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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Latest News from
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
UK government provides financial safety net for Horizon Europe applicants30/11/2021 13:25:00
New financial safety net will provide certainty for successful Horizon Europe applicants as association delays continue.
Fusion energy leader wins prestigious physics medal30/11/2021 11:20:00
Professor Ian Chapman, UK Atomic Energy Authority’s CEO, was yesterday awarded the Institute of Physics’ prestigious Richard Glazebrook Medal 2021 for his exceptional leadership in fusion technology and the field of physics.
UK Government announces biggest investment into Welsh tidal power29/11/2021 11:20:00
The funding confirms the continued commitment to reaching Net Zero by 2050.
Bulb customers protected as energy provider enters special administration25/11/2021 14:20:00
Energy provider Bulb to operate under a Special Administration Regime (SAR), protecting consumers and ensuring continued energy supply.
UK Government announces huge investment into Scottish tidal power25/11/2021 11:20:00
The UK Government will invest £20 million per year across the UK in Tidal Stream electricity as part of its flagship renewable energy auction scheme, kickstarting a brand-new chapter for Scotland’s tidal industry and creating jobs across Scottish coastal regions.
UK government announces biggest investment into Britain’s tidal power24/11/2021 14:25:00
The UK government is backing tidal energy as part of its flagship renewable energy auction scheme, announcing today its biggest investment in a generation into tidal power.
Funding helps UK distilleries fuel a greener future24/11/2021 11:20:00
£11.3 million funding to help UK distilleries ditch fossil fuels and develop low carbon heating systems that will make production processes greener.
How Bulb customers are being protected after its insolvency23/11/2021 10:15:00
What the government and Ofgem are doing to ensure Bulb customers don't need to worry about their energy this winter.