The UK’s Incoming Supply Chain For Fusion Technology

By Oliver Freeman
The United Kingdom’s economy is bouncing back with investments in fusion research from government bodies...

Harworth Group PLC announced, on the 5th October, the completion of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA’s) new, 22,300-square-foot nuclear fusion technology research facility, built at the Rotherham’s Advanced Manufacturing Park, South Yorkshire. Upon its opening, sometime in the coming months, the facility will be used to design, develop, and test joining technologies for fusion materials and components. This will include, but not be limited to novel metals and ceramics. 

The fusion technology facility will be in UKAEA’s control for twenty years and is being funded as part of the Government’s Nuclear Sector Deal, delivered through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Damon Johnstone, head of UKAEA Yorkshire, said: “This is another key milestone for the new facility hit on time and I’m delighted with the quality of what Harworth and its contractors have delivered. 

The modern facility is a fitting base for fusion technology as we ramp up our efforts to enable the delivery of sustainable fusion power. Our focus is now on mobilising our operation so we can begin to build our team.”

Associate Director of Major Projects for the facility creators, Harworth, Duncan Armstrong-Payne spoke to the media, stating that “delivering this unit on time and on budget despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the worst of the British weather shows Harworth at its best and we are delighted to formally welcome the UKAEA to the AMP. 

We will support the agency as strongly as we can to make their game-changing technology a reality to support the UK’s net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 target and have no doubt that their presence will attract parts of their supply chain to invest in the AMP and Sheffield City Region’s economy over the next few years.”

The new facility will test and evaluate the new joining technologies under the conditions experienced inside a fusion reactor, including high-heat flux, vacuum, and strong magnetic fields. As an overarching narrative, the site should drive forward collaboration in the region, with research organisations including the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre─both of which are also based at the Advanced Manufacturing Park─and The Welding Institute, looking to progress the nations nuclear development for the sake of future sustainability and environmental initiatives. 


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