Posted on: 1st December 2016
Culham Centre for Fusion energy (CCFE) has, for over 50 years, been the UK’s national fusion laboratory. It continues to advance Britain’s contribution to European fusion research through the MAST Upgrade tokamak and by operating EUROfusion’s flagship device JET.
Plasma in a cored apple
MAST Upgrade is part of EUROfusion’s Medium Size Tokamak programme, along with ASDEX Upgrade (Germany) and TCV (Switzerland). It explores the alternative ‘spherical tokamak’ configuration, in which plasma is held in a tighter ‘cored apple’ shape, giving the potential for more compact and efficient devices.
Home to EUROfusion’s flagship device, JET
Since 2000, CCFE has operated JET under contract with the European Commission. This involves providing engineering support for EUROfusion researchers during experimental campaigns, and maintaining and upgrading the machine during shutdown periods. CCFE has created a sophisticated remote handling system to carry out much of the engineering work on JET – notably demonstrated by the installation of the tokamak’s new ‘ITER-like’ inner wall in 2009-2011.
New facilities, MRF and RACE
Scientists may use Materials Research Facility (MRF) to examine the effects of irradiation on tiny fragments of fusion materials. The Remote Applications in Challenging Environments (RACE) centre applies the expertise from JET’s remote handling system to other fusion applications and to areas from space to deep sea, nuclear fission, construction and transport.