The team behind the complex engineering of UKAEA’s new fusion experiment, MAST Upgrade, have been recognised with a prestigious industry award.
The Royal Academy of Engineering’s (RAEng) Major Project Award was presented by David Eyton CBE FREng, Executive Vice President, Innovation and Engineering, BP to UKAEA’s Nanna Heiberg, in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal, at an awards ceremony in London on Tuesday 13 July.
In addition to Nanna, recipients on behalf of the whole MAST Upgrade team were Andrew Kirk, Director of Tokamak Science, MAST-U Construction Project Leader Joe Milnes, Richard Martin, MAST-U Operations Manager, and Paul Stevenson, Electrical Engineering Department Manager.
The accolade was presented in recognition of delivering a major engineering project which has a substantial impact on society.
The spherical tokamak design of MAST Upgrade offers the potential to provide a more efficient and cheaper method of providing fusion energy than other larger devices.
The team at Culham led the design and production of a complex and technically challenging exhaust system, the Super-X divertor, on MAST Upgrade. The system would allow components in future commercial tokamaks to last for much longer; greatly increasing the power plant’s availability, improving its economic viability and reducing the cost of fusion electricity.
Tests at MAST Upgrade have shown at least a tenfold reduction in the heat on materials in the exhaust area with the Super-X system.
Nanna Heiberg, who assisted Joe Milnes in the MAST Upgrade construction project, said: “This award is a wonderful recognition of the enthusiasm, perseverance and engineering innovation that has gone into achieving MAST-U. Everyone who has worked on MAST-U and been part of this incredible journey should be very proud of this award.
“I am very privileged and honoured to be selected to collect the award as a representative of the MAST-U team.”
Professor Raffaella Ocone FREng FRSE, Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering Award Committee, said: “The UK is the pioneer of smaller, cheaper fusion devices and the Award Committee was very proud to reward the engineers behind the success of MAST Upgrade. The project delivers such an important boost to plans for a prototype fusion power plant in the UK and ultimately the affordable and efficient delivery of a new and sustainable source of electricity.”
Previous winners include the engineers behind The Ordsall Chord, the Queensferry Crossing, the Shah Deniz 2 project, and the technology to communicate with the Rosetta spacecraft as it delivered the Philae probe onto the surface of a comet.
Below: The team talk with HRH The Princess Royal