Thangam Debbonaire, MP for Bristol West visited the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) Culham Science Centre on Friday 09 March 2018, to learn about the viability of nuclear fusion as a potential energy source, as part of her Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) Fellowship* exploring renewable energy.
The visit was organised in partnership with Lancaster University and the UKAEA, and gave Thangam the opportunity to explore one of the world's leading fusion research laboratories.
During her visit, Thangam was briefed on the present status and future potential of nuclear fusion by Ian Chapman, UKAEA CEO, Martin O’Brien, UKAEA Director of New Research Opportunities, and Malcolm Joyce Professor of Engineering at Lancaster University. She also learned about the research into Nuclear Fusion that is taking place at Lancaster University and the applications this is having at Culham.
She toured the central focus of the UK fusion programme, the MAST (Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak) experiment, as well as the world's largest magnetic fusion experiment, JET (Joint European Torus), and had lunch with UKAEA apprentices.
Thangam’s visit follows a day spent at Tidal Lagoon Swansea in February, continuing her IPT Fellowship to learn about some of the most innovative possibilities for a renewable and sustainable future, and allowing her to advocate for a forward-thinking approach to clean energy in Parliament.
Commenting on the visit, Thangam said: “It was a pleasure to visit Culham today. Touring this world-leading centre has given me an invaluable insight into the potential of nuclear fusion technology, which is an essential part of any effort to understand the many possibilities for a carbon-free energy future.”
Ian Chapman, UKAEA CEO, said: “We were delighted to host Thangam today and introduce her to our cutting edge fusion facilities and the people working on them. If the UK is to remain a world leader in sustainable nuclear energy, it is important that parliamentarians understand the work we do at UKAEA.
Lancaster University’s Professor Malcolm Joyce, said: “One of our research specialisms at Lancaster University is Nuclear Fusion and we were pleased to take the opportunity to show Ms Debbonaire the real-world applications of this research with a visit to the UKAEA. We are very pleased to be involved with the IPT Fellowship Programme to support parliamentarians’ learning and development on subjects such as this.”