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A new fusion energy advanced prototype with power plant-relevant magnet technology will be built by Tokamak Energy at United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) Culham Campus, near Oxford.

Tokamak Energy’s compact spherical tokamak, ST80-HTS, will demonstrate multiple technologies required for the delivery of clean, sustainable fusion energy. This includes a complete set of cutting-edge high temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets to confine and control the hydrogen fuel, which becomes plasma many times hotter than the sun.

Constructing the new purpose-built facility at UKAEA’s Culham Campus, part of the thriving UK Fusion Cluster, provides the company with access to leading science and engineering capabilities, including knowledge and experience in designing, constructing and operating the record-breaking Joint European Torus. 

It further builds on the framework agreement signed by Tokamak Energy and UKAEA in October 2022 to enable closer collaboration to develop spherical tokamaks as a route to commercial fusion energy.

Designs for the new facility are underway in partnership with construction consultants McBains, with build completion planned for 2026.

Chris Kelsall, Tokamak Energy CEO, said: “Today’s exciting announcement is a major step forward on our mission to demonstrate grid-ready fusion energy by the early 2030s. Our next device, ST80-HTS, aims to validate key engineering solutions needed to make commercial fusion a reality and will showcase our world-class magnet technology at scale. It’s clear public and private partnerships of this nature will be a crucial catalyst for fusion to deliver global energy security and mitigate climate change.”

Professor Sir Ian Chapman, CEO, UKAEA, said: “Our ability to host major facilities extends right across the supply chain from design to decommissioning. The announcement is testament to Culham’s attractiveness for fusion development as we welcome Tokamak Energy to the cluster on the Campus.”

Tokamak Energy’s ST80-HTS will target the significantly longer pulse durations needed for sustained high power output in commercially competitive fusion power plants. It will also inform the design of its ST-E1 fusion pilot plant, which will demonstrate the capability to deliver electricity into the grid in the early 2030s – demonstrating up to 200 MW of net electrical power.

Tokamak Energy’s current ST40 fusion device in nearby Milton Park, Oxfordshire, has recently been upgraded to enable experiments relating to future features that will be incorporated in both ST80-HTS and ST-E1. Last year it achieved a 100 million degrees Celsius fusion plasma – the highest temperature ever recorded in a compact spherical tokamak. 

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