Our facilities at UKAEA

We invest in world-leading facilities to power our research and development. Our equipment, programmes and facilities come together to underpin everything that we do.

Four people holding an outdoor meeting at UKAEA

Our renowned facilities and programmes, such as the MAST Upgrade fusion experiment, RACE robotics centre, Materials Research Facility and STEP prototype fusion plant help us to achieve our goals:

Our goals

Goal 1

Solve challenges of sustainable fusion energy – from design through to decommissioning – with world-leading science and engineering. 

Goal 2

Enablepartners to design, deliver, and operate commercial fusion power plants. 

Goal 3

Drive UK economic growth and a thriving industry that exports fusion technology around the world. 

Goal 4

Create clusters that accelerate innovation in fusion and related technologies. 

Goal 5

Develop the talented, diverse people needed to deliver fusion energy. 

Become a part of our mission and join a company that is committed to you and your growth!

Our main facilities
and programmes

Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE)

Bringing the power of the stars to Earth.

Where to find CCFE
Culham, Oxfordshire

What we do at CCFE
CCFE is our fusion research and development arm – developing the ultimate source of electricity. Culham has been a major international fusion research centre since the 1960s.

The work at CCFE covers both theoretical fusion physics and practical experiments. It also encompasses the operation of the JET and MAST Upgrade fusion machines – one of the most advanced ‘tokamaks’ devices laying the foundations for commercial fusion.

Two engineers at the MAST Upgrade fusion machine
Read more about CCFE

Fusion Technology Facilities (FTF)

World-class equipment for fusion component testing

Where to find FTF
Our sites at Culham, Oxfordshire and Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

What we do at FTF
Our facilities develop and test materials and components able to cope with the extreme conditions that will be found inside a fusion power plant. 

They cater for users from industry and from academia who are developing fusion components. 

Our Rotherham centre is strategically placed at the heart of the UK’s advanced manufacturing region to engage industry in commercial fusion development. Its centrepiece will be CHIMERA – a unique device, designed to test prototypes in the extreme temperature, heat flux and magnetic environment representative of fusion power conditions.

FTF is part of UKAEA’s Fusion Technology business unit, which aims to spark the solutions to key technological challenges for building a UK prototype fusion power plant.

Employee carrying out fusion technology testing
Read more about FTF

Hydrogen-3 Advanced Technology (H3AT)

Researching fuel technology for fusion power.

Where to find H3AT
Culham, Oxfordshire

What we do at H3AT
H3AT is a world-first tritium research centre. It studies how to process, store and recycle tritium, one of the fuels that will supply fusion power stations in the future. 

H3AT provides academic and industrial users with comprehensive tritium test systems and training facilities, with technical support supplied by experts here at UKAEA.

It draws on UKAEA’s expertise from operating the European JET facility – the world’s only fusion experiment equipped to use tritium fuel.

The H3AT centre under construction at Culham
Read more about H3AT

Materials Research Facility (MRF)

Developing the materials for fusion power plants.

Where to find MRF
Culham, Oxfordshire

What we do at MRF
MRF prepares and examines small samples of materials to assess their suitability for fusion power stations. 

It is a unique national facility that caters for researchers and industrial users from around the UK. As well as fusion, MRF is equipped to carry out work for other fields of science and technology on their materials research challenges.

Two technicians operating robotic equipment at the Materials Research Facility
Read more about MRF

Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE)

Conducting R&D and commercial activities in the field of Robotics and Autonomous Systems.

Where to find RACE
Culham, Oxfordshire and Whitehaven, Cumbria

What we do at RACE
At RACE, we develop robotic and remote handling technologies for challenging environments – conditions that are difficult for people to work in. The RACE team conducts R&D and commercial activities in Robotics and Autonomous Systems for fusion and other industries.

It evolved from UKAEA’s pioneering work on the remote handling system for JET, the world’s largest fusion experiment. RACE now also includes the RAICo nuclear robotics centre at Whitehaven – a partnership with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Sellafield Ltd and University of Manchester.

Engineer using a haptic glove in front of a screen at the RACE facility
Read more about RACE

STEP  (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production)

The UK’s programme to build a prototype fusion power plant.

Where to find STEP
West Burton, Nottinghamshire and Culham, Oxfordshire

What we do at STEP
STEP is an ambitious programme to design and build a prototype fusion energy plant, targeting operations in 2040.  It is a UKAEA programme with initial aims to produce a concept design and choose a site by 2024 – the site has now been announced as West Burton in north Nottinghamshire.   

The STEP prototype will be used to develop the technology and enable a fleet of commercial plants to follow in the years after 2040.    

STEP builds on UKAEA’s expertise in developing so-called ‘spherical tokamaks’ – compact and efficient fusion devices that could offer an economical route to commercial fusion power.  

Two people working on designs for fusion components on a computer screen
Read more about STEP

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