Speaker: Dr Chris Warrick
With fossil fuel reserves diminishing and concerns over climate change increasing, the hunt for alternative sources of energy has never been more important. In the middle of rural Oxfordshire in the UK, a thousand scientists and engineers are undertaking a project to develop a new source of energy – nuclear fusion.
Fusion of hydrogen nuclei is the process that powers the Sun – and at the European JET project, located at Culham Science Centre, these processes are being replicated. By heating a gas of Deuterium and Tritium to 150-200 million degrees C and employing powerful magnetic fields, the JET tokamak has demonstrated the fusion of these nuclei and a subsequent release of energy (16MW - a world record for fusion power produced).
JET continues to lead the worldwide effort way towards commercial fusion power - answering ever more scientific and engineering challenges - and ensuring the next step international device ITER (located in Cadarche, France) will hit the ground running, when it comes into operation in late 2019.
The first fusion power stations should be starting up in the next 30 years – harnessing the power of the Sun for all of us here on earth!