Oxford Sigma hosts university students Lauren Mentiply and Alistair Darnton for the UKAEA Fusion Industry Programme Summer Placement Scheme

19 Aug 2022 | News

Oxford Sigma hosted two undergraduate students from the University of Birmingham and the University of Oxford as part of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) Fusion Industry Programme Summer Placement Scheme. The Fusion Industry Programme (FIP) is a brand-new initiative devised with the aim to accelerate the growth of the UK’s fusion industry. The FIP Summer Placement Scheme gives undergraduates an opportunity to gain valuable experience in fusion and influence future career choices. Lauren Mentiply, studying physics at the University of Birmingham, and Alistair Darnton, studying Materials Science at the University of Oxford, worked with the Oxford Sigma team to develop novel material designs and technology for the fusion industry.

Lauren undertook a project within the R&D team responsible for developing Oxford Sigma’s fusion energy breeder blanket designs. The project set up a workflow that interfaces with industry standard neutronic Monte Carlo software codes, meshing, and Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools. Lauren created CAD models of specific components within the fusion breeder blanket designs, which are designed to generate fuel for the reactor, and has undertaken analysis of the neutronics results.

‘Lauren Mentiply has approached her challenge of designing a CAD model of a fusion breeder blanket module with astuteness and intellectual curiosity. It has been insightful to observe her progress in developing a working model from a blank slate. Her model is now being used in neutronics codes and computational fluid dynamics analysis to further Oxford Sigma’s technology development.’

~ Mark Anderton, Lauren’s supervisor and Nuclear Engineer at Oxford Sigma.

Alistair undertook a project within the R&D team responsible for developing Project Ally, Oxford Sigma’s fusion breeder blanket patent-pending project. He developed materials roadmaps for the development of specific components within the breeder design, such as oxide dispersion strengthened steels. This road mapping exercise directly contributed to the development of Oxford Sigma’s technology.

‘Alistair Darnton has grappled with the challenges in breeder blankets of fusion energy, ranging from structural steels exposed to high radiation damage to liquid lithium corrosion. I have been impressed with his eagerness, ability to absorb dense materials information, and use this to understand how solutions could be formulated.’

~ Dr Thomas P. Davis, Alistair’s supervisor and President and CTO at Oxford Sigma.

Both Lauren and Alistair will share their experience and achievements at a Placement Presentation Day held at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in September.

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]