On the 3rd of October 2022, the government announced the location of the UK's prototype fusion energy plant, set to be built by 2040.
The government has confirmed the West Burton power station site in Nottinghamshire as the home for "STEP" Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production.
The government will be providing funding for the first phase of STEP. The £220 million funding will see the UK Atomic Energy Authority produce the concept design by 2024.
The STEP programme will create thousands of jobs requiring highly skilled talent for construction and operations. The STEP programme is set to attract other high-tech industries to the region, which will help further the development of science and technology capabilities throughout the UK.
A commitment to immediately develop apprentice schemes in the region is also part of the STEP programme. Following the success of the UK Atomic Energy Authority's (UKAEA) Oxfordshire Advanced Skills centre, discussions with local employers in the region have already begun so that the scheme can start as soon as possible.
The plant is considered to be "the first of its kind" when completed by 2040, following a speech from the business secretary. "Over the decades, we have established ourselves as pioneers in fusion science, and as a country, our capabilities to surmount these obstacles are unparalleled. I am delighted to announce a vital step in that mission".
WHAT IS FUSION ENERGY
Fusion is based on the same physical reaction that power the sun and stars. Fusion is the nuclear reaction that happens when two light nuclei smash together which fuse to create a heavier nucleus. This releases energy in the process.
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