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Tue June 18 2024

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AtkinsRéalis to design UKAEA’s tritium processing facility

22 May The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) has appointed AtkinsRéalis for the detailed design of a world-first isotope separation system.

CGI of the Hydrogen-3 Advanced Technology (H3AT) facility
CGI of the Hydrogen-3 Advanced Technology (H3AT) facility

The isotope separation system will form part of UKAEA’s Hydrogen-3 Advanced Technology (H3AT) facility, a tritium fuel cycle research station with a prototype process plant and experimental platform.

H3AT will be a scaled version of the design for Iter, the international nuclear fusion research and engineering project aimed at creating energy through a fusion process similar to that of the sun.

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 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 H3AT facility will be a first-of-a-kind research facility to strengthen UK and international efforts to advance tritium fuel cycle technology. 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.”

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UKAEA executive director Stephen Wheeler said: “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. Fusion energy has great potential, not only as a source of abundant, low-carbon energy, but as a driver of economic activity for UK industry.

“By partnering with organisations like AtkinsRéalis, UKAEA is developing industrial fusion capability, which will enable the UK to become a global exporter of fusion technology.”

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

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