The UK Fusion Programme

  • March 27, 2024 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Debate, Discussion
  • The Royal Society and online

It’s a time of change for the UK fusion programme. The JET (Joint European Torus) facility in Culham, funded as part of the Euratom programme, came to an end in December 2023, after 40 years at the cutting edge of global fusion research. The Euratom partners are focussing on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in southern France, though the start up for that is not until in the mid-2030s. Meanwhile, the UK decided not to rejoin Euratom at the same time that it rejoined Horizon Europe, in September 2023. On the commercial side, the UK is producing a number of small, high-tech fusion technology companies looking to work with fusion research facilities globally, and the UK Atomic Energy Authority has announced plans for STEP (Spherical Tokomak for Energy Production), a prototype fusion power plant to be built in Nottinghamshire.

Where do these changes leave UK fusion? How can we ensure that the UK maintains its position in global fusion activities – in both research and commercialisation – in this changing environment, and outside of the Euratom programme? What are the UK’s key priorities for the coming years? These are some of the questions discussed at this event.

John Staples
New Nuclear Strategy & Fusion Energy Director, Department for Energy Security & Net Zero
Professor Sir Ian Chapman
Chief Executive, UK Atomic Energy Authority
Dr Kate Lancaster
School of Physics, Engineering and Technology, University of York
Francesca Ferrazza
Head, Magnetic Fusion Initiatives, Eni