Research challenges

Realising fusion’s potential as an energy source will involve solving a series of science and engineering problems to build reliable, efficient and economical reactors. We are tackling the big challenges on the path to commercial fusion power.

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Interior of JET

Plasma science

Culham Centre for Fusion Energy has a world-renowned plasma science programme.
Understanding how hot, turbulent plasma fuel behaves is essential for designing and building fusion reactors using the tokamak design. CCFE’s Tokamak Science Department combines theoretical physics studies and advanced computer modelling with data from plasma experiments.

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JET

The Joint European Torus (JET) is the world’s biggest and most powerful tokamak.
Hosted at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, it is the focal point of the European fusion research programme.

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Materials science

Choosing the right materials will be crucial to building commercial fusion reactors.

To be economically viable, a fusion reactor’s components must be able to survive for long periods in a very challenging environment.

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MAST Upgrade

MAST Upgrade is the UK’s national fusion experiment.
MAST Upgrade is one of the newest and advanced tokamak experiments in the world – trialling a promising design for compact fusion devices known as spherical tokamaks. It is also tackling one of fusion’s biggest challenges: plasma exhaust.

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STEP

The Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) is an exciting and ambitious programme to accelerate the delivery of fusion energy.
It aims to deliver an integrated design for a commercially-viable fusion power plant based on the spherical tokamak concept.

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Artist's illustration of a spherical tokamak power plant

H3AT

H3AT will be a world-first tritium research centre.  Located at Culham, it will research how to process, store and recycle tritium, one of the fuels that will supply fusion power stations.

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Tests at the Fusion Technology Facilities

Fusion Technology Facilities

The Fusion Technology Facilities will take UKAEA expertise into the age of fusion power plant delivery.
They will enable industrial partners to test prototype components in the conditions found inside fusion reactors – getting a head-start in the commercialisation of fusion energy.

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Research collaborations

Culham Centre for Fusion Energy works with research organisations all over the world to bring fusion power closer to fruition.

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Research policy statement

It is the policy of UKAEA / Culham Centre for Fusion Energy to seek to achieve the highest standards with regard to good research practice and the handling of potential scientific misconduct.

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