UK’S FIRST FUSION TECHNOLOGY FACILITY OPENS IN SOUTH YORKSHIRE
Published 24 September 2021 at 11:50am
A ground-breaking new Fusion Technology Facility, which has the capability to test components in the simulated conditions of a fusion power plant, is now open and operating in South Yorkshire.
The Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham was chosen by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) as the ideal location for the new 25,000 sq. ft. fusion energy research facility, which will create 60 highly skilled jobs in the South Yorkshire area. The facility received £2.2m investment from the Local Growth Fund (LGF) towards equipment purchase and set-up costs.
Dan Jarvis MBE MP, Mayor of South Yorkshire, said: “We’re delighted to welcome UKAEA to the Advanced Manufacturing Park. This is a hugely significant development, which further enhances South Yorkshire’s expertise on a world scale for the development of innovative technologies for the advancement of materials.”
“This facility has the potential to create many high value jobs in the local supply chain as fusion technology matures, as well as a number of high value jobs in the region in the coming months.”
The pioneering facility will be involved with the development of technologies for fusion materials and components and includes the CHIMERA (Combined Heating and Magnetic Research Apparatus) test rig – the only device in the world that has the ability to test prototype components in an environment that simulates the conditions inside a fusion power plant. Within the UKAEA facility, component prototypes will be subjected to a combination of high heat and magnetic field within a vacuum environment, as well as thermal cycling.
Damon Johnstone, UKAEA’s Head of Operations, Fusion Technology Business Unit and Head of the Fusion Technology Facility, said: “CHIMERA is a unique world-first facility in which we will be able to simulate the extreme conditions found within a fusion power plant, but without any nuclear reactions taking place.
“This will enable a step change in our ability to test components for all UK and international fusion research programmes. It therefore represents a hugely important national capability, enabling industry in the UK and internationally to design, and eventually qualify, components for future commercial fusion power plants.”
Located alongside innovators including Rolls-Royce and McLaren Automotive, the new facility will see UKAEA working with industrial partners as well as the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), and the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC). UKAEA’s aim is to put the UK in a strong position to commercialise nuclear fusion as a major source of low-carbon electricity in the years ahead.
The facility has been funded as part of the UK government’s Nuclear Sector Deal delivered through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), with an additional £2m of investment coming from the Sheffield City Region’s Local Growth Fund.
For more details about South Yorkshire as a region to relocate or to invest, visit the website www.scrinvest.com.
About South Yorkshire
We are the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA).
Led by Mayor of South Yorkshire Dan Jarvis, we bring together the local authorities of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield and the private sector through our Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
The Mayor, MCA and LEP have a shared purpose to create a stronger, greener, fairer South Yorkshire. We work together to unlock the potential of our people, businesses and places and ensure they prosper.
Our Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) provides the blueprint for how we will transform our region. We will keep people and businesses moving and help them grow, delivering a world-class public transport network and attracting investment to create a stronger, greener, fairer South Yorkshire by 2040.
Our vision is to grow an economy that works for everyone. We will develop inclusive and sustainable approaches that build on our strengths in innovation and embrace the UK’s 4th Industrial Revolution, to contribute more to the country’s prosperity and enhance quality of life for all.
We have powers and resources, devolved from Westminster to South Yorkshire, which mean we can take decisions locally about our economy, transport, skills, housing and infrastructure.
We use these to create a vibrant, thriving South Yorkshire where people want to live and work.
We attract new investment to our region. We build the conditions for inclusive economic growth which benefits everyone. We help create good jobs, by backing businesses to grow, invest and locate in South Yorkshire.
We support people so they have the training and skills to find work, remain in work or progress in work. We help businesses secure the skills they need to be more productive and grow.
The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) carries out fusion energy research on behalf of the UK Government at Culham Science Centre in Oxfordshire and at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham.
Fusion research aims to copy the process which powers the Sun for a new large-scale source of clean energy here on Earth. When light atomic nuclei fuse together to form heavier ones, a large amount of energy is released. To do this, fuel is heated to extreme temperatures, ten times hotter than the centre of the Sun, forming a plasma in which fusion reactions take place. A commercial power station will use the energy produced by fusion reactions to generate electricity.
Fusion has huge potential as a long-term energy source that is environmentally responsible (with no carbon emissions) and inherently safe, with abundant and widespread fuel resources.
UKAEA is now designing the UK’s first prototype fusion power station, STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production), targeting operations in 2040.
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