FUSION DEMONSTRATION PLANT
A Unique Partnership
General Fusion will build a first-of-a-kind fusion plant to demonstrate their Magnetised Target Fusion (MTF) technology at Culham Science Centre (CSC). There will be exciting synergies between this device and the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s well established fusion research and technology programme on the Culham site.
General Fusion was founded in 2002 with a mission to transform the world’s energy supply by developing a practical, and cost-competitive path to reliable, low-carbon energy through commercial fusion power.
UKAEA is the UK Government’s research organisation for fusion energy and related technologies. UKAEA’s mission is to lead the delivery of sustainable fusion energy and maximise the scientific and economic benefit.
A Pivotal Step for Fusion Energy
Fusion energy has the potential to provide the planet with abundant low-carbon energy. It represents one of the world’s best opportunities to combat the existential threat of climate change.
General Fusion’s revolutionary MTF technology is unique in its approach to fusion. The proposed Fusion Demonstration Plant (FDP) will allow General Fusion to refine their MTF technology based on actual performance.
The facility will be focused on demonstrating the capability of mechanical and electrical systems of the MTF approach. The facility will not generate power.
An Exemplary Building
The proposed FDP is being developed to exemplary design and sustainability standards.
A cylindrical Fusion hall will sit at the centre of the FDP facility and will house a 70% scale MTF machine. A transparent facade will wrap around the concrete walls of the Fusion hall to soften the building appearance and increase the energy efficiency of the facility by optimising natural ventilation.
A two storey circular building surrounds the Fusion hall providing daylit, naturally ventilated office spaces, workshops and laboratories.
The FDP will sit within a generous, naturalistic landscape
Have Your Say
UKAEA is preparing planning applications for a number of major development projects at Culham Science Centre. The purpose of this consultation specifically is to invite early comments and to provide advance notice of the forthcoming FDP submission. It is UKAEA’s intention to submit a formal application for planning permission to South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) in early 2022.
As part of the planning application process you will also have the opportunity to provide a formal response to the application through SODC’s consultation process.
The public consultation for the Fusion Demonstration Plant project will commence on Monday 10th January and close on Friday 21st January.
We welcome your feedback on the information in this consultation in one of he following ways:
By emailing your views via the feedback form to: PlanningConsultations@ukaea.uk
By posting your response to:
Culham Science Centre Consultation
256 Banbury Road
Culham Science Centre is situated approximately 5.5 miles south of Oxford. CSC’s origins lay in its former use as a Royal Naval Airfield, HMS Hornbill. Since 1960, CSC has been the home of UKAEA’s commercial fusion research and forms a key part of Science Vale and the Knowledge Spine. CSC is one of the largest employment centres in the county, currently supporting over 2700 jobs.
Policy support for growth has been adopted within the new South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2035 under Policy STRAT8 which confirms the CSC’s removal from the Green Belt and its allocation for ‘redevelopment’ and ‘intensification’ for further employment uses.
Through its location at Culham Science Centre, General Fusion and the FDP will benefit from co-operation and collaboration with the greatest fusion minds on earth, will have access to a cutting-edge supply chain, and will have support from a central government that understands the impacts of climate change, and the need for commercial fusion technology to address them.
The FDP is positioned at the wider west end of the site where it can be set back from the boundary and have less impact on the adjacent landscape.
To minimise visual impact to adjacent landscape, external services and the loading bay are orientated to face into the Culham campus and not out to the landscape.
The narrower part of the site will be utilised to create a new landscape. Excavated soil will be used to form a gently sloping entrance route up to Level 1 and landscaping will soften the junction between the FDP and the adjacent landscape. An Ecological Appraisal is being undertaken to inform the Landscape design.
A new planted landscape along the north boundary will minimise visual impact to the adjacent landscape and sensitive views. New planting will connect existing woodland to the east and west to fully enclose and screen this part of the CSC site from adjacent heritage assets. A Heritage Impact Assessment and a Landscape Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) are being prepared as part of the planning application.
The existing Thames Water storm drainage system is to be maintained. A detailed Flood Risk Assessment is being undertaken to ensure no detrimental flood impact to CSC or adjacent sites.
