The Oxford Instruments group is constructing a novel compact electron storage ring intended for use as a powerful source of soft X-rays. The main application foreseen for such a source is in X-ray lithography for future sub-micron semiconductor geometries, but other research applications are also anticipated.At the heart of the source are two 180° superconducting dipole magnets which reduce the bending radius from the several meters common in conventional VUV rings to just over 0.5 meters. Consequently the overall dimensions of the storage ring itself are extremely compact, lending the device to industrial applications. Injection into the ring will be by linear accelerator at energies up to 200 MeV via a suitable beam transport arrangement of focusing and bending magnets with simultaneous pulsed operation of septum and kicker magnets in the ring itself. The latter is corrected for chromaticity effects. The vacuum system will be of UHV standard throughout, with pumping provided by the superconducting dipoles themselves acting as cryopumps assisted by ion pumping as appropriate. Lifetimes of several hours for the 700 MeV beam are expected with X-ray output of around 8 Kw.