PhysSoc is a free society, which you automatically become a member of by studying physics. It organises many a thing, such tours for students. Many of them are proper trips, which cost the moneys, but a free one came up and I wanted to look at a TOKOMAK.
JET is the Joint European Torus and the largest plasma confinement experiment in the world. It is the predecessor of ITER and DEMO, which should be efficient enough to not only break even, but keep up a self-sustaining fusion reaction (as long as you keep feeding the plasma.)
The idea of creating fusion in our humble non-sun environment has been around for a long time and many of us probably learned about the poor unfortunate who was certain he had achieved cold fusion, although he was measuring background radiation.
JET uses magnetic confinement to compress plasma. It then heats it up additionally using neutral beams and radio waves, which cause the precessing particles to resonate, hence gaining more kinetic energy.
Due to neutrons flying around, a lot of the reactor is radioactive enough that generally putting people into it is not the best idea. Hence, a system called MASCOT was developed. It is a remote handling system, controlled using model arms and an advanced feedback system, which allows you to feel the pressure of the item you are pushing/ twisting/ pulling/ generally annoying.
Moral: a cool thing happened and cool things are generally likely to happen because physics