The spherical tokamak is a promising type of compact fusion machine, which has been under development since the 1980s. CCFE is about to start operating its new spherical tokamak, MAST Upgrade, opening an exciting new chapter in the drive towards practical fusion energy.
STEP is a phased programme to design and build a prototype fusion power plant, based on a spherical tokamak, by the early 2040s. It will develop and identify solutions to the challenges of delivering fusion energy, benefiting from the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s breadth of expertise and its suite of research facilities – RACE, Materials Research Facility, H3AT and Fusion Technology Facilities.
The STEP programme aims to:
- Build on the UK’s global leadership in fusion
- Deliver a prototype machine, paving the way for fusion power plants in the future
- Prove the commercial viability of fusion.
The UK government has announced £220 million of funding, launching STEP as a collaborative programme that combines the strengths of UKAEA with industry, universities and other organisations.
Over the next four years the STEP programme will:
- Create a concept design
- Understand the market and how the reactor will be built
- Choose a site for the prototype
- Enable and inspire the UK’s capability and capacity to deliver.
STEP offers numerous procurement opportunities, set out in the STEP Programme Procurement Plan Schedule (hosted on GOV.UK). This is published every quarter and sets out procurement opportunities as well as details of the responsible procurement officer who can be contacted for more information. Note that tender dates are subject to change.