Training the next generation of fusion engineers

16 Aug 2022 | News

The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) has teamed up with Oxford Sigma, Frazer-Nash Consultancy and TÜV UK to train the next generation of fusion engineers in tackling the engineering challenges of commercial fusion energy, including those that will be faced by UKAEA’s Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP).

The fusion reactions that take place in the core of a fusion machine render radiation omnipresent in fusion energy devices such as tokamaks. This is due to the nuclear fusion processes producing charged particle radiation and/or uncharged radiation. Oxford Sigma has developed a comprehensive training package consisting of key information and best practices on the effects of radiation damage. The literature also covers the latest approaches on the mitigation of radiation induced degradation of materials, components and systems through current and emerging technology developments. Through dissemination of this training material, fusion engineers within UKAEA and their partner organisations will be equipped with state-of-the-art skills on designing for, and mitigating against, radiation damage in fusion energy devices.

Realising commercial fusion energy can only be achieved through collaboration between government agencies, academic institutions, national laboratories, and industry. By bringing together the breadth and depth of skills from each of these areas, such collaborations build the necessary workforce which is required to deliver fusion power for generations to come.

This collaboration between UKAEA, Oxford Sigma, Frazer-Nash Consultancy and TÜV UK has demonstrated that, through the UKAEA Engineering Design Service Framework, these collaborations are possible and indeed necessary to produce effective training programs for the next generation of engineers.

“The skills and guidance provided in the training package we’ve produced in partnership with UKAEA, Frazer-Nash Consultancy, and TÜV UK are invaluable resources for the next generation of engineers. It is an exciting step forward in achieving fusion whilst simultaneously supporting the young people tasked with our future.”

~ Mark Anderton, Nuclear Engineer at Oxford Sigma.

“The outcome of this collaboration with UKAEA, Oxford Sigma, and TÜV UK is technologically and, arguably more importantly, socially and culturally exciting. This material will challenge existing understanding, attitudes, and behaviours amongst fusion designers by upskilling a new generation of scientists and engineers, with safety and sustainability at the centre of their practice. It is an exciting contribution to the overall goal of energy security and net zero emissions through fusion commercialisation across the world.”

~ Dr Ellie Young, Consultant Nuclear Engineer at Frazer-Nash Consultancy.

“TÜV UK together with subject matter experts from TÜV NORD Germany provided Quality Assurance for the training package delivered to the UKAEA. Ensuring that the training materials written by our partners were of the highest quality and crafted so that they would meet the specific needs of the UKAEA when training the next generation of fusion engineers. It was a great chance to work with a diverse team of experts, with accessing to cutting edge innovations.”

~ Wesley McCollough, Vice President, Practical Radiation Protection Group, TÜV

“Through UKAEA’s collaboration with Oxford Sigma, Frazer-Nash Consultancy and TÜV UK we have managed to bring together a body of material which represents the leading edge in relation to international understanding of radiation effects and good design practices, which will drive forward the development of the first fusion power plants and the idea of fusion power as a commercial reality”

~ Terry Thompson, STEP Control Systems Lead at UKAEA

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. Please do get in touch at [email protected]

Through the STEP programme UKAEA is working on the delivery of the first of a kind fusion power plant prototype targeting 2040 for delivery of fusion derived electrical power onto the nation grid. As well as delivering this prototype power plant STEP is also acting as a catalyst to build a workforce within the UK with the skills required to design, build and operate such power plants and to become leaders in the field of fusion energy production. For further information please visit us at

About Frazer-Nash Consultancy Ltd
Frazer-Nash is a leading systems and engineering technology company. Our work makes a difference to things that matter in the world.

With over 1000 employees, Frazer-Nash works from a network of nine UK and four Australian locations. Our consultants apply their expertise to develop, enhance and protect our clients’ critical assets, systems and processes.

In an uncertain world, we contribute to national security in a huge number of ways. We help make sure that power is generated and distributed to everyone who needs it. We support moving people and goods around and between the big cities of an increasingly urbanised society. We work to make the world a more sustainable place. We ensure governments save time and money when public spending globally is under huge pressure. And we help our clients wrestle with the challenges and opportunities of an ever-accelerating digital revolution.

Our people use their combined strengths to deliver technical solutions to some of the most challenging problems out there. Sometimes these challenges are difficult technical issues, and sometimes they are difficult because of the environment our clients operate in. Our great strength is our ability to rise to these challenges and deliver.

About TÜV UK
TÜV UK Ltd. is part of the Germany based TÜV NORD GROUP, one of the leading global testing, inspection and certification companies for all industries, also providing consulting, engineering and training. With more than 150 years of industrial experience, TÜV NORD GROUP employs ~14,000 experts in 100 countries worldwide. We are a leading nuclear inspection and certification entity providing independent safety assessments, verification, and consultancy services in all matters related to nuclear energy, nuclear operations, radiation protection and nuclear waste management.