Oxford Sigma part of Consortium appointed as the Engineering Delivery Partner to UKAEA STEP Programme

STEP building cutaway at dusk

Oxford Sigma is providing specialist fusion materials and technology expertise as part of a consortium of fusion experts led by Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, and Assystem appointed by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) as Engineering Delivery Partner to its pioneering Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) programme as it seeks to demonstrate the commercial viability of fusion energy. The Consortium members have an established relationship with UKAEA and have previously worked together to deliver wide-ranging projects released through UKAEA’s Engineering Design Services (EDS) framework, with both Atkins and Assystem holding Tier 1 positions, and the other consortium members with Tier 2 positions.

The delivery partner will play a critical role in STEP’s ambitions to design and build a commercial-scale prototype fusion energy plant by 2040 over the next two years: completing a concept design is one of two key Tranche 1 objectives to achieve by 2024 that will enable UKAEA to proceed to future phases and meet its ambitious targets. Fusion technology has the potential to provide abundant, low-carbon energy – maintaining the UK’s net zero efforts in the long-term and underpinning future energy security.

The consortium is led by Atkins as prime contractor, alongside international engineering and digital services firm Assystem with Oxford Sigma, Kyoto Fusioneering, and Ansaldo Nucleare. Atkins and Assystem have a long history of successful collaboration across nuclear and fusion energy projects, including their work as architect-engineer for the international fusion energy project ITER, through the Engage consortium.

The STEP EDP consortium combines this world-leading expertise with specialist knowledge from partners across the supply chain: fusion In-Vessel Component materials technology and safety specialist Oxford Sigma; breeder blanket and tritium specialists Kyoto Fusioneering; and Ansaldo Nuclear. Combined, the consortium brings over 30 years’ experience in fusion delivery from across JET, ITER, STEP, DEMO and the private fusion industry.

“Oxford Sigma is a world leader in materials science and technology within the fusion industry. This project cements Oxford Sigma’s place as a key player within the UK’s goal to reach commercial fusion. We look forward to working with all the consortium partners to develop STEP and to accelerate towards commercial fusion becoming a reality,” ~ Jonathan Musgrove, CEO Oxford Sigma.

“The commercialisation of fusion energy holds the key to unlocking an abundant source of safe, clean energy that will power a net zero future, and the ambitious STEP programme positions the UK as a global leader in such highly complex projects. A viable, investible concept design is central to UKAEA’s ambitions and Atkins is proud to extend our involvement in STEP’s development through this consortium,” ~ Chris Ball, Managing Director of Nuclear & Power for Atkins

“The STEP project is a fantastic opportunity for the UK to continue its leading role in the global race to deliver a commercially viable fusion power plant. Assystem’s role in this delivery partner consortium for STEP builds on a long-term commitment to the development of UK fusion capability, harnessing a blend of UK skills, decades of experience on international fusion projects such as ITER and collaborating with UK fusion specialist SMEs,” ~ Simon Barber, UK Managing Director, Assystem

“Fusion has great potential to deliver safe, sustainable, low carbon energy for generations to come, and STEP is leading the way. It’s an ambitious programme operating at the forefront of science, technology and engineering. It’s clear we must make significant changes to address the effects of climate change, and STEP’s delivery partners will play a crucial role in our quest to making fusion a reality,” ~ Tristram Denton, Head of Commercial and Programme Development for STEP


About Oxford Sigma

Oxford Sigma tackles energy security and climate change by accelerating the development of fusion and advanced nuclear energy. The company’s aim is to develop innovative nuclear technology to withstand extreme environments, provide nuclear materials expertise, and advise the advanced nuclear and fusion energy industries in their quest to achieve commercialisation. Internationally recognised as a highly technical SME, our growing team of engineers and scientists play an active role in the emerging supply chain ecosystem within the UK, USA and EU for fusion energy and advanced nuclear energy. Please do get in touch at [email protected]

About Atkins

Atkins, a member of the SNC-Lavalin Group, is one of the world’s most respected design, engineering and project management consultancies, employing over 19,000 people across the UK, North America, Middle East and Africa, Asia Pacific and Europe. We build long-term trusted partnerships to create a world where lives are enriched through the implementation of our ideas. The SNC-Lavalin Group brings extensive international nuclear expertise across the technology’s cycle, from international fusion science through its role as architect engineer for ITER within the Engage consortium to the design and delivery of large-scale new nuclear build and Small Modular Reactors, as well as widespread knowledge across asset operations, decommissioning and waste management. https://www.snc-lavalin.com

About Assystem

Assystem is an independent international company with one main mission: to accelerate the energy transition worldwide. With more than 55 years of experience in highly regulated sectors with stringent safety and security constraints, the Group provides engineering services as well as digital solutions and services to optimise the performance of complex infrastructure assets throughout their life cycle.

In its 10 countries of operation, Assystem’s 6,000+ experts are supporting energy transition. To achieve an affordable low-carbon energy supply, Assystem is committed to the development of decarbonised electricity (nuclear, renewables and electricity grids) and clean hydrogen. The Group is also helping drive the use of decarbonised electricity in industrial sectors such as transportation. Assystem is currently ranked as the second nuclear engineering group in the world.

To read Assystem’s recently published report on how the UK is well positioned to lead the development of fusion energy, visit: Fusion Energy: A Global Effort – A UK Opportunity visit https://www.assystem.com/en/fusion-energy-report/

For more information, please contact Jack Dobson Smith – [email protected] | 07879 115 255

About Kyoto Fusioneering

Kyoto Fusioneering is a privately funded technology start-up founded in 2019, with its headquarter in Kyoto, Japan and subsidiary in Reading, UK. The company is focused on developing advanced technologies for commercial fusion reactors, including gyrotron systems, tritium fuel cycle technologies, and breeding blankets for tritium production and power generation. Kyoto Fusioneering is developing innovative solutions that are simultaneously high-performance and commercially viable. Supporting both public and private fusion developers around the world, the company is accelerating the realization of fusion as the ultimate energy source for humankind.

For more information, please contact [email protected]

About Ansaldo Nuclear

Ansaldo Nuclear is part of the Ansaldo Energia group and its strength lies in over sixty years’ of international experience in EPC for the nuclear market. With its workforce of 500 employee, it designs, manufactures, installs and commissions safety critical engineered products and provides specialist support for its customers across all the nuclear energy sectors i.e. new build, operational support and life extension and decommissioning and waste management. Ansaldo involvement in the Fusion sector started forty year ago and spanned design and engineering support, product development and supply to several projects including JET, IGNITOR, ITER and DEMO. In ITER in particular, Ansaldo built several partnerships and is delivering a large portfolio of projects. https://www.ansaldoenergia.com/business-lines/nuclear. For more information, please contact Charles Mendes – [email protected] / 07864 933412

Share: