Fusion demonstrator proposed by Tokamak Energy

01 November 2022

Tokamak Energy has given some information on the spherical fusion demonstrator which it intends to build in the UK by 2026 to demonstrate key technologies and inform the design of a prototype fusion power plant in the "early 2030s".

A visualisation shows the compact nature of the ST80-HTS demonstrator (Image: Tokamak Energy)
Called the ST80-HTS, the demonstrator is to be a high field spherical tokamak using high-temperature superconducting magnets. Tokamak Energy said it should achieve "a higher sustained triple product" of plasma density, temperature and confinement and achieve pulses of around 15 minutes. It would supersede Tokamak Energy's ST40 device which achieved plasma temperatures of 100 million degrees C in March. 
Construction of the demonstrator is proposed to begin in 2024, Tokamak Energy said, however, a decision on where to site the device "has not been finalised," the company told World Nuclear News. Tokamak's current facility in the English county of Oxfordshire is not large enough, it said, and it is considering options in the same area. Tokamak itself will build the device, also producing major components such as the high temperature superconducting magnets, while working with partners on some aspects.
Assuming operation from 2026, ST80-HTS is intended to provide key results that will enable a pilot fusion power plant called ST-E1 to operate "in the early 2030s". This entire roadmap will cost in the "hundreds of millions of dollars", said Tokamak Energy.
On 10 October Tokamak Energy signed a framework agreement with the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) to enable closer collaboration on spherical tokamaks. UKAEA is developing its own design with plans to build a prototype known as STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production) at West Burton.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News