Two Nottinghamshire Sites Now Being Considered For World’s First Nuclear Fusion Power Plant

Nottinghamshire County Council and its partners say the West Burton A power station, based near Retford in the north of the county, has joined the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, in the south as possible locations.

Two Nottinghamshire sites now being considered for world’s first nuclear fusion power plant

By Tom Pegden

Two Nottinghamshire sites are now being considered for what could be the world’s first prototype fusion plant.

Nottinghamshire County Council and its partners say the West Burton A power station, based near Retford in the north of the county, has joined the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, in the south as possible locations.

They said both sites looked likely to fit the criteria for the Government’s Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production – or STEP – project ahead of the deadline for nominations at the end of the month.

Other UK sites are also being considered.

Some £220 million of government cash is going into finding an appropriate site to meet the UK’s carbon-zero targets, with the prototype fusion plant potentially operational by 2040.

Ratcliffe on Soar power station, a few miles east of East Midlands Airport, is owned by Uniper and is scheduled to close in 2025.

Last summer EDF Energy said the coal-fired element of West Burton power station will be closing before 2025.

The STEP programme is the first stage in the UK’s bid to be the first country to commercialise fusion energy, to meet future needs.

The county council said fusion offers a “virtually limitless source of clean electricity” by copying the processes that power the sun.

It said parts of the two sites look likely to meet the demands set by UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) for the first stage of the site nomination process – including having sufficient land for construction.

Nottinghamshire County Council is coordinating the nomination process for the county, working with partners including the landowners.

The proposal to nominate sites, subject to the landowner’s agreement, will be further discussed by councillors on March 17.

Nottinghamshire County Council leader Coun Kay Cutts MBE said: “Our county has proud heritage of producing energy which helped power the industrial revolution, so looking to the future, this could be our opportunity to help lead the UK’s green energy revolution.

“It is very early days of course in the process, but it would be a tremendous boost for Nottinghamshire and the rest of the region.

“Generations to come would benefit from new skills, training and thousands of highly skilled jobs, attracting investment and bringing massive benefits to our regional economy, not to mention lucrative opportunities for the local supply chain to help construct the plant.

“Located at the heart of the country, we are very well-placed to host a world-leading green energy site.

“It would build on our own ambitions to reduce carbon emissions and create new jobs and economic growth.

“Plans are already taking shape to work with a new regional organisation to help secure more Government and private investment.

“One of the key regeneration sites is the proposed International Centre for Zero Carbon at part of the Ratcliffe-on-Soar site. The centre aims to help the UK meet its carbon reduction targets, as well as creating thousands of skilled jobs and apprenticeships.

“So together with a potential fusion energy site in the county, Nottinghamshire would truly be a world leader in green energy production and fully recognise the economic benefits it would bring.”

If either site is successfully nominated there could be a further two years of assessments before the UKAEA will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The successful site will be announced around the end of 2022.

Within 12 months of selecting a site, UKAEA will establish a liaison office within the community including a stakeholder and community forum, to meet at least quarterly.

Zero greenhouse gas emissions and no waste products. Its only by-product is helium- an inert, non-toxic gas.

Fusion energy is inherently safe. It is difficult to reach and maintain the precise conditions for fusion – if any disturbance occurs, the plasma cools within seconds and reaction stops.

There is enough fusion fuel to power the planet for hundreds of millions of years. The raw materials for energy production are found in sea water and the earth’s crust.

Fusion can produce energy on-demand and is not affected by weather.

Fusion power stations require less land than other renewable technologies.

Originally published at Business live

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