AN Oxfordshire science park has been given an £86million boost to create new facilities to support British industry.
The government has announced the cash for the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA’s) nuclear fusion research programme at Culham Science Centre.
It will pay for the National Fusion Technology Platform to be built and operated at Culham, which is due to open in 2020.
The authority wants to develop technology for the first nuclear fusion power plants across two centres of excellence.
UKAEA, which carries out fusion energy research for the government, says the new facility will support £1billion in international contracts.
The move is expected to create about 100 jobs at Culham Science Centre.
Chief executive officer Professor Ian Chapman said: “Fusion is entering the delivery era, with an increasing focus on the key technologies that will be needed for the first power stations.
“The National Fusion Technology Platform will help British industry to maximise growth from opportunities provided by ITER.
“In the longer term it means the UK will be at the forefront of developing fusion and bringing cleaner energy to the world.”
It comes as transport minister John Hayes visited Reaction Engines, also at the science park, to find out more about technologies being developed to pave the way for high-speed, low cost transport to space.
Supported by a £60m government funding commitment via the UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency, Reaction Engines have partnered with UK aerospace suppliers to deliver a prototype engine over the next few years.
During the visit, Mr Hayes met some of the company’s apprentices and its first intake of graduates.
He said: “It is tremendous to see the ingenuity and significant breakthroughs in aerospace technologies being made by Reaction Engines here in the UK.
“Increasing our space capabilities will create jobs and career opportunities for young people looking to go into science, technology, engineering and maths.”
Mark Thomas, chief executive officer at Reaction Engines, said: “Being at the forefront of next generation aerospace propulsion we have a great opportunity to inspire, develop and excite young engineers and scientists who I am sure will go on to make a difference in the world.”