An ever-growing global population is increasing the demand for energy, but coal phasing out, and insufficient renewable energy sources for almost 8 billion people, a suitable energy baseline is required and the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) continues to push the boundaries.
Why is the Richard Glazebrook Medal significant in the energy sector?
The medal is awarded by the Institute of Physics (IoP), a professional body that represents the society for physics in the UK and Ireland. The group works with a variety of partners for the development of physics research and teaching in schools. The annual Richard Glazebrook Medal is awarded to thinkers and innovators within the industry who go beyond expectations, with the 2021 instalment going to Professor Chapman. As the Chief executive Officer of the UKAEA, he is responsible for maximising the scientific and economic value of the organisation.
In previous years, the award went to other influential parties in the industry. In 2020, the medal was presented to Professor John Llewellyn Collier at the Science and Technology Facilities Council (UKRI-STFC) for his commitment to strategic development and leadership in scientific exploration as well as pioneering developments in high peak power, high-energy, high-average power lasers.
This year, IoP has recognised the importance of nuclear power research to support the energy transition.
‘I’m honoured to receive this award on behalf of all the team at UK Atomic Energy Authority. Realising fusion energy is one of the biggest scientific and engineering grand challenges, but the rewards for success would be massive’, says Professor Chapman.
‘We all know we must address the effects of climate change, and fusion offers so much potential. Ensuring a low-carbon, low-land use, sustainable source of energy to satisfy a growing global population is what drives me every day, and I wouldn’t be here leading such a talented team if I didn’t think we could find the solutions we need’.
Why is the demand so high for nuclear power?
As the world shifts away from coal—accelerated by COP26—and adopts more renewable energy solutions, the industry requires a stable level of energy production to support the transition. With developments in nuclear energy proving to be highly lucrative for the clean energy sector, more industry authorities are willing to integrate it into future energy endeavours. Nuclear power acts as a continuous supply of carbon-free energy to households in 28 US states, while other solutions that rely on natural processes are currently intermittent.
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