Energy generation by nuclear fusion is one of society’s biggest technological challenges. Decades after fusion was first demonstrated, there has been no obvious breakthrough on this front, though it’s frequently claimed that one is just around the corner. Now, following visible progress at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in southern France, it seems that the long-anticipated milestone might finally be reached. Yet away from this vast building site, a UK company is making the audacious claim that it will beat the international consortium to the punch. Tokamak Energy – based at Culham in Oxfordshire, next to ITER’s forerunner, the Joint European Torus (JET) – aims to supply fusion-generated electricity to the National Grid by 2030, before ITER has even started fusion reactions. Chief executive Jonathan Carling, who has no background in high-energy physics, comes instead from the far more commercial aerospace and automotive industries.
The Engineer 22nd Feb 2018 read more »