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Reference Number EP/W006839/1
Title UKAEA / EPSRC Fusion Grant 2022/27
Status Started
Energy Categories NUCLEAR FISSION and FUSION (Nuclear Fusion) 100%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 70%;
Applied Research and Development 30%;
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Physics) 50%;
PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Metallurgy and Materials) 20%;
PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Computer Science and Informatics) 20%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 10%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Professor I Chapman
No email address given
Culham Division
United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA)
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 01 April 2022
End Date 31 March 2023
Duration 12 months
Total Grant Value £14,000,000
Industrial Sectors Energy
Region South East
Programme UKAEA Fusion Funding
Investigators Principal Investigator Professor I Chapman , Culham Division, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) (99.998%)
  Other Investigator Ms S Manhood , Culham Division, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) (0.001%)
Dr N Walkden , Culham Division, United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , University of Oxford (0.000%)
Project Contact , Swansea University (0.000%)
Project Contact , University of Cambridge (0.000%)
Project Contact , University of Manchester (0.000%)
Project Contact , Lancaster University (0.000%)
Project Contact , University of York (0.000%)
Project Contact , Science and Technology Facilities Council (0.000%)
Project Contact , Fusion for Energy (F4E), Spain (0.000%)
Project Contact , Henry Royce Institute (0.000%)
Project Contact , ITER Systems Inc (0.000%)
Project Contact , EUROfusion (0.000%)
Project Contact , Princeton University (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract As energy demand increases and the impacts of climate change worsen, fusion offers the prospect of abundant, agile, low-carbon, baseload supply. During the next five years, fusion reaches a defining period. ITER - a ~20BnEuro megaproject that will demonstrate fusion is possible on a commercial scale - begins operation, whilst JET - for forty years the world's premier fusion facility - ceases operation. In parallel, governments and private investors are funding fusion powerplant design driven by the imperative to address climate change. The UK government stated that the UK has a 'moral responsibility to lead on climate change', having legislated to deliver 'net-zero' greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, committing to "doubling down on our ambition to be the first country to commercialise fusion energy technology" by establishing the STEP programme to build a prototype compact powerplant by 2040. The UK has also associated to the Euratom Research programme, remaining a full participant in ITER and the EUROfusion DEMO programme, the world's largest powerplant design effort, targeting fusion electricity 20 years after ITER begins high power operations. Whilst STEP and DEMO are comprehensive powerplant design programmes, there are considerable technical uncertainties without known solutions that must be overcome in parallel. This proposal will address these science and technology challenges, innovating to make designs easier and cheaper, reducing uncertainties in design, working with world-leaders from other sectors to exploit digital design methods that accommodate inherent uncertainty, and developing powerful new models based on fundamental theoretical developments. This differs from normal development paths - where the underlying science is resolved before the design proceeds or where small-scale demonstrators are possible - and thus presents very deep challenges: How can robust choices be made in the face of considerable uncertainty? How do we bridge the gaps between feasible experiments and the environment inside a powerplant, when empirical demonstrations are too slow and costly? How do we proceed without experimentally substantiated solutions in each discipline of an integrated design? This programme will confront these questions with multi-disciplinary research and innovation that builds on the UK's unique breadth of capability in fusion, targeting fundamental advances in the most demanding technical challenges:a) The confinement of a fuel at 150 million degrees over long timescales - we will lead the final high-power experiments in JET for ITER;b) The exhaust of excess heat at levels well above those experienced by a re-entrant spacecraft - we will test a novel exhaust solution on MAST Upgrade and develop new high-performance models to bridge the gap from MAST-U to a powerplant;c) The resilience of materials which will surround the most intense neutron source on Earth - our Materials ResearchFacility will enable examination of irradiated materials properties to test and develop world-leading models of materials behaviour;d) The ability to design, manufacture and qualify fusion components without a full demonstrator plant - with industry, this programme will target new advanced manufacturing techniques and testing capabilities in our new Fusion Technology Facilities;e) A solution to breed, extract, use and recycle the necessary inventory of tritium with minimal loss and accurate accounting - the new H3AT facility will enable development and demonstration of tritium systems at a representative scale;f) The requisite availability to produce a viable cost of electricity - we will develop novel maintenance solutions for powerplants in our RACE facility; and, g) The ability to design a power plant fully 'in silico' in lieu of empirical demonstration - a growing advanced computing programme will allow us to exploit the benefits of exascale computing to bridge the gap from today's physics to tomorrows powerplant
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 20/04/22