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William to learn about project to develop fusion reactor

William will tour the experiment at the Culham Science Centre near Oxford (Anthony Devlin/PA) Photo: PA Wire/PA Images

The Duke of Cambridge will learn about the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) project to develop a fusion reactor when he visits its science centre.

William’s visit will officially mark the end of construction of the Mast (Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak) Upgrade Fusion Experiment that aims to bring the power source a step closer.

Fusion power holds out the promise of almost unlimited supplies of clean energy.

It uses special forms of hydrogen as fuel, produces no greenhouse
gases, and the only waste product is helium.

But harnessing and reining in the mighty forces involved is a daunting challenge as at the heart of a fusion reactor is a super-hot cloud of electrically charged gas, or plasma, hotter than the sun’s core.

Keeping the hot gases stable and stopping them from escaping are some of the crucial problems scientists are hoping to solve in the coming years.

UKAEA is working with partners in Europe to create a reactor that can one day be plugged into the grid to produce low-carbon energy from fusion.

William will tour the experiment at the Culham Science Centre near Oxford and be shown footage of inside the Mast, which was completed this summer after five years.

In the control room, the duke will meet university and industry partners before starting a plasma test.