New Fusion Futures Programme gets £650m injection

A major new funding package has been announced for UK fusion, supporting more than 2,000 training places as well as a new fuel cycle testing facility.

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The £650m Fusion Futures Programme was unveiled at the IAEA Fusion Energy Conference by Nuclear Minister Andrew Bowie. Alongside the new skills programme and fuel cycle facility, the package will also fund fusion component R&D, expansion of the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) campus at Culham, and a Fusion Industry Programme to support the UK’s burgeoning private fusion sector.   

“Delivering fusion power will require ideas to solve science and engineering challenges, involvement of industry partners, development of thousands of skilled people and strong international partnerships,” said Professor Sir Ian Chapman, CEO of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).

“Fusion Futures will invest in all of these aspects – a truly concerted programme that will support economic growth and high-quality jobs as well as advancing fusion as part of a future sustainable energy mix.”

The £650 million package for the Fusion Futures Programme will include:

  • up to £200m for a Fuel Cycle Testing Facility, to develop technology in breeding fuel for fusion power plants
  • up to £200m for fusion component R&D 
  • up to £50m for expanding the Culham campus in Oxfordshire
  • up to £55m for a Fusion Skills Programme, to train over 2,200 people over the next 5 years
  • up to £35m additional funding for the Fusion Industry Programme (FIP)
  • up to £25m to enhance international collaborations on fusion R&D
  • up to £18m for a Technology Transfer Hub
  • up to £11m to further support the STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production) programme

“Engineering the science of fusion will require collaboration across the industry to strengthen future supply chains and train a workforce equipped to deliver future fusion programmes,” said Jason Dreisbach, head of fusion for UK & Europe at AtkinsRéalis, which is the lead engineering delivery partner on STEP.

“The UK has been at the forefront of research and innovation in fusion technology for decades; investing in skills, research and facilities in a coordinated programme will build a stronger supply chain in the UK and benefit the international fusion community as it works together to realise the potential of fusion in a zero carbon energy system.”