The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) has renewed its £9m ($11.4m) Engineering Design Services Framework with nine companies following a successful four-year delivery of various engineering and design desk-based projects. The companies which are part of the renewed framework are: Assystem, AtkinsRéalis, Demcon, Eadon, Frazer Nash, IDOM, Jacobs, M5tec and Optima.

The Framework supports the development of a UK industrial supply chain capability by allowing the companies to work closely with UKAEA as it undertakes fusion energy research. Colette Broadwith, Strategic Procurement Business Partner for UKAEA, said: “This framework has enabled UKAEA to work collaboratively and with maximum efficiency with the fusion supply chain. By renewing it for another four years, UKAEA can continue to leverage the engineering and technical expertise of our industrial partners to help accelerate fusion energy’s commercialisation, for the benefit of all.” She added that there will be continued opportunities for suppliers to collaborate with each other, and to utilise their supply chain on many of their initiatives.

The framework features companies with expertise in some, or all of the following disciplines:

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Process Engineering
  • Systems Engineering
  • Electrical, Control & Instrumentation Engineering
  • Computer Based Modelling
  • Specialist Nuclear Services

Successes from the last four years include work on the following:

  • Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP): Tritium transport and parametric breeder blanket modelling development, shielding concept design, heat transfer enhancement assessments and liquid metal armour design assessments.
  • Coolant flow loops: In-vessel component prototype verification, corrosion experiments, magnetohydrodynamic experiments and liquid metal technology assessment, research and development.
  • Breeder blanket concept designs: Development of example breeder blanket concepts focussed on maximising different high-level requirements.
  • Joint European Torus (JET): Preliminary design of JET’s graphite main processing system and ancillary systems for cutting divertor coils in the JET tokamak.
  • Fusion Innovation Challenge: A pilot project to tackle some of fusion energy’s most complex challenges. Click here to read the full article.

AtkinsRéalis said it had been appointed by UKAEA to deliver the detailed design of a world-first Isotope Separation System to strengthen research into sustainable fusion delivery. The Isotype Separation System will form part of UKAEA’s Hydrogen-3 Advanced Technology (H3AT) Facility, a unique tritium fuel cycle research facility to include a prototype-scale process plant and experimental platform. It is a scaled version of the design for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) under construction in France.

Stephen Wheeler, UKAEA Executive Director, said: “We are pleased to continue our partnership with AtkinsRéalis to deliver the Isotope Separation System at UKAEA’s H3AT Facility. This system will be the first industrial-scale tritium facility for fusion in the world and will enable industry and academia to study how to process, store and recycle tritium, a key fusion fuel.”

AtkinsRéalis has already completed the concept and detailed process design of the main H3AT facility, currently under construction at UKAEA’s Culham Campus, in Oxfordshire, alongside the concept and preliminary design of the Isotype Separation System. The AtkinsRéalis team will now deliver detailed process and mechanical designs for the system, including the vital cryogenic – and ambient temperature equipment that will be required to collect, process, and recycle the tritium fuel.

Jason Dreisbach, Head of Advanced Energy Technologies at AtkinsRéalis, said: “The Isotype Separation System is a key element to demonstrate fusion fuel cycle performance at scale, and we look forward to contributing our significant experience in fusion engineering and tritium to help realise UKAEA’s ambitions.”

AtkinsRéalis will incorporate the use of the latest digital technology, including 4D design, digital twinning and AR/VR simulation to optimise delivery and help researchers and academia to better understand the design and performance of the system.

An AtkinsRéalis-led consortium was appointed Engineering Delivery Partner for phase one of the UKAEA’s Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) programme, alongside AtkinsRéalis’s existing roles on the STEP programme as Power Infrastructure Partner, Commercial Pathways Partner, and Site Selection & Development Partner. AtkinsRéalis was also appointed to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory’s fusion programme in a multi-disciplinary engineering consortium and has also supported ITER since 2010 as Architect Engineer through the Engage consortium.