The UK’s Business and Energy secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg has announced that the West Burton power station site in North Nottinghamshire has been selected as the location for the STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production) prototype fusion energy plant.
Driven by the UK Atomic Energy Authority, STEP will be the world’s first, fully integrated, fusion energy plant and paves the way for fusion technology to become a commercially viable source of energy. The UK government had pledged more than £220m to support the programme.
It builds on the success of the UK’s fusion centre at the UKAEA’s home in Culham, Oxfordshire.
West Burton A is a coal fired plant commissioned in 1966 owned and operated by EDF and due to be retired in March 2023. West Burton B is a CCGT plant, owned and operated by EIG and commissioned in 2013.
Mr Rees-Mogg, announcing the government's choice from among five contenders, commented "The plant will be the first of its kind, built by 2040 and capable of putting energy on the grid, and in doing so will prove the commercial viability of fusion energy to the world."
Image: Artist's impression of the STEP fusion energy plant reactor (courtesy of UKAEA)