About the Video

Understanding Nuclear Fusion – a new nuclear future?

A background to the nuclear industry for translators. We are facing a growing problem with
energy for the world population, which is growing at an astounding rate and as the standard of living is also rising, the demand for energy is rising faster than the population growth rate. The vast majority of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuel. This cannot continue indefinitely as oil reserves are finite and Global Warming means we may face a serious food shortage if the climate changes radically.

Renewables are providing only a few percent of the energy for the world and almost all renewables, with the exception of hydroelectric dams, are “in addition” to power stations and not “ instead of” power stations and so cannot be relied upon for “base-load” energy supply continuously.

Nuclear fission has contributed a significant amount to the base-load supply, but there are issues with this technology, and so researchers are examining using Nuclear Fusion, the process that keeps the sun hot, as hydrogen is transmuted into helium releasing energy in the process.

The talk covers this world energy issue and then move on to showing what Nuclear Fusion is, and how it is being researched using the machines in UK (JET) and the latest machine in France (ITER).  The speaker shows the progress toward putting Fusion generated electricity onto the grid within our lifetime. A certain amount of terminology useful to translators working in the sector is provided.


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Robin Stafford Allen

Robin is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and started his  professional life in the Motor Industry with a branch of General Motors, gaining his BSc (Birmingham, 1972) in Mechanical Engineering while training with GM.

After a Masters in Bio-engineering at Surrey (1976)he worked for several years on the engineering of the first generation of MRImagnets and cryostats with Oxford Magnet Technology, then part of Oxford Instruments.

In 1992 he joined CCFE (Culham Centre for Fusion Energy), working in Cryogenics and in the Heating and Fuelling of plasmas. He recently spent a sabbatical six years as Director of Engineering for a small tenant company designing and constructing a large 1-metre-bore special superconducting magnet for the AMS-2 experiment (a mass-spectrometer) which was launched on the penultimate Shuttle flight to the International Space Station.

Recently retired from the CCFE on the mechanical engineering of the plasma-heating equipment for the ITER machine, and the British fusion research effort MAST machine he now works part time for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and giving lectures on the nuclear fusion industry.


55 minutes.

Who should watch it?

Translators already working in, or intending to work in the nuclear industry. The webinar is strong on background to the industry. A certain amount of English terminology is provided.

What are the benefits to you?

By the end of the video you will have a clear picture of the nuclear fusion sector and will feel more confident translating the technical documentation that it generates.

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  1. Robin has the incredibly rare gift – for a man of science – of unraveling complex subjects to make them accessible to all. This is thoroughly pleasant lecture delivered with passion, care and humility, which may or may not make you a better translator, but will certainly make you a lot more competent on the subject of nuclear fusion.

  2. Anne Quillevéré

    Robin Stafford Allen gave a great presentation, making complex concepts seem so easy to understand. I wish I had him as a physics professor in college! Very useful webinar…

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