United Kingdom, Canada Partner for Nuclear Fusion Energy Development

Nuclear fusion chamber

(Credit: UK Atomic Energy Authority)

by | Feb 19, 2024

This article is included in these additional categories:

The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories have announced a new partnership to develop technologies to manage tritium, a fuel used for nuclear fusion energy.

The partnership will largely focus on hydrogen isotope management, which includes separating tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, from other hydrogen isotopes in exhaust gas to be recycled and reused as fusion fuel. This is reportedly a necessary step in making fusion energy commercially viable since tritium is rare in nature.

The first project for the partnership will involve samples of materials used for such isotope separation, to be analyzed at the two countries’ respective research facilities.

Both the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) facilities will be used through the partnership to advance additional technologies used for fusion applications, such as tritium processing plants, tritium-compatible materials development, and tritium decontamination, among others.

“CNL has a proud history of working alongside the United Kingdom to advance clean energy technologies, and this agreement builds on that relationship, to pursue fusion technologies, a transformative clean energy solution for our respective countries,” said Jeff Griffin, vice president of science and technology for CNL.

International Collaborations Work to Advance Fusion Energy

This new collaboration is part of an agreement the countries recently signed at the recent International Energy Agency ministerial meeting, for research and development, regulatory standardization, and workforce development for fusion energy. It also builds on a strategic partnership between the U.K. and the United States on fusion energy established late last year and will contribute to the U.K.’s nearly $820 million Fusion Futures program.

Fusion energy has been in development for decades as a zero-emissions solution that contains immense amounts of energy, producing nearly twice as much power as is needed to create it, without generating radioactive waste. The U.S., U.K., and Canada have all indicated plans to deploy commercial fusion power plants in the 2030s.

When the U.S. released a nuclear fusion strategy at COP28 last year, the need for international cooperation was heavily emphasized — fusion technology may otherwise not be commercially viable even by 2050. International collaboration, according to the strategy, involves open access to experimental facilities, joint establishment of regulatory frameworks, and technology protection to avoid predatory economic practices.

Additional articles you will be interested in.

Stay Informed

Get E+E Leader Articles delivered via Newsletter right to your inbox!

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Share This