plant, which will demonstrate the ability to deliver net electricity to the grid.

The UKAEA's MAST Upgrade experiment paved the way for the organisation's ambitious STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production) initiative, which intends to design and build a prototype fusion powerplant capable of producing net electricity.

The STEP prototype powerplant will be planned and built in West Burton, Nottinghamshire, to demonstrate the capacity to put net electricity on the grid, setting the stage for future commercial fusion energy plants to be commissioned and built.

Source: Tokamak Energy

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