Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Physics Division

Physics Division Seminars

Physics Division Seminars bring us speakers on a variety of physics related subjects. Usually these are held in the Building 6008 large Conference Room, at 3:00 pm on the chosen day, but times and locations may vary. For more information, contact our seminar chairman,

Alfredo Galindo-Uribarri
Tel (Office): (865) 574-6124  (FAX): (865) 574-1268


Mon., May 02, 2005, at 11:00 a.m. (refreshments at 10:30)

The Fast Track to Fusion Power (A World Year of Physics 2005 Distinguished Lecture)

Chris Llewellyn Smith, Director UKAEA Culham Division, Head Euratom/UKAEA Fusion Association
Research Support Center, Room 202 (above the Cafeteria)

World energy use is predicted to double in the next 40 years. Currently 80% is provided by burning fossil fuels, but this is not sustainable indefinitely because i) it is driving climate change, and ii) fossil fuels will eventually be exhausted. The resulting potential energy crisis requires increased investment in energy research and development (which is currently very small on the scale of the $3 trillion p.a. energy market, and falling). The portfolio of work that must be supported should include fusion. The case for fusion has been strengthened by recent advances in plasma physics and fusion technology that are reflected in the recent European Fusion Power Plant Conceptual Study (PPCS), which addresses safety and cost issues. The big questions are – How can we deliver fusion power as fast as possible? How long is it likely to take? I will review the status of fusion research and development. I will then summarise the results of the PPCS and describe a model for the ‘fast-track’ development of fusion that has recently been developed at Culham, which could lead to a prototype fusion power station putting power into the grid within thirty years.