Fusion Energy

SIMposium 3 April 2023 – Economically competitive fusion energy

This year’s SIMposium concentrates on the financial and technical challenges of producing economically competitive fusion energy.  It matches well the Lord Mayor’s theme of “Financing the Future“,, which was promulgated by the Rt Hon Lord Mayor, Alderman Nicholas Lyons, in his Address to the Livery. It has been endorsed by Senior Alderman Below The Chair, Professor Michael Mainelli in this letter.

Starting in 2006, the Master of the Scientific Instrument Makers has organised an annual SIMposium to focus on an important scientific topic of their choice, with the added proviso that younger researchers in the fields of interest to the Company should, ideally, be given a chance to demonstrate their contributions.  To read about the history of this event please go here.

Normally this is an internal event with under 30’s invited for free and older members paying a small fee to cover the cost of refreshments.

This year’s event is being opened up to a wider audience in the Livery and to those in the industry. It will be held in the SIM Hall otherwise known as Glaziers’ Hall.

Booking will be open at 0900 on 31 January 2023. Eventbrite booking Link.


Power from nuclear fusion has begun to attract the attention of investors across the world.  While all nuclear-generated electricity to date has been based on fission or the “splitting of the atom”, there is now considerable and revived interest in an alternative way of generating nuclear-based electricity, from nuclear fusion, which involves, put simply, squashing atoms together.

The aim of a fusion reactor is to generate extreme conditions like those found at the centre of the Sun, which will cause hydrogen atoms continually to combine to make helium, and release huge amounts of energy in the process, with little radioactive waste.  While there has been progress in moving towards this goal, continuous energy production has still not been achieved, in spite of the significant research funding provided by many countries.

But new fusion enterprises are beginning to spring up, and they are attracting billions of pounds in private investment.  Does this intriguing new phenomenon mean that we are closer than was commonly thought to generating economically competitive fusion energy?  The SIMposium has been organised in order to test this proposition, and to showcase the research and financial strategies being employed to overcome the scientific and engineering obstacles that lie along the path towards commercial viability.


SIMposium, 3 April 2023 – Economically competitive fusion energy

 9.30 Arrival – coffee and biscuits

10.00 Leadership Session 1,  Court Room

Chaired by Professor Philip Thomas, Master of the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers

10.00 Introduction: Professor Philip Thomas

10.10 The global fusion landscape, Tom Davis (Oxford Sigma)

10.35 Questions

10.40  Introduction to fusion – UKAEA perspective, Tim Bestwick, Chief Technology Officer & Director Strategy, Communications and Business Development at UK Atomic Energy Authority

11.05 Questions

11.10  Coffee

11.30  Leadership Session 2, Court Room

Chaired by Charles Holroyd, Deputy Master, Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers

11.30  Private sector funding and valuation: An international perspective, Douglas Hansen-Luke (Executive Chairman, Future Planet Capital)

11.55  Questions

12.00 Tokamak Energy – accelerating the development of commercial fusion, David Kingham (Tokamak Energy)

12.25 Questions

12.30  Open challenges for measurement in fusion:

Dr Lyn McWilliam (UKAEA) is an R&D Engineer at the H3AT (Tritium Advanced Technologies) Facility, and will present an overview of challenges in the fusion fuel cycle.

Mr Adomas Lukenskas (UKAEA) is an Engineer working on Breeder Blanket technology and will present some of the measurement challenges in flowing liquid metals like Lithium and Lithium-Lead.

12.55  Questions

13.00 Lunch

14.00 Scholarship Session, River Room

14.00 Opening of poster session, Prof. Tom Scott (Director of SW Nuclear Hub, University of Bristol)

14.15 onward: 12 Posters, primarily from younger researchers in industry and university

16.00  Tea available

16.30  Close