MAS sees nuclear fusion opportunities for SW companies

September 1, 2011 by
Filed under: News 

Nuclear fusion could provide exciting new business opportunities for engineering firms in the South West says the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS).

One such opportunity is ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), an ambitious global research project into nuclear fusion. ITER’s construction offers UK companies a number of business opportunities including civil, mechanical and electrical engineering, consultancy services and project management through to instrumentation, advanced materials and precision engineering.

ITER also offers some challenging engineering opportunities including development and manufacture of high heat flux components, high power electrical engineering, vacuum and pumping systems, remote handling, radio frequency wave heating systems, laser and optical diagnostics, computing and data acquisition.

MAS-SW is keen to actively promote opportunities in nuclear fusion to South West businesses. “Nuclear fusion could become a key sector for manufacturers in the South West. MAS-SW has the expertise to offer targeted strategic support to companies considering branching out into this arena, assisting in identifying opportunities,” said Paul Gilbert, Low Carbon and Innovation Specialist at MAS-SW.

“We have knowledge of the fusion process, enabling us to identify companies that perhaps weren’t aware they possess the skills and knowledge to tender. A wide range of items are required from the simple to the technical, it is not just high-tech manufacturers that will have the opportunity to become involved. Nuclear fusion could represent an essential new revenue stream to a number of South West firms.”

The Culham Centre for Fusion Energy will be managing the Fusion for Energy (F4E) database of companies who have expressed an interest in ITER opportunities.

Dan Mistry, Fusion and Industry Manager at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, said: “Currently there are over 200 UK companies on F4E’s database, but this is only a drop in the ocean compared to the tremendous expertise that exists within UK industry. Our message is for UK companies to look very seriously at these opportunities, they range from conventional to leading-edge engineering, and also include consultancy and project management.”

Fusion offers many benefits over nuclear fission generation but is still at a relatively early stage of development. It can be very high tech, with conditions in fusion reactors requiring temperatures of over 150 million degrees centigrade, but much of the technology is fairly conventional engineering. Large scale investment in fusion research programmes has resulted in many business opportunities for UK companies, particularly on the European JET machine and the UK’s own fusion device, MAST, which are both based at Culham.

Companies hoping to win business in this exciting and challenging market can find more details by contacting MAS-SW on or by calling 0845 608 3838 .

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