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Thermonuclear Fusion

Volume 888: debated on Tuesday 18 March 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what sites have been outlined for the Common Market project to test the feasibility of controlled thermonuclear fusion—Joint European Torus Project; and what are the relative advantages of each.

Six sites have been proposed for the Joint European Torus Project. They are Culham (United Kingdom), Cadarache (France), Garching (Federal Republic of Germany), Julich (Federal Republic of Germany), Mol (Belgium) and Ispra (Italy). These sites are at present being considered by a Community Site Committee which is assessing their relative merits.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many scientists and research workers in the United Kingdom, the Federal Republic of Germany, France and Italy are currently working on controlled thermonuclear fusion; and how much money has each of the States spent on this line of research.

The major expenditure in this field in the United Kingdom is undertaken by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. It estimates that 145 qualified scientists and engineers are currently employed on its programme. Net expenditure since 1954, when the authority was established, is estimated at £68 million and the estimated outturn for 1974–75 is £3·7 million. Figures for the other countries mentioned are not readily available.

asked the Secretary of State for Energy where the original work on controlled thermonuclear fusion was undertaken in the Community.

In the countries now members of the Community the earliest experimental work towards controlled thermonuclear fusion was carried out in three United Kingdom universities from 1947 to 1951. The first co-ordinated programme of controlled thermonuclear research was undertaken at Harwell and Aldermaston from 1952 onwards and is now centred on the Culham laboratory of the Atomic Energy Authority.