The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and the private Japanese fusion company Kyoto Fusioneering (KF) have signed a Communication Framework Agreement to advance tritium breeding blanket technology from its conceptual stage towards commercialisation. It also lays the for future collaboration on thetritium fuel cycle, as well as remote handling and power conversion technologies.

Kyoto Fusioneering is privately funded start-up founded in 2019 out of Kyoto University's nuclear fusion research. It is based in Tokyo and Kyoto with offices in Reading (UK) and Seattle (USA). The company is focused on developing advanced technologies for commercial fusion reactors, including gyrotron systems, tritium fuel cycle technologies, and breeding blankets for tritium production and power generation.

Kyoto Fusioneering CEO Satoshi Konishi said the company had aspirations “to expand the global impact of our technology beyond Japan”. He added: “We hope our collaboration will take the best of public and private sector ambitions and capabilities, to deliver a better result than each of us could have achieved alone."

UKAEA Executive Director Stephen Wheeler said: "Fusion energy promises to be a safe, low carbon and sustainable part of the world’s future energy supply. Kyoto Fusioneering has expanded its skills and capabilities in the UK and Japan and this partnership provides us a means to access them in both locations."

In March 2023, UKAEA and KF signed a collaboration agreement to develop fusion related technologies. The first project involves development of a ‘fusion-grade’ silicon carbide composite system (SiC/SiC), which can be used as a structural material inside a fusion machine. The work will explore the stability of the composite under simulated fusion conditions.

UKAEA has awarded KF has several contracts to provide its expertise and services, most notably as a member of the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) Interim Engineering Delivery Partner consortium. KF was also selected as Tier 1 supplier in 2021 under the UKAEA Tritium Engineering Framework for the STEP fuel cycle.