This morning, the UK Government announced that the siting portal for the UK’s prototype fusion energy plant is open. They called on local communities across the country to put forward proposals to host STEP – the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production, a key element of the Prime Minister’s green energy revolution.
The design and construction of STEP will be delivered through UKAEA, targeting completion around 2040. STEP will be an integrated plant, with much of the infrastructure of a power station, and will demonstrate the commercial viability of fusion.
The plant will pave the way to a fleet of commercial plants in the second half of the century, providing a virtually limitless supply of low carbon, clean energy and helping to create thousands of highly-skilled jobs.
Communities have until the end of March 2021 to submit their nominations and will need to demonstrate that their local area has just the right mix of social, commercial and technical conditions to host the new plant. The successful site will be home to the construction of STEP and will become a global hub for fusion energy and associated industries.
Business and Energy Secretary Alok Sharma said:
“We want the UK to be a trailblazer in developing fusion energy by capitalising on its incredible potential as a limitless clean energy source that could last for generations to come.
“Communities across the country have an incredible opportunity to secure their place in the history books as the home of STEP, helping the UK to be the first country in the world to commercialise fusion and creating thousands of highly skilled jobs to drive our green industrial revolution.”
STEP will be delivered through the UK Atomic Energy Authority which carries out fusion energy research on behalf of the government.
In addition to its £222 million commitment to STEP, the government will also invest £184 million by 2025 in new fusion facilities, infrastructure and apprenticeships at the Culham Science Centre in Oxfordshire, providing further support to this important centre of fusion and innovation.
UK Atomic Energy Authority CEO Professor Ian Chapman said:
“STEP is about moving from research and development to delivery.
“It will prove that fusion is not a far-off dream, but a dawning reality with the UK leading the commercial development of fusion power and positioning itself as a pioneer in sustainable fusion energy.
“To achieve this ambitious goal will require all the ingenuity and application of the UK’s science and engineering industry and we look forward to working with industrial partners in the years ahead, not just to invest, but also to support the technical evolution of the programme.
“We are confident that working together with partners in the UK and around the world will enable the UK to bring a revolutionary technology to market.”
For more information on STEP and the siting process, please visit https://step.ukaea.uk.