Suppliers of instrumentation, equipment and services to research facilities in the UK welcome today’s announcement that an experimental nuclear fusion reactor is to be built in Cadarache, France. ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) is expected to create more than 10,000 jobs and looks to benefit businesses around the world with the resulting commerce, technology transfer and commercialisation prospects.
ITER will test, on the scale of a power station, how energy can be released from fusion – the process that keeps the sun hot. If it is successful it is expected to lead to power stations that are safe and environmentally friendly, and which require raw fuels that are widely available. For the first time in the history of the development of fusion as an energy source, ITER will release much more energy from fusion than it consumes. The €10bn ITER project creates substantial opportunities for UK industrial participation.
As an international collaboration, ITER will involve a large number of organisations in manufacture, design and R&D. Chris Llewellyn Smith, Director of the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s fusion research centre at Culham said, “ITER is a key stepping stone towards establishing fusion as a viable source of energy. UK companies with their skills, technology and most of all their enthusiasm have shown they are ready to play a role in building ITER”.
The Sensors Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) Research Facilities Special Interest Group (RFSIG) supports the UK’s sensing community in realising the potential for supply and knowledge transfer that ITER brings to the industry.
Dr Craig Sawyers, Technology Translator for the RFSIG said, “We have already helped several companies to understand the opportunities at ITER and other research facilities around the world. We’ll be delighted to support anybody wanting to engage in this massive opportunity”.
The RFSIG is co-managed by Cambridge, UK based Qi3, in partnership with the UK National Physical Laboratory. Companies interested in doing business with research facilities can join the Research Facilities Supplier Directory at http://www.qi3.co.uk/sktn/registration.asp.