Simon Middleburgh talks Nuclear Fusion breakthrough on BBC Radio Wales

A Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough

February 2022 marks a historical month for the world of Nuclear Energy. A 24-year-old nuclear-fusion record has finally been broken.

Researchers at the Joint European Torus (JET), a fusion test reactor with a tokamak design, generated 59 megajoules of heat – equivalent to about 14kg of TNT – during a five-second burst of fusion, more than doubling the previous record of 21.7 megajoules set in 1997 by the same facility.

A nuclear fusion tokamak reactor
The Joint European Torus tokamak reactor near Oxford, UK, is a test bed for the world’s largest nuclear fusion test reactor — ITER in France. Credit: Christopher Roux (CEA-IRFM)/EUROfusion (CC BY 4.0)

This new record saw troves of media attention as people around the word are reminded that fusion energy once again draws closer to making a meaningful impact on their everyday lives. Once fusion power arrives, the energy it will generate – which releases no carbon dioxide and is dubbed “clean energy” – will be absolutely revolutionary in our efforts to achieve Net Zero by 2050 and our energy needs beyond that.

Simon’s Radio Appearance

Ser Cymru Reader, Dr Simon Middleburgh was invited to share his opinions and insights on this news on the BBC Radio Wales Drivetime Show – Radio Wales Drive. Simon discussed how this breakthrough would be a “major springboard” to future experiments and a confirmation that all the science and engineering work that has gone into making fusion a possibility over the past few decades is indeed viable and that exciting times are ahead of us in the world of nuclear science.

Simon also discussed how private companies such as Tokamak Energy – currently the UK’s biggest fusion plant designer – might lead the way for making these reactors run not only for five seconds, but perhaps for 5 or even 50 years.

Click here to listen to the full clip of Simon discussing the importance of the breakthrough and what the future holds here on BBC Sounds.