Cohort 8 trip to Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE)
At slightly too early on a Friday morning, cohort 8 gathered outside the Whitely suite to travel together to CCFE, the UK’s forefront centre for fusion energy based just outside of Culham, Oxfordshire. On arrival, we met with our host Sergei Dudarev who plied us with coffee before we were given an overview of the centre and its various scientific programmes by Martin O’Brien, the centre’s director of new research opportunities.
We then ventured to the JET buildings, to see first hand the control centre, robotics centre and the hangar housing JET, the world’s most powerful tokamak.
Next we headed to the newly built Materials Research Facility, where Stephen gave us an introduction to the multitude of micro-characterisation methods used at the centre, and we peered over the hot cells from the overhead viewing gallery, in which neutron-irradiated material will soon be processed and analysed.
After lunch with Sergei, Max and Andrea (who specialises in primary radiation damage in materials, visiting from Helsinki), we spent our remaining time at CCFE with them, discussing the multiscale treatment of radiation damage in Tungsten. Discussing various mechanisms that need to be understood in the modelling of interacting defects and dislocations, we brainstormed ideas around the unsolved problems in the theory of high temperature annealing in irradiated materials.
Overall, our day at CCFE was scientifically stimulating and illuminated an area of work in which international collaboration is needed from both the academic and industrial communities. With a need for deep understanding of materials science and physics, the centre showcases a very important platform from which graduates of our CDT can hope to make an impact in their careers after Imperial.
Cohort 8 would like to give their thanks to all of the staff and academics at CCFE who made time to engage with us and make the day so memorable. We also extend our thanks to the TSM-CDT staff for organising the trip for us.
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