The Duke of Cambridge joined the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) at the Culham Science Centre near Oxford for a glimpse of a potentially world-changing energy project.
The Duke was at Culham to mark the end of construction of the UK’s new nuclear fusion experiment, MAST Upgrade.
His Royal Highness heard about the latest developments and research into nuclear fusion – the power source of the Sun – and how it could be commercialised to provide huge amounts of low-carbon electricity.
The Duke was given a tour of a machine capable of creating artificial stars and stood yards away from the MAST Upgrade chamber where, in a few months’ time, temperatures of 50 million degrees C will be created – three times hotter than the Sun before running a test of a ‘plasma’ – the hot gas that will form inside MAST Upgrade when it operates.
Watch a clip from inside the MAST upgrade of The Duke's Plasma test below:
The UK Atomic Energy Authority runs the UK’s national fusion research lab at Culham and its £50million MAST Upgrade device will put Britain at the forefront of international research when it begins operating in 2019.
MAST Upgrade will explore whether smaller reactors – the so-called ‘spherical tokamak’ design – could make future fusion power cheaper. It will also trial a novel way to exhaust heat from the large fusion reactors that are expected be on the grid by the middle of the century.