The FDP maximises use of solar availability on site. Analysis informs building orientation and facade shading and specifications. PVs capture free energy. Solar gains optimise ventilation. Daylighting minimises energy use.
Fusion energy has the potential to provide the planet with abundant low-carbon electricity. General Fusion’s Fusion Demonstration Plant proposed at UKAEA’s Culham Science Centre will bring this ambition one step closer to being realised.
As the largest magnetised target fusion facility in the world, the FDP is an incredible opportunity to showcase General Fusion’s innovative technology.
The architecture of the demonstration plant must be highly efficient to effectively support scientific operations while showcasing the technological optimism of fusion to help solve the energy problems of the world.
This building is designed to convey fusion’s transformative potential and express the power of technology and science to solve the most pressing issues of our age.
SUSTAINABILITY – TOWARDS CARBON ZERO
In alignment with fusion energy’s game-changing potential for mitigating climate change the FDP facility is being developed to the highest sustainability standards. Both General Fusion and UKAEA are committed to sustainability in everything that they do, and the FDP is aligned to the wider CSC campus ambition to be carbon-free by 2050.
The FDP building is designed to achieve a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ rating, with an additional 40% carbon reduction target, placing it amongst the highest performing buildings in the country.
Sustainable ambitions extend beyond the energy strategy and building performance. The project also sets out to be exemplar with regards to staff and visitor health and wellbeing. Offices are designed with strong visual connection to the surrounding landscape and with smart bioadaptive lighting systems. A wellbeing centre and walking routes through the surrounding landscapes are also provided.
A sustainability and energy strategy has been developed that is highly specific to the building’s function:
- The main fusion hall will be naturally ventilated all year round
- The surrounding offices will be seasonally naturally ventilated (when outside conditions permit)
- A smart ETFE façade will capture the heat of the sun to form a thermal chimney. This process helps optimise the effectiveness of natural ventilation
- Waste heat from the fusion machine will be captured to provide heat and hot water for the building.
- Supplementary heating will be optimised through use of heat pumps and thermal insulation required to the building will be carefully engineered to ensure optimum performance.
- Natural daylight will be optimised to minimise use of artificial light where possible. Low energy lighting systems will be used to supplement daylight in technical spaces.
- Solar panels located in the landscape and on the FDP roof will harvest free solar energy
- Material choices will be carefully assessed to maximise durability and recyclability and to minimise embodied carbon. Design studies will be undertaken at all stages to assess embodied and operational carbon sources.
The FDP will have a low occupancy. Once operational the building will house 80 permanent staff and operate 24 hours a day. The 24-hour period will be split into three working shifts with highest occupancy during the daytime shift.
Parking for the FDP will be aligned to the CSC campus masterplan parking strategy. The project is committed to encouraging sustainable methods of travel through provision of cycle storage and changing facilities.
A full transport statement and a travel plan are being prepared as part of the forthcoming planning submission
The FDP will be accessed from the main CSC entrance in the South West corner of the site. The design has been coordinated with the CSC Masterplan to allow development of a new eastern exit should this be forthcoming in the future.
The FDP loading bay is located towards the South West corner the site and an area of external services supporting the science operations is positioned to the west of the site. Both face into the CSC campus and away from the adjacent landscape and protected views.
Following building commissioning specialist deliveries will be infrequent. Oversized deliveries are expected to be rare and will be managed on an individual basis.
The FDP will be immersed in a new landscape. The building cuts into the existing site and soil displaced will be moved to the east of the site to form gentle slope up to the building entrance at level 1. The slope hides the lower level of the building and minimises the impact of the building on the landscape.
A naturalistic meadow will be planted so that staff and visitors all approach the building through nature, and to provide views out to nature from within the building.
The existing concrete runway will be removed, new landscapes will be created and existing planted areas will be enhanced to achieve net gain in biodiversity for the project.
To the northern boundary existing woodland will be retained. New trees will be planted along the boundary to enclose the site and screen development. A Landscape Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA) is being prepared as part of the forthcoming planning submission.
An existing berm to the north of the site will be retained and supplemented by new drainage swales to manage surface water across the site.