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UK Atomic Energy Authority Streamlines Fusion Energy Infrastructure Planning Using Visualisation Platform

UK Atomic Energy Authority Streamlines Fusion Energy Infrastructure Planning Using Visualisation Platform

London, UK - 10th April 2024: Sensat, a leading visualisation and collaboration platform for civil infrastructure, is teaming up with the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) to provide first-class digital visual footage to fusion energy infrastructure. With a shared commitment to advancing low carbon, secure, and reliable energy solutions, this partnership aims to support the planning and design of a prototype fusion energy power plant called the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP). This first-of-its-kind programme aims to demonstrate a route to commercial fusion power stations and net energy from fusion energy. 

The UK’s prototype fusion energy power plant will be built at West Burton near Retford in North Nottinghamshire. In the first phase, an outline design of STEP including the power plant, and each major system, has been produced. 

This ambitious programme recognises the pressing need for cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. According to UKAEA, fusion has the potential to provide a source of safe, low-carbon energy worldwide, helping to secure a future of energy independence whilst also being sustainable. Fusion power creates many million times more energy for every kilogram of fuel than burning coal, oil, or gas and has the potential to provide baseload power, complementing renewable and other low-carbon energy sources as a share of many countries’ energy portfolios. However, designing a plant of this level of complexity is far from straightforward, but worth the effort to help keep Net Zero targets long after 2050.

Challenges faced by the STEP Programme are multifaceted due to the level of complexity. In a forward-thinking design strategy, UKAEA proactively seeks to minimise operational risk and elevate decision-making by leveraging data-driven insights. Partnering with Sensat, the STEP team aims to understand and then minimise environmental impact whilst fostering improved collaboration among internal teams and external stakeholders from the programme’s outset. 

Sensat will be a key player in overcoming these challenges by introducing a unified platform that transcends traditional barriers. The power of visualisation is harnessed to enhance planning, deepen site understanding, and navigate constraints seamlessly. Through Sensat's innovative approach, stakeholders and team members can easily review layers of visual data, ensuring everyone has access to real-time information that can facilitate collaboration in an unprecedented manner. 

"This collaboration with Sensat represents a step in our journey towards establishing a world-leading prototype fusion energy plant. The visual insights provided by Sensat's platform are instrumental in de-risking our operations and potentially ensuring a secure, clean, and efficient energy future." James Heaton, Project Manager — STEP, UKAEA.  

"At Sensat, we believe in the transformative power of data visualisation to usher in a green and clean future in energy. Our collaboration with UKAEA marks a significant stride towards achieving net-zero targets, and we are proud to contribute to a future where clean energy is not just a goal but a reality." James Dean, Co-Founder and CEO at Sensat. 


Above: UKAEA STEP site visualised in Sensat alongside 3D point cloud, utility data, and annotations drawn in Sensat.