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Lords Committee to scrutinise nuclear fusion research

How close are fusion technologies to commercialisation, at what cost, and how can the UK's strategy be improved?

On Tuesday 21 July the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee will hold a one-off evidence session looking into the prospects for nuclear fusion and the UK's research and development landscape.

The Committee will question three key figures in the field of nuclear fusion research on a range of areas including the UK's capability, levels of investment, and the timescale for commercialisation of technologies.

The witnesses giving evidence to the Committee are Professor Steve Cowley, Director of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy; Dr David Kingham, Chief Executive, Tokamak Energy; and Dr Sharon Ellis, Deputy Director, Research Councils Unit, Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

The questions that the Committee are likely to ask include:

  • How much money does the UK invest in nuclear fusion research and is it cost-effective?
  • What is the capability for nuclear fusion research in the UK?
  • Is private nuclear fusion R&D in the UK flourishing, and how well is it supported by the Government?
  • How effective has Government action been to lead this area?
  • What is the likely timescale for commercialisation of nuclear fusion technologies? Could we be generating electricity by 2050?
  • Are there any lessons to be learned from international research programmes into nuclear fusion, such as those underway in the USA and China?
  • Is the Government's Nuclear Strategy fit for purpose in terms of fusion research? Does it adequately recognise the contribution that the advancement of fusion technology could make to the nuclear energy landscape in the UK?

The evidence session will be held on Tuesday 21 July, at 10.40 in Committee Room 4A of the House of Lords.

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