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Press Release - 05 June 2007

Bath Science Café: Fusion - powering the future?

Nuclear fusion will be clean and safe way of powering our future, says the speaker from next week’s Bath Science Café (Raven Pub in Queen Street, 7.30pm, Monday 11 June 2007).

Chris Carpenter, from the Culham Science Centre, the home of UK fusion research, will outline current research into nuclear fusion, the process which powers the sun, and describe its potential for the future.

Nuclear fusion works by combining atoms, rather than splitting them as happens in nuclear reactors, to produce in the future, baseload electricity with short lived radioactivity compared with fission.

“With fossil fuel reserves dwindling and the growing concern over greenhouse gas emissions, research into alternative energy sources such as fusion is taking on more significance,” said Mr Carpenter, who works on the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority fusion research programme.

“The world’s largest fusion experiment at Culham demonstrated the successful fusion of Deuterium and Tritium ions, producing some 16 megawatts of fusion power.

“The next stage is to build a much larger device in France which will be able to produce 500 megawatts of fusion power, whilst testing the reliability and engineering of the device in terms of future fusion power stations.

“At this rate we hope to see the first demonstration power plant on stream within 30 years.

“Fusion offers an abundant, safe and environmentally responsible additional energy option for the middle part of this century.”

The Bath Science Café is an ongoing series of monthly events where some of the country’s leading scientists will talk informally about their research over a pint.

The event will be held in The Raven pub in Queen Street in the centre of town. No tickets or reservations are required - just turn up at 7.30 pm for an 8pm start.

Organisers will ask for a small voluntary donation to cover travel costs for the speakers.

The next Bath Science Café will continue the topical energy theme with Professor Matthew Davidson, Department of Chemistry at the University of Bath, speaking on the molecular revolution in sustainable energy (Monday 9 July).

To register for email alerts about forthcoming Bath Science Café events, contact Melissa Spielman.

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