What is fusion energy?

Fusion energy has great potential to deliver safe, sustainable, low-carbon energy for generations to come. It is the ultimate energy source.

UKAEA engineers working on the MAST Upgrade fusion machine

Based on the same processes that power the sun and stars, fusion promises a near-limitless green electricity source for the long term, using small amounts of fuel that can be sourced worldwide from inexpensive materials. It releases nearly four million times more energy than burning coal, oil or gas. 

Here’s what the fusion energy experiments at UKAEA involve: 

  • Two hydrogen gases, deuterium and tritium, are heated to 150 million degrees Celsius in a doughnut-shaped container, called a tokamak, to create a plasma 
  • The atoms fuse together to create helium and release huge amounts of energy 
  • In a future power station, that energy will be used to heat water into steam to turn into electricity.

Find out more about our fusion facilities.

Image of the Sun
Fusion: the ultimate energy source

The pressure is on to address the effects of climate change by decarbonising energy production. UKAEA’s experiments are crucial steps forward on fusion’s pathway to tackling the global energy crisis. 

Fusion will be a critical piece of the future energy puzzle. It has the potential to provide baseload power, complementing many countries’ energy portfolios. As part of a low-carbon energy mix alongside renewables and other sources, it will help the world to sustain net zero from the second half of the century onwards. 

The world needs fusion energy.

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