UKAEA Culham Campus to host General Fusion plant

Canadian fusion energy company General Fusion has revealed plans to build its Fusion Demonstration Plant (FDP) at the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA)’s Culham Campus.

The agreement will see General Fusion enter into a long-term lease with UKAEA following the new facility’s construction. The FDP will demonstrate General Fusion’s Magnetised Target Fusion (MTF) technology and aims to pave the way for a subsequent commercial pilot plant.

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The MTF approach is different to the tokamak approach used in JET, MAST Upgrade and ITER, but UKAEA and General Fusion expect to collaborate on technologies of mutual interest.

Science minister Amanda Solloway described the project as ‘cutting-edge and transformative’.

“Fusion energy has great potential as a source of limitless, low-carbon energy, and today’s announcement is a clear vote of confidence in the region and the UK’s status as a global science superpower,” she said.

Construction on the FDP is expected to begin in 2022, with operations beginning approximately three years later. The plant is the culmination of more than a decade of advances in General Fusion’s technology and will be a ‘major milestone’ on its path to commercialisation, the company said.

“Coming to Culham gives us the opportunity to benefit from UKAEA’s expertise,” said Christofer Mowry, CEO, General Fusion. “By locating at this campus, General Fusion expands our market presence beyond North America into Europe, broadening our global network of government, institutional and industrial partners.” 

Ian Champan, CEO of UKAEA added: “This is a great development for UKAEA, very much in line with our mission to lead the development of sustainable fusion energy, and builds on our long heritage of hosting major fusion facilities such as the Joint European Torus.”