Former prime minister, Sir Tony Blair, underlined his continued support for fusion energy and its role in addressing energy security and climate change for generations to come.
During a recent visit to UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) in Oxfordshire, Sir Tony was briefed by fusion leaders on the progress of STEP – the UK’s prototype fusion plant being built at West Burton, Nottinghamshire, to demonstrate the ability to put net electricity on the grid.
Sir Tony said: “Fusion promises to be a safe, low carbon and sustainable part of the world’s future energy supply and it is critical that we keep striving forwards to tackle one of the greatest scientific and engineering challenges of our time.
“It was fantastic to see and hear about the progress being made by UKAEA today and to meet the people who are working towards making fusion energy an environmentally responsible part of the world’s future energy mix.”
Fusion energy has the potential to provide ‘baseload’ power, complementing renewable and other low carbon energy sources as a share of many countries’ energy portfolios.
Tony Blair Institute For Global Change has previously championed pivot-support-programmes to harness the technology transfer from fusion to adjacent sectors.
Ian Chapman, UKAEA CEO, said: “The UK has a huge opportunity to become a global exporter of fusion technology, which promises to be a part of the low carbon energy mix in the second half of the century.
“Sir Tony was very interested in discussing the work we are doing at UKAEA, which will help address global challenges as well as create jobs and drive economic growth in fusion-focused and adjacent fields.”
As part of the visit, Sir Tony experienced a close-up of UKAEA’s Joint European Torus (JET) facility which produced landmark results announced earlier this year.
He also met with scientists and engineers for a behind-the-scenes tour of materials science and robotics facilities.