Group Selected to Develop Pilot Nuclear Fusion Plant

A global professional services and project management company headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, announced it has been chose to develop the pre-concept design for a nuclear fusion pilot plant (FPP).

The pilot, announced by Canada-based Canada-based AtkinsRéalis on July 10 as part of Type One Energy’s FusionDirect program, will be a commercial-scale FPP. It will use stellarator technology to demonstrate its potential to generate power from fusion energy. Several companies are investing in fusion-related projects as issues of climate change and energy security move to the forefront of the power generation space.

“Fusion has the potential to provide the world with a virtually limitless and environmentally responsible source of power to advance the global energy transition,” said Joe St. Julian, president of Nuclear for AtkinsRéalis. “By combining AtkinsRéalis’ global fusion experience and world-class design and engineering services with Type One Energy’s stellarator technology, together we’re advancing the commercial deployment of fusion energy.”

This is a rendering of Type One Energy Group’s fusion stellarator. Source: Type One Energy Group

Type One Energy is based in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The company earlier this year announced the selection of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) Bull Run Fossil Plant in Clinton, Tennessee, as the building site for its prototype, a machine named Infinity One. The company said the “device will validate key design features that will then be incorporated into the FPP. Both Infinity One and the Fusion Pilot Plant will use Type One’s stellarator technology, a series of state-of-the-art superconducting magnets to control plasma with temperatures of over 100 million Celsius, generating a continuous fusion reaction and releasing energy to generate electricity.”

The companies on Wednesday said AtkinsRéalis’ UK-based fusion team “will work alongside U.S. capabilities and expertise to provide multi-disciplinary engineering services, to develop the full plant requirements, pre-conceptual facility designs, and a preliminary site layout. Working in close collaboration with Type One Energy, AtkinsRéalis will integrate established project delivery solutions alongside novel fusion technologies, seeking to de-risk the delivery of the fusion plant while optimizing cost.”

“This program of work is the first step in a strategic partnership with Type One Energy as they commercialize their technology and progress the potential of fusion to power the U.S. energy transition,” said Jason Dreisbach, director of Advanced Energy Technologies at AtkinsRéalis. “With our global fusion expertise, we are uniquely positioned to support the transition of Type One Energy’s fusion technology into a commercially viable and sustainable source of energy to power a net zero future.”

Greg Schneider, Type One Energy’s vice president of Global Partnerships and Supply Chain Management, said, “We selected AtkinsRéalis because of its subject matter expertise across multiple disciplines, including engineering, planning, and deployment, as well as its accumulated knowledge and market presence in the emerging fusion technology space. We believe that developing long-term business and functional level relationships will serve both parties as additional work scopes are contemplated over the next decade.”

AtkinsRéalis has a history of collaborative efforts in nuclear new-build and fusion energy research and development. The company has partnerships with  the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, along with the UK Atomic Energy Authority, and also has supported the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, or ITER, project in Cadarache, France since 2010.

Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).

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