New £22m UKAEA Facility Reaches Construction Milestone

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New £22m UKAEA Facility Reaches Construction Milestone

New £22m UKAEA Facility Reaches Construction Milestone

A new £22 million fusion technology site in Rotherham, South Yorkshire has reached a major milestone in its construction. The facility has aims to commercialise fusion technology as a major source of low-carbon electricity

External construction work on the building, which is being built to enlist industry and research organisations in commercial fusion development, has now been completed, according to a UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) press release.

The building, which is sited at the Advanced Manufacturing Park close to Rotherham and Sheffield, is expected to help develop and commercialise nuclear fusion, the process that powers the Sun, as a source of low-carbon electricity. While fusion power is non-renewable, it is much cleaner, with far fewer radioactive waste products than nuclear fission technology.

The centre will develop and test new technologies for fusion materials and components, for example, novel metals and ceramics, which will be evaluated under conditions simulating the inside of a fusion reactor.

The building is due to be handed over to the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) in September for the second phase.

The UKAEA says the site will help UK companies win contracts as part of ITER – the international nuclear fusion research and engineering mega-project, which will be the world’s largest magnetic confinement plasma physics experiment, being built in the south of France.

It will also 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.”

He added that the welcoming of UKAEA to Advanced Manufacturing Park gave credit to Sheffield and Rotherham councils, the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and developers Harworth Ltd.

Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region said that the Sheffield City Region is ‘a growing hub of innovation, expertise, and knowledge’, and the building of a low-carbon future is vital.

He added that following the pandemic, the facility will create new skilled jobs for the region, and increase opportunities for collaboration with neighbouring research centres and businesses, boosting the region’s economy, and renewing Sheffield’s world-leading specialisms in advanced engineering.

The 22,300 sq. ft facility is being built by Sheffield-based contractor JF Vinnegan on behalf of Harworth Group, a regenerator of land and property. It will comprise of two floors of office space, and a research laboratory on the ground floor.

Upon the handover to the UKAEA in September, it will be taking a 20-year lease with Harworth and create roles for 40 highly skilled professionals, and continue the authority’s working relationship with the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and Nuclear AMRC.

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