A MACHINE which reaches temperatures 10 times hotter than the core of the sun has completed a major milestone.

The Joint European Torus (JET) at Culham Science Centre was first put into action in 1983, before an official opening by the Queen.

Weighing 2,800 tonnes – the same as approximately 14 blue whales – the JET completed its 100,000th live pulse this week.

The fusion energy machine is operated by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), which carries out fusion energy research on behalf of the Government.

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Fusion research aims to copy the process which powers the sun, to create a new large-scale source of low carbon energy.

The landmark experiment, known as a pulse, was completed by the EUROfusion consortium, a team of 4,800 experts dedicated to realising sustainable fusion energy.

Professor Ian Chapman, chief executive officer of UKAEA, said: “JET is one of the most important machines in the history of fusion energy research.

“Its longevity and successes have allowed us to break down many barriers on our mission to turn this ultimate science experiment into sustainable commercial power.

“It is clear significant changes are needed to address the effects of climate change, and fusion energy has huge potential.

“JET has inspired and driven physicists and engineers across the world to build invaluable knowledge and develop groundbreaking new technology through a staggering 100,000 live pulses.

“It is truly one of a kind, the best there has been, and will be remembered long into the future.”

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