Future of fusion research facility secured

Posted on 18 Apr 2019 and read 949 times
Future of fusion research facility secured A contract extension for the world’s largest fusion research facility, Joint European Torus (JET), has been signed by the UK and the European Commission, securing at least 100 million euros in additional inward investment from the EU over the next two years and bringing reassurance for the more than 500 staff at the site in Culham, near Oxford.

Staff at the JET facility undertake research in the latest technologies aimed at providing clean, safe and “inexhaustible energy”. The new contract guarantees its operations until the end of 2020, regardless of the EU exit situation.

Science Minister Chris Skidmore said: “Having made my first speech at Culham, I know how hard-working and dedicated UK Atomic Energy Authority staff are, which is why I am pleased to announce this agreement; it is great news for the future of scientific research in Oxfordshire, the UK and Europe.

“Extending this contract means cutting-edge and world-leading fusion research can continue in this country.”

JET is operated by the UK Atomic Energy Authority at the Culham Science Centre (www.culham.org.uk), where scientists from 28 European countries use it to conduct research into the potential for carbon-free fusion energy in the future, through work co-ordinated by the EUROfusion consortium, which manages and funds European fusion research activities on behalf of Euratom.

In addition, the contract leaves open the option of a further extension to JET’s operations until 2024.

Ian Chapman, CEO of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, said: “The extension to the contract is excellent news for both EU and UK science. JET has been a shining example of scientific co-operation between EU members, and this news means that these mutually beneficial collaborations will continue, allowing us to do essential experiments on the path to delivering fusion power.”

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