British innovation leads the charge towards goal of delivering fusion energy

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Sir Patrick Vallance and Bill Lee discuss fusion energy at UKAEA in Oxfordshire. Photo credit: UK Atomic Energy Authority

Britain is leading the charge on the future of fusion energy usage, the process that powers the sun and stars and promises a near-limitless clean electricity source for the long term.

Fusion power creates nearly four million times more energy for every kilogram of fuel than burning coal, oil or gas.

Sir Patrick Vallance, visited the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) this week to learn about the transformative potential of this incredible energy source.

UKAEA has already created approximately 36,900 direct and indirect jobs over the past decade with R&D in fusion leading to the upskilling of the UK workforce. This includes improved knowledge transfer between academia and industries, refined and upgraded fusion machine designs, and the creation of new policy and standards.

Sir Patrick was joined by Ministry of Defence Nuclear Scientific Adviser, Bill Lee, for a briefing on the UK’s world-leading fusion programme, including the first prototype fusion energy powerplant, STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production).

The delegation took the opportunity to learn more about innovative businesses based at Culham Science Centre in south Oxfordshire, including General Fusion, Reaction Engines and Oxbotica.

UKAEA’s Culham campus is currently undergoing a major regeneration programme and has become a hub for fusion energy and adjacent technologies, such as robotics, computing and advanced materials.

Sir Patrick Vallance said: “It was fantastic to visit UKAEA today and see first-hand the exciting potential of fusion technology and the rapid progress being made. UKAEA’s ongoing contribution to fusion research and demonstration is helping to solve one of the world’s greatest challenges in decarbonising our global energy systems, as well as advancing a range of critical science and technology areas.”

Professor Ian Chapman, UKAEA Chief Executive, added: “We believe fusion energy can be an environmentally responsible part of the world’s future energy mix and it was fantastic to discuss the ground-breaking research and innovation being done here in the UK with Sir Patrick.

“UKAEA continues to create jobs and drive economic growth in fusion-focused and adjacent fields, while helping to keep the country at the forefront of the international scientific community.”

The tour of UKAEA’s Culham campus concluded with a visit to on-site training centre, Oxfordshire Advanced Skills, where the delegation met apprentices from a range of companies.

Source: UK Atomic Energy Authority

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