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Centre for Integrated Energy Research

Culham Fusion Centre Visit

On Tuesday 3rd April a group of PhD students from SPEME visited Culham Fusion Centre in Oxford.

This was the first time the students had visited Culham and it gave them a fantastic look into how scientists are working together in a combined effort to create clean, sustainable energy sources for future generations. The visit also helped the students by introducing them to a technology that may have a substantial impact in the future, which could be compared with their own fields of study.

In the late 1950's the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority identified Culham as a suitable site for the construction of a brand new purpose built laboratory for plasma physics and fusion research and this research continues to the present day.

Culham's status has been further enhanced in recent years by the decision in the late 1970's that it would be the site for the Joint European Torus (JET). JET is a magnetic confinement plasma physics experiment. It is currently the largest facility of its kind in operation. Its main purpose is to open the way to future nuclear fusion experimental Tokamak reactors.

Culham comprises a cosmopolitan community of people. The expertise and campus feel attracts diverse science and technology based businesses that benefit from the unusual opportunities afforded by this unique location.

The students began their visit with a 1 hour presentation from Mr Robin Stafford-Allen who is a Mechanical Engineer based at the Culham site. He spoke in depth about nuclear fusion and the operation of JET and the Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak (MAST).

Following the presentation, tours were given of the site including a look at the JET and MAST reactors. Students were shown their functionality and how they were maintained through the use of robotic arms and actual robots.Staff and students in front of the JETJET