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Rolls-Royce to help develop nuclear fusion energy in the UK

4th June 2020

By: Rebecca Campbell

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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UK-based industrial technology group Rolls-Royce has been awarded a four-year full-service engineering design framework contract by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA). The contract means that Rolls-Royce will help deliver multi-disciplinary projects for the UKAEA. The company will provide mechanical engineering, process engineering, electrical control and instrumentation, minor structural design engineering, computer-based modelling and simulation, and specialist nuclear services, support.

The UKAEA is the British government agency responsible for research and development in the field of nuclear fusion power. The purpose of the framework contract is to aid the development of nuclear fusion energy. “This is a really exciting opportunity for us to help deliver a key part of the planet’s long-term low carbon power supply,” enthused Rolls-Royce Executive VP Chris Tierney.

One of the programmes the UKAEA is currently working on is the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) project. This aims to design and build the world’s first compact fusion reactor by 2040. The new framework contract, with Rolls-Royce and other companies, could, for example, help develop a feasibility study or a concept design for STEP.

“This framework will be a key means for UKAEA to access the highly-skilled supply chain offered by the winners,” said UKAEA procurement head Paula Barham. “All the successful tenderers are to be congratulated for winning a place on a hotly contested framework. We look forward to working with Rolls-Royce, as well as with all the other framework winners, as we seek to solve the huge technical challenges presented by the development of sustainable fusion energy.”

“We have 60 years of experience pioneering fission-based power, including small modular reactors, as well as systems and components for the nuclear industry,” pointed out Tierney. “We feel a very strong connection to UKAEA’s purpose and mission and will be bringing Rolls-Royce’s combined experience in innovation and product development, as well as nuclear know-how, to help deliver UKAEA’s programme goals.”

Concerning fission-based nuclear power, the company is currently providing heat exchangers and back-up power stations for the UK’s Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, being built in the English county of Somerset. Rolls-Royce also supplies instrumentation and control systems to about 50% of the world’s nuclear reactors. 


Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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