The UK Atomic Energy Authority runs the UK’s fusion research programme at its Culham Science Centre in Oxfordshire. Fusion offers the potential for abundant, clean and safe electricity in the second half of this century. UKAEA operates the world’s largest fusion experiment – JET, for European fusion researchers and the UK’s own, innovative fusion machine MAST-Upgrade.
UKAEA has also built up a world leading technology programme, which has resulted in two major new facilities in robotics and materials recently being constructed: RACE (Remote Applications in Challenging Environments) and MRF (Materials Research Facility) – both of whom work with industry and academia in key areas of fusion and fission research and other high tech industries.
The Culham Centre for Fusion Energy leads the Fusion APOD. A key design challenge for a future fusion power plant is Plasma Facing Components (PFCs), which are able to withstand high heat loads, maintain their structural integrity, offer resistance to neutron irradiation and provide minimal impurities to the fusion plasma. Additive manufacture potentially allows novel component architectures to deal with these problems. CCFE have investigated the feasibility and benefits of using both powder and wire-based AM techniques to manufacture a PFC concept prototype, demonstrating the feasibility of AM with refractory metals. High heat flux testing on the unique HIVE facility, built at CCFE under AMAZE, has highlighted the potential benefits of these techniques including novel cooling geometries, functional graded joints, and in-situ repair.
Key participants are the University of Birmingham, Cranfield University and the University of Erlangen. The APOD also benefits from contributions and discussions with ESI, Politecnico di Torino and Airbus.