48M for fusion research

02/16/04

EPSRC's largest ever grant allocation

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council is allocating its largest ever grant of 48M. The funding, for fusion research, will run over 4 years.

EPSRC took over responsibility for the UK fusion programme in April 2003 with dedicated funding allocated via the Office of Science and Technology.

Fusion, the process by which the sun produces heat and light, has the potential to provide an almost limitless clean, safe, renewable energy source for future generations. However, before that can be achieved some formidable engineering and scientific challenges need to be addressed which is why strong investment in this area is so crucial.

The EPSRC grant has been awarded to the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) at its Culham site in Oxfordshire. The grant will underpin the UK involvement in the EURATOM Joint European Torus (JET), also at Culham, the development of the UK's own fusion device, MAST (Mega-Amp Spherical Tokamak) and research on the materials needed for a fusion power station.

Professor Sir David King, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Government and Head of the Office of Science and Technology said, "this grant will enable Culham to continue its excellent work in the development of fusion science leading to fusion power, and in doing so maintain the UK's position as one of the world leaders in fusion".

"This is part of a broad portfolio of energy related research", said Professor John O'Reilly, the Chief Executive of EPSRC, "developing fusion as a source of energy is an exciting scientific and technological challenge, this funding will further promote active engagement between Culham and the broader UK academic community".

Source: Eurekalert & others

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