THE Chancellor visited a major south Oxfordshire science campus to see its groundbreaking work up close.

Philip Hammond received a tour of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) at Culham Science Centre yesterday.

He found out about the centre's research in fusion energy, a clean and safe new source of electricity for future decades.

The Chancellor was shown UKAEA's new MAST Upgrade fusion experiment, which is set to be switched on later this year and will investigate a more efficient route towards future fusion power stations.

The visit also included a closer look at the robotic work taking place at the authority's Remote Applications in Challenging Environments centre, which is helping design remote maintenance systems for future powerplants.

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Professor Ian Chapman, CEO of UKAEA, outlined the authority's vision for the UK to be the first to deliver fusion electricity onto the grid.

This involves designing and constructing powerplants and is part of the country's Industrial and Clean Growth Strategy.

Professor Chapman said: “It was a pleasure to show the Chancellor around UKAEA’s groundbreaking facilities and explain our ambition to remain genuine world leaders in this transformative energy technology.

"Alongside other carbon free energy sources, fusion has a huge role to play in the future as we move away from burning fossil fuels and create clean and sustainable sources of energy.”

A contract extension for the world's largest fusion research facility, Joint European Torus, operated at UKAEA, was signed in March.