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 strengthens protections for taxpayers in energy treaty negotiations27/06/2022 11:20:00
The UK has reached a landmark agreement to modernise the terms of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).
Consultation launched on proposed acquisition of Ultra Electronics Holdings plc by Cobham Ultra Acquisitions Limited24/06/2022 14:20:00
A consultation on the proposed acquisition of Ultra Electronics Holdings plc, a UK defence company, by Cobham Ultra Acquisitions Limited was yesterday launched.
The UK's energy priorities: enhancing energy security and pathways to decarbonisation23/06/2022 15:15:00
Speech delivered by Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng at the Chatham House Second Century London Conference.
Government announces package of new measures to drive space sustainability23/06/2022 14:15:00
The new measures will demonstrate the UK’s commitment, ambition and drive to improve the UK’s sustainable use of space.
Government acts to make it easier for businesses to use temporary staff to help ease disruptions caused by strike action23/06/2022 11:25:00
New law to allow businesses to supply skilled agency workers to plug staffing gaps during industrial action.
Government to make it simpler for businesses to apply new product safety markings20/06/2022 16:15:00
Changes will make it simpler for businesses to apply new product conformity markings for most products placed on the market in England, Scotland and Wales.
Electric motorbikes and off-road trucks to unlock growth and jobs across the UK17/06/2022 11:05:00
£43.7 million joint industry and government funding to support the development of the latest green auto tech, including electric motorbikes and off-road vehicles.
National Security and Investment report shows new system is working16/06/2022 15:10:00
The first report on the UK’s new national security and investment system has been published.