Nuclear fusion has the potential to offer an almost limitless source of energy with minimal environmental impact. While the timeline for delivery is beyond the 2050 emission target fusion is an attractive technology that needs to be developed.
The fusion process involves the fusing of several atoms such as deuterium (heavy hydrogen) and tritium (super heavy hydrogen) at very high temperatures (>100 million ºC) to produce energy. Similar to the process that powers the sun and other stars, fusion gives off no greenhouse gases or harmful emissions.
There are still great challenges to overcome before fusion becomes a viable source of energy for the future but continued funding will not only provide the facilities and research base necessary for progression but also the skilled scientists and engineers needed to continue to work in this area.
The UK Fusion Programme is centred around magnetic confinement fusion at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), one of the world's leading centres for fusion research - In addition, we are collaborating with the EURATOM directorate of the European Commission to fund the Joint European Torus (JET), the largest and most powerful magnetic fusion device in the world. JET is also based at Culham and is a precursor to the next generation fusion facility "ITER", which is now being built in Cadarache, France.
There is a £164 million investment currently for fusion related activity in CCFE. Please find below other significant investments made at universities that would be relevant to this technology area.