UK Atomic Energy Authority awards £6.8m of contracts for fusion energy development

The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) has announced that it has awarded contracts to seven organisations to develop solutions to fusion energy development challenges. 

The projects are all still at a ‘proof of concept’ stage and focus on digital engineering and fusion fuel requirements. The awarded groups were responding to challenges launched through the Small Business Research Initiative Competition as ‘Innovation Competitions’. 

The contracts are funded by UKAEA’s Fusion Industry Programme which was launched in 2021, and is part of the government’s £484 million support package for the science sector. The AKAEA says the programme is “stimulating growth of the UK fusion industry by developing technology and skills for the future global fusion powerplant market.” 

This announcement follows the award by UKAEA of 18 Fusion Industry Programme contracts earlier this year for the development new fusion materials, manufacturing techniques and innovative heating systems. 

The seven winning organisations include a range of start-ups, small-medium enterprises, established companies, and academia, including Full Matrix Ltd and the University of Manchester. 

Meanwhile, winning organisations that focus on reducing fusion powerplant fuel requirements by using hydrogen isotopes include Gencoa Ltd, AqSorption Ltd, IS-Instruments Ltd, the University of Bristol, and the University of Liverpool. 

The UKAEA also announced today that their joint-venture with the Science and Technology Facilities Council and Brookfield Asset Management awarded £300 million in financing to Harwell Campus in Didcot, Oxfordshire, to help build and expand their laboratory and office space. 

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