IET Power Academy

IET Power Academy: Roles

Power suppliesWhat role can Power and Electrical Engineers play in fusion research projects? In short by looking-after, operating and upgrading the wide range of required electrical power equipment.

Large amounts of electrical power are required at Culham to generate the necessary confinement magnetic fields, and heat the fusion plasma to the huge temperatures required to research the conditions required for fusion to take place. JET's main power source, the 400kV super-grid, is able to supply up to 550MW but this is not enough for all the loads required during an experiment. In addition two large flywheel generators, each with rotors weighing in at 775 tonnes and measuring nine meters in diameter, are used generate up to 400MW each and supplements the power drawn from the grid.

This power is then distributed from our 36kV sub-station and then managed by the numerous large and complex power systems to control the voltage and current in the various coils, antennae and beam sources. JET has equipment with a total installed capacity in excess of 1,000MVA and with individual plant ratings of up to 130kV dc and 120kA dc. High-power power converters and switchgear, pulsed-power electronics using thyristors, IGBTs, IGCTs, vacuum valves and other technologies in both linear and switch-mode systems can all be found in use at Culham.

For further information of some of JET's Power Supply systems please visit: