A step closer to designating the site of the first fusion energy power plant

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  • UKAEA’s STEP program will play a key role in the fusion energy of the future and create thousands of highly skilled jobs
  • The location of the prototype fusion energy power plant will be confirmed later this year; community engagement events run until February 10
  • Fusion energy is crucial to combating climate change through a secure, efficient and low-carbon energy supply

Residents and other local stakeholders in shortlisted areas of the UK are invited to give their views on new prototype fusion power plant proposals, which could be built in their area.

A series of virtual community forum events will take place online in each of the five selected regions from January 26 to February 10.

STEP, or Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production, is a UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) program to pave the way for the development of commercial power stations, capable of delivering an unlimited supply of clean, low-emission energy of carbon. It will also show how a future fusion power plant will be operated and maintained.

UKAEA engineers and scientists involved in the one-of-a-kind project will engage with residents and stakeholders at the five shortlisted sites to explain the benefits of safe and sustainable fusion energy, and how the proposed prototype power plant will create thousands of highly qualified people. jobs and attract other high-tech industries to its host region.

The STEP site will be selected by the Secretary of State at the Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The final decision on the chosen site is expected towards the end of 2022. The UKAEA will make recommendations based on a set of criteria, including local community support and the potential for socio-economic benefits in that locality. The community forums will take place in the five pre-selected sites as follows:

• Ardeer, North Ayrshire (January 26, 6-8pm) • Moorside, Cumbria (January 31, 6-8pm) • Goole, East Yorkshire (February 2, 6-8pm) • West Burton, Nottinghamshire (February 8, 6-8pm) ) ) • Severn Edge, Gloucestershire (February 10, 6-8pm)

Tristram Denton, Head of Business Development and Programs for STEP, said: “STEP is not only of strategic importance to the UKAEA, but also to national and global efforts to harness fusion technology in the fight against climate change. Although still in its infancy, we foresee the host region becoming a global hub for a wide range of technological and scientific expertise, paving the way for enormous economic opportunities.

“The UK government is committed to achieving net zero by 2050 and fusion is part of the long-term solution, alongside a continued increase in energy from renewable sources such as wind power and solar. The recent COP26 climate conference highlighted the need to push harder and faster, and STEP brings us ever closer to fusion.

Stakeholder and community engagement is part of the STEP site selection process, enabling the UKAEA to publicize the program in each of the five shortlisted sites and collect initial feedback.

Each community forum is open to everyone and will include an overview of the program, proposal details, and an open forum for questions and discussion. This will allow participants to learn more and provide feedback, which will form an important part of the evaluation process as the team develops its final recommendations.

Residents and other local stakeholders in the pre-selected regions can learn more by registering for one-to-one sessions taking place via Microsoft Teams on Eventbrite.

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