UK fusion materials roadmap launched by Culham-based UKAEA

Close out Vessel Photographs – May 2011

The UK’s Atomic Energy Association (UKAEA), based at Culham Science Centre near Abingdon, and The Henry Royce Institute are working with The Institute for Manufacturing in Cambridge to define a UK Fusion Materials Roadmap.

It is part of Henry Royce’s second major roadmapping exercise, designed to stimulate and drive new advanced materials research in the UK. The programme is funded by EPSRC and targets a number of pressing national materials challenges.

Developments in fusion materials are vital for the international and domestic projects, due to be completed in the next 10-20 years, which will pave the way for future power plants.

Amanda Quadling, UKAEA Director of Materials, said: “The roadmap will be a national tool to identify materials and capabilities to deliver commercially viable fusion.”

Paul Methven, UKAEA Director of STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production), added: “The UK Fusion Materials Roadmap is fundamental to delivering a prototype fusion energy plant, STEP.  Without viable materials and an understanding of their behaviour under the most challenging of conditions, our mission to realise fusion energy, the power source of the sun, here on earth will not succeed.  And yet, to tackle the greatest global crisis of all, climate change, our mission must prevail.  This roadmap shows the way to that success.”

Francis Livens, Professor of Radiochemistry and Academic Director of Dalton Institute, University of Manchester: “With fusion moving towards a demonstration of power generation, and the challenges laid down by the Energy White Paper, it is the right time to look at the materials we need to deliver deployable fusion power, and this roadmap will be a vital guide to their development.”

Chris Grovenor, Professor of Materials at the University of Oxford: “Developing the right materials to enable the design and successful demonstration of practical small fusion power plants will be a transformative project for the Materials Science community in the next 10 years – similar in impact to the growth of single crystal turbine blades for aircraft engines or materials for the integrated circuit.