Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
Five sites shortlisted for UK fusion energy plant
The STEP programme will pave the way to commercial fusion and a virtually limitless supply of low-carbon energy
- Fusion is a potentially world changing energy source that could help sustain the low carbon economies of the future
- The plant will support thousands of highly skilled jobs and stimulate the creation of a thriving fusion industry in the UK
- A final decision on the plant’s location will be made by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy around the end of 2022.
Five sites have been shortlisted as the potential future home of the UK’s prototype fusion energy plant – the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production, or “STEP”.
The sites, listed here alphabetically, are:
- Ardeer (North Ayrshire)
- Goole (East Riding of Yorkshire)
- Moorside (Cumbria)
- Ratcliffe-on-Soar (Nottinghamshire)
- Severn Edge (South Gloucestershire & Gloucestershire)
Fifteen sites were long-listed following an open call for sites between December 2020 and March 2021. Today, following an initial phase of assessment, the shortlist has been published.
STEP is a government-backed programme to build a prototype fusion energy plant in the UK. The STEP plant aims to generate net electricity as well as demonstrating how the plant will be maintained and how it will produce its own fuel.
STEP will create thousands of highly-skilled jobs during construction and operations and attract other high-tech industries to its host region, furthering the development of science and technology capabilities locally and nationally.
Fusion has the potential to provide a near-limitless source of low carbon energy by copying the processes that power the sun and stars where atoms are fused to release energy, creating nearly four million times more energy for every kilogram of fuel than burning coal, oil or gas.
STEP will pave the way to the commercialisation of fusion and the potential development of a fleet of future plants around the world. The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) is targeting first operations in the early 2040s.
George Freeman, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation said:
Fusion energy has the potential to be a truly revolutionary and inexhaustible energy source that can help us reduce our dependence on unreliable fossil fuels and tackle climate change.
By building the foundations to unlock the power of fusion energy, including the location of the UK’s first prototype fusion power plant, we are positioning the UK as a global leader in this safe and sustainable power source.
Paul Methven, STEP Programme Director at UKAEA, said:
The shortlisting of sites is a significant step for the programme as it helps bring this challenging, long-term endeavour to life in the here and now. It also increases our focus as we push on with design and delivery of what we hope is the world’s first fusion power plant prototype.
Through the next phase of assessment, we look forward to working with the shortlisted sites and local communities to gain a more in-depth understanding of the socio-economic, commercial and technical conditions associated with each site, before we make our final recommendations to the Secretary of State in 2022.
STEP is a UKAEA programme. UKAEA carries out fusion energy research on behalf of the UK government.
In addition to its initial £222 million commitment to STEP, the government has already invested £184 million for new fusion facilities, infrastructure and apprenticeships at Culham Science Centre near Oxford and at Rotherham, South Yorkshire.
For more information please contact Nick Holloway, UKAEA Media Manager at email@example.com.
Latest News from
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
UK to take a big ‘STEP’ to fusion electricity21/10/2021 10:25:00
The UK Government is committing £220M to the conceptual design of a fusion power station – the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP).
UK-led international summit sets new horizons for innovation20/10/2021 16:25:00
Pioneering businesses will benefit from an ambitious programme to enhance cross-border innovation, boost entrepreneurship and make regulation fit for the future.
Prime Minister's automotive roundtable: 19 October 202120/10/2021 13:22:00
Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with representatives of the automotive sector to discuss the UK’s electric vehicle revolution.
UK's path to net zero set out in landmark strategy20/10/2021 11:20:00
The Net Zero Strategy sets out how the UK will deliver on its commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
Plan to drive down the cost of clean heat19/10/2021 11:20:00
Plans to incentivise people to install low-carbon heating systems in a simple, fair and cheap way as they replace their old boilers over the coming decade.
Prime Minister's Ten Point Plan kickstarts green investment boom15/10/2021 11:22:00
More than £5.8 billion of foreign investment in green projects has been secured since the launch of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan.
Agreement reached to ensure supplies of CO2 to businesses12/10/2021 11:20:00
The CO2 industry has come to an agreement to ensure UK businesses have access to a sustainable supply of CO2.
Statement on roundtable between the Business Secretary and energy intensive industry representatives11/10/2021 14:20:00
Statement given recently (08 October 2021) from BEIS on roundtable discussions between the Business Secretary and representatives from energy intensive industries.