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Construction milestone reached at new fusion technology facility
External construction of a new £22m fusion technology facility in South Yorkshire has been completed, with the building being handed over to the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) in September to begin the second phase of fit-out.
The 25,000 sq. ft facility – located at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham – is strategically placed to engage industry in commercial fusion development and will join other companies on site including Rolls-Royce, McLaren Automotive, and both the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC).
Located at the heart of the UK’s advanced manufacturing region, the new base will bring 40 initial jobs to the area and foster increased collaboration with research organisations including the AMRC, NAMRC and The Welding Institute (TWI).
The key role of the new Rotherham facility will be to develop and test technologies for fusion materials and components – for example novel metals and ceramics. These will then be tested and evaluated under conditions simulating the inside of a fusion reactor, including high heat flux, in-vacuum, and strong magnetic fields.
It is hoped that the site will help UK companies win contracts as part of ITER – the key international fusion project being built in the south of France. Looking further ahead, it will enable technology development for the first fusion power plants, which are already being designed.
Damon Johnstone, head of UKAEA Yorkshire, said: “We are delivering the new facility at pace, with major milestones on building mobilisation and recruitment for the new facility proceeding to plan. There are exciting times ahead; the Fusion Technology facility in Rotherham will be unique in the world and as well as delivering cutting-edge R&D it will help to seed the development of a UK supply chain for fusion.
“We can’t wait to get going and have no doubt the hub of manufacturing excellence being created in the area will prove to be of great importance to the commercialisation of fusion power.”
Dan Jarvis, mayor of the Sheffield City Region, added: “The Sheffield City Region is a growing hub of innovation, expertise, and knowledge. Building a low-carbon future is one of the most important goals we can use those strengths to achieve. As we look to rebuild and renew following the pandemic, this facility will create new skilled jobs and opportunities for collaboration with nearby research centres and other businesses as specialist suppliers, boosting the region’s economy and highlighting our world-leading specialisms in advanced manufacturing.”