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The Wonder of Fusion

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Professor Steven Cowley addressing Fusing the Project World Conference, ITER, 4 Sept 2015 on "The Wonder of Fusion"
Steven Cowley became Director of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority’s Culham Laboratory in September 2008 and Chief Executive of the UK Atomic Energy Authority in November 2009. He received his BA from Oxford University and his PhD. from Princeton University.

Professor Cowley’s post-doctoral work was at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy and he returned to Princeton in 1987. He joined the faculty at the University of California Los Angeles in 1993 rising to the rank of Full Professor in 2000.

From 2001 to 2003 he led the plasma physics group at Imperial College London. He remains a part time professor at Imperial College. From 2004 to 2008 he was the Director of the Center for Multi-scale Plasma Dynamics at UCLA.






His main research interest is in realising fusion power. He has also published over 150 papers on: the origin of magnetic fields in the universe, the theory of plasma turbulence and explosive behaviour in both laboratory and astrophysical plasmas. Professor Cowley co-chaired the US National Academy’s decadal assessment of, and outlook for plasma science.

He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Physics and the recipient of the IOP’s 2012 Glazebrook Medal for leadership in physics. Currently he is also a member of the Prime Ministers Council on Science and Technology.

In 2014 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

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The Wonder of Fusion

  1. 1. CCFE is the fusion research arm of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority Fusion Perfect Energy Steve Cowley UK Atomic Energy Authority and Imperial College
  2. 2. Historic Experiment
  3. 3. JET (to scale) JET (to scale) First Sustained Burning Plasma. Fusion Power 500MW Burn Flat Top >400s Power Amplification Q>10 ITER
  4. 4. ITER First sustained burning plasma. Starts in 202?. BASIC PARAMETERS: •Plasma Major Radius 6.2m •Plasma Minor Radius 2.0m •Plasma Current 15.0MA •Toroidal Field on Axis 5.3T •Fusion Power 500MW •Burn Flat Top >400s •Power Amplification Q>10 •Cost is > 12 Billion Euro. Which fusion? Enough lithium in sea to supply 30 million years of world energy needs Plasma at 200 miilion degrees Blanket at ~ 600 degrees C
  5. 5. ITER Computer Modeling Fusion Power (MW) Budny 2009 Heating Power (MW)
  6. 6. Why Bother?
  7. 7. 40$billion$tonnes$of$CO2$will$be$emiDed$this$year.$
  8. 8. Ultimate fuel resource for different energy systems Large resources in coal, fission breeder and fusion. Solar provides a large resource as well. Source: WEC, BP, USGS, WNA 1 10 100 1000 10000 100000 1000000 10000000 oil gas Coal U Breeder Lithium YearsofWorldenergysupply Lower resource Upper resource New Resource CAN WE AFFORD TO BURN ALL OF THESE David Ward
  9. 9. How do we know ITER Will Burn?
  10. 10. 12
  11. 11. New records Currently the only machine capable of fusion JET 2018 prediction
  12. 12. And then?
  13. 13. And then? First Fusion Electricity
  14. 14. Delivering this project couldn’t be easy. And it isn’t. …. And it couldn’t be more important. Final Thought

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