UK communities to enter bid to host prototype nuclear fusion power plant
Communities in the UK are being asked to enter a bid to host a prototype nuclear fusion power plant.
The plant, which has government backing, is set to be built by 2040 but it still needs to find a site.
Communities have until March 2021 to submit their nominations, with the successful site to be chosen by the end of 2022.
The prototype doesn’t need to be near existing nuclear power stations but will need 100 hectares of land and a large water supply.
The project will create thousands of skilled jobs and will push the UK ahead in its planned “green industrial revolution” and reduce emissions to fight climate change.
The expected level of radioactive waste is also far lower than that generated through conventional nuclear fission and exclusion zone will be needed around the site, officials said.
The UK programme is called Step – the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production – and has been granted £222m to date by the government.
“We want the UK to be a trailblazer in developing fusion energy,” said Alok Sharma, the business and energy secretary. He said communities had an “incredible opportunity to secure their place in the history books” by potentially helping the UK to be the first country in the world to commercialise fusion power.
The timetable for Step is to have a concept design by 2024, then a detailed engineering design allowing the start of construction in 2032 and operations to begin in 2040.
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