After a short journey, I’ve arrived at a bland industrial park just outside Abingdon in Oxfordshire. It’s populated by retailers of kitchen units and courier service companies, so it seems like an unlikely place for me to find an answer to the energy crisis. But within one of these anonymous warehouses, a company is seeking to recreate and harness the power of the Sun. Tokamak Energy is building a device that looks like a steampunk submersible from a Jules Verne novel. Made from gleaming steel, it has glass-covered ports through which you can peer into the interior. Called ST40, it is still in the process of being assembled after its relocation from Tokamak’s previous premises. But once it is up and running, you wouldn’t want to be here. It will host a hydrogen plasma 10 times hotter than the centre of the Sun, with the aim of achieving nuclear fusion. When it was previously operating, says the company’s executive vice chairman Dr David Kingham, it was briefly the hottest place in the Solar System.
Science Focus 5th Dec 2018 read more »