Summary of Supporting Information
In order to provide further information, a summary
of the main facts underlying the note on timescale to fusion are
In the last 10 years there has been substantial
progress in a wide range of fusion physics, technology and materials.
Three selected highlights are:
JET, Europe's flagship experiment
based in the UK, has demonstrated fusion powers first in the range
of 1 Megawatt and then approaching 20 Megawatts, a very large
improvement over earlier power levels, demonstrating the advances
in fusion science.
In designing the next international
experiment, ITER, it has been necessary to develop and successfully
test prototype components of a fusion plant on a scale not previously
attempted, designed for use in a device producing hundreds of
Megawatts of fusion power. The development of new superconducting
coils, blanket modules, maintenance and other systems has moved
fusion technology forwards substantially.
New low activation materials, with
the capability to operate in a fusion environment without producing
long-lived radioactive waste have been developed in tonne quantities,
and it has been shown that even modified steels will perform well
in this respect. It is no longer the case that new, advanced materials
must be developed before fusion can be a viable technology. It
now remains to demonstrate these materials in a dedicated test
facility and optimise for lifetime and mechanical properties.
The UK funding for fusion has declined substantially
over the last 20 years. The figure shows the level of funding,
in 1990, over that period.