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In a new project with Tokamak Energy – a private company working to develop fusion power technology – HSSMI will be supporting the scale up of components for fusion energy reactors. Fusion energy is praised for its ability to deliver a low carbon, safe, continuous and effectively unlimited source of energy. It is seen as a key future energy source, although much remains to be done to achieve commercialisation.
In 2020, the UK Government invested £40 million to develop the next generation of nuclear energy technology, creating R&D and manufacturing jobs across the UK. Tokamak Energy was one of the beneficiaries of this funding, which is now helping the company advance the technology required for a commercial fusion device. Tokamak Energy develops spherical tokamaks and associated technology with the goal of developing the fusion power plant of tomorrow, while commercialising the technological applications today. In particular, the project helps facilitate the development of high temperature superconductors (HTS) and plasma facing components (PFCs), both of which are key challenges that need to be overcome for fusion to become a commercially viable energy source in the future.
Increasing Manufacturing Readiness
Tokamak Energy is committed to developing a commercial fusion demonstration reactor. In progressing towards this goal, the PFC technology must be upscaled and developed to a commercial quality, reliability, and durability for deployment. HSSMI’s knowledge and experience in scaling up manufacturing operations will support the project.
Although the spherical tokamaks and individual components produced by Tokamak Energy are fairly unique, HSSMI is well placed to apply its manufacturing expertise to support scale up and tooling requirements. These activities will support pre-production testing and eventually commercial production requirements.
Furthermore, HSSMI will help Tokamak Energy develop their own manufacturing engineering capability and develop steady-state and repeatable production processes and equipment. Working with Tokamak Energy, HSSMI will define a measurable quality assurance strategy and a roadmap for future scalability and product evolution.
Technological Advancements in the Advanced Modular Reactor Programme
The Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) programme will support the development of plasma facing components (PFCs) and high-temperature superconductors (HTS).
For plasma facing components (PFCs), advances are needed to ensure the components survive the heat loads and erosion from energetic particles from the plasma. The technologies and the associated analysis required for design are key for the development of any fusion device.
High-temperature superconductors (HTS) are an enabling technology for a Spherical Tokamak. The Advanced Modular Reactor programme will support the development of a range of technologies, including a cryogenic power supply for high-current magnets, error field correction coil designs, manufacturing tooling for large scale HTS magnets, a cryogenic rig for applying high compressive stress to energise HTS coils and a quench protection system methodology.
This project has been undertaken with funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
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