The UK Atomic Energy Authority this month confirmed several partners to help drive forward its ambitious STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production) program as it seeks to demonstrate the commercial viability of fusion power.
Led by Atkins and energy transition specialists Assystem, the Unit 1 engineering delivery partner will play a critical role in STEP’s ambitions to design and build a prototype scale fusion power plant. until March 2024. The partners will inform the development of the concept design for STEP, which is one of the key objectives of the program in Tranche 1.
Tristram Denton, Head of Business Development and Programs for STEP, said: “Fusion has great potential to provide secure, sustainable and low-carbon energy for generations to come, and STEP is leading the way. It is an ambitious program operating at the cutting edge of science, technology and engineering.
“It is clear that we need to make significant changes to address the effects of climate change, and STEP’s delivery partners will play a crucial role in our quest to make fusion a reality.”
Meanwhile, the UKAEA has partnered with Oxford Sigma (OS), Frazer-Nash Consultancy (FNC) and TÜV UK to train the next generation of fusion engineers to meet the technical challenges of commercial fusion power .
Training materials developed in conjunction with UKAEA partners will ensure that fusion engineers are equipped with state-of-the-art skills in the design and mitigation of radiation damage in fusion energy devices.
Terry Thompson, STEP Control Systems Manager, UKAEA, said: “Thanks to UKAEA’s collaboration with OS, FNC and TÜV UK, we have succeeded in bringing together a set of materials that represents the cutting edge in international understanding of radiation effects and good design practices, which will advance the development of the first fusion power plants and fusion power as a commercial reality.
Mark Anderton, Engineer at Oxford Sigma, added: “The skills and guidance provided in the curriculum we have produced in partnership with UKAEA, Frazer-Nash and TÜV UK are invaluable resources for the next generation of engineers. This is an exciting step towards achieving the merger while simultaneously supporting the young people charged with our future.
An announcement of the location of the STEP site is expected later this year following the UKAEA’s recommendation to the Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The STEP site will become a global hub for a wide range of engineering, technological and scientific expertise, paving the way for huge economic opportunities for the UK.
For more information visit: step.ukaea.uk