UKAEA and CFS to advance fusion energy

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UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) have announced a new trans-Atlantic agreement to advance commercial fusion energy.

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The five-year Collaboration Framework Agreement establishes the terms under which a series of projects between US-based CFS, from Massachusetts, and UKAEA will support the development of fusion energy and related technologies.

In a statement, Professor Ian Champan, UKAEA CEO said: “Achieving our shared missions to deliver low carbon and sustainable fusion energy involves working at the forefront of science, engineering, and technology. This new collaboration agreement with CFS will help push these developments and capabilities, drive innovation and accelerate progress.”

The scope of the collaboration could include operations teams sharing and learning best practices from fusion experiments; access to fusion-adjacent technology facilities including robotics; collaboration on fuel cycle technologies, neutronics modelling, systems integration models, advanced manufacturing, diagnostics, remote handling and remote maintenance; collaborative work to identify and answer emerging plasma physics questions.

Last month, the UK government confirmed that future fusion energy facilities will be regulated by the Environment Agency (EA) and Health & Safety Executive (HSE). This provides clarity to developers of prototype and demonstration fusion facilities currently being planned, including the UKAEA’s Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP).

“CFS and UKAEA have a mutual interest and strong belief that public-private collaborations such as this represent a way to accelerate advances in commercial fusion energy technology and support CFS’ plans to deliver commercial fusion as quickly as possible,” said Bob Mumgaard, CFS CEO.

“UKAEA is a leader in fusion energy research and CFS plans to establish a UK presence as we leverage the combined skills and talents of both organisations to develop the fastest path to commercial fusion power on the grid.”