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Five UK sites shortlisted for prototype fusion plant

Five sites have been shortlisted, from a previous long-list of 15, by the government as the potential future home of the UK’s prototype fusion energy plant – the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP). They are Ardeer (North Ayrshire), Goole (East Riding of Yorkshire), Moorside (Cumbria), Ratcliffe-on-Soar (Nottinghamshire) and Severn Edge (Gloucestershire).

STEP is a government-backed programme to build a prototype fusion energy plant that aims to both generate net electricity as well as demonstrating how the plant will be maintained and how it will produce its own fuel. The project could create thousands of highly-skilled jobs during construction and operations and attract other high-tech industries to its host region.

Fusion has the potential to provide a near-limitless source of low carbon energy by copying the processes that power the sun and stars where atoms are fused to release energy, creating nearly four million times more energy for every kilogram of fuel than burning coal, oil or gas, says the government.

It could also pave the way to the commercialisation of fusion and the potential development of a fleet of future plants around the world, adds the government. The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) is targeting first operations in the early 2040s.

Paul Methven, STEP Programme Director at UKAEA, said: ‘The shortlisting of sites is a significant step for the programme as it helps bring this challenging, long-term endeavour to life in the here and now. Through the next phase of assessment, we look forward to working with the shortlisted sites and local communities to gain a more in-depth understanding of the socio-economic, commercial and technical conditions associated with each site, before we make our final recommendations to the Secretary of State in 2022.’

News Item details


Journal title: Energy World

Countries: UK -

Organisation: GOV.UK

Subjects: Nuclear engineering, Electricity generation,

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