KF is a spinoff from Kyoto University. One of its core businesses is the development and sale of gyrotrons, the plasma heating systems necessary to generate fusion reactions. KF is currently preparing to construct a fusion energy generation test plant called UNITY. In the fall of 2023, it established its own research facility, the Kyoto Research Centre, in Kumiyama Town, Kyoto Prefecture.

The firm is also actively cooperating with organizations in other countries. Following ordering contracts and memoranda of cooperation with research institutes as well as private entities in North America, KF concluded a comprehensive collaboration agreement with the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) in February 2024 to jointly develop technology involved in designing blankets for tokamak-type reactors.

The key to a successful fusion reaction is containing the plasma. Containment methods include helical, mirror and laser types, in addition to the tokamak-type being used for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) Project. The University of Tsukuba, with which KF just concluded its special joint research agreement, has created the world’s largest plasma confinement device, the mirror-type GAMMA 10.

GAMMA 10 makes it possible to verify the parameters of ultra-high-temperature plasma and connection methods—essential for fusion reactions—and to conduct various tests of plasma heating.

Both KF and the University of Tsukuba will attempt to improve technology readiness levels (TRLs) for plasma heating by demonstrating continuous action in low-frequency gyrotrons, developing increased power outputs, and so forth.

With the Japanese government’s Integrated Innovation Strategy Promotion Council having issued the Fusion Energy Innovation Strategy in April 2023, domestic private-sector entities are investing conspicuously overseas toward the realization of fusion energy.

On March 7, ITOCHU Corporation announced its conclusion of a strategic and business alliance agreement with Blue Laser Fusion (BLF), a fusion energy startup based in California. It was co-founded in 2022 by NAKAMURA Shuji, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2014, for the purpose of commercializing its original laser-based fusion reactor.