14 February 2024

UK and Canada to collaborate on fusion energy advances

The UK Atomic Energy Authority and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories will work together to develop tritium technologies – a key fuel for fusion energy.

Ian Castillo, Head of Directorate, Hydrogen and Tritium Technologies at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), and Stephen Wheeler, Executive Director of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), at UKAEA’s Culham Campus, Oxfordshire, UK

© UK Atomic Energy Authority

A key focus of the partnership will be on hydrogen isotope management within the fusion fuel cycle, safely removing, processing and reinjecting fuel to the plasma in a continuous manner.

Hydrogen isotope management is an essential part of the fusion fuel cycle – tritium needs to be separated from other hydrogen isotopes in the exhaust gas so that it can be recycled and reused as a fusion fuel.

Tritium is rare in nature, so managing tritium efficiently is crucial to fusion energy’s commercial viability.

The first project under this collaboration will involve samples of candidate materials for isotope separation being analysed at facilities in Chalk River, Ontario, and Culham, Oxfordshire.

The agreement establishes a framework in which the two organisations will conduct joint research projects, facilitate personnel secondments, share expertise for consultancy services, and work together to provide services to the fusion industry.

The UK-Canada collaboration builds on the announcement of the UK-US Strategic Partnership on Fusion Energy in November 2023 and will support the UK’s £650mln Fusion Futures programme.

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