The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) Partnership

UKAEA and University of Sheffield partnership to drive development of fusion technology

image showing University of Sheffield researchers and employees with UKAEA employees outside the UKAEA Sheffield building

The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and the University of Sheffield are working in partnership to drive the development of fusion technology and the UK’s future fusion industry.

The collaboration has seen Sheffield appoint two Chairs in fusion research and development. Both roles are working to establish new research programmes to address global fusion challenges.

The position of Chair in Qualification for Fusion will address fundamental engineering challenges in the qualification of components, fabricated assemblies and systems for use within future fusion powerplants.

The position of Chair in Fusion Materials will focus on innovation in materials design and processing to improve powerplant performance and the decommissioning and recycling of new materials developed.

The University’s Faculty of Engineering will host the two Chairs and both Chairs will work closely with UKAEA staff and the University of Sheffield Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) in Rotherham, part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult, which helps to move cutting-edge research from universities into the commercial market.  

The Partnership

UKAEA has chosen to work with the University because of its expertise and track record in materials science, engineering and manufacturing research - Sheffield is one of the strongest universities in the UK in these disciplines, which are crucial for developing new low-carbon technologies.

As part of the partnership, UKAEA will also collaborate with the University’s UK-leading research in thermal hydraulics - a key research area in the development of fusion as an energy source. 

Along with many other framework agreements with universities and industry partners, the agreement aims to bolster the UK’s strong position in commercialising fusion energy as a major source of low carbon electricity for the second half of this century.

Fusion is the process which occurs at the centre of stars; it is the source of light and heat emitted by the Sun. 

Finance invested in fusion energy enables new materials and technologies to be developed that can benefit not just fusion energy, but also a wide range of industries including space, healthcare and decommissioning.

UKAEA’s mission is to lead the delivery of sustainable fusion energy and maximise scientific and economic benefit.

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