Cumbria’s Moorside still in running for prototype fusion power plant
The United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority is hosting a consultation event to discuss with residents the impact the plant would have on the local economy as well as the benefits of fusion energy.
The £222m Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production will ideally be capable of providing a near-limitless source of low carbon energy. It would do this by mimicking the way the sun creates energy by fusing atoms together.
Moorside is one of five sites being examined as a location for STEP. The others are Ardeer in North Ayrshire, Goole in Yorkshire, Ratcliffe-on-Soar in Nottinghamshire and Severn Edge in Gloucestershire.
The Secretary of State at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will ultimately select the winning site for the plant at the end of this year. Among the criteria for selecting a site is the degree of support from the local community and the potential for socio-economic benefits for that area.
“STEP is not just of strategic importance to UKAEA, but to the national and global efforts to harness fusion technology in the fight against climate change,” said Tristram Denton, head of commercial and programme development for STEP.
“While it’s still early days, we anticipate that the host region will become a global hub for a wide range of technological and scientific expertise, leading to massive economic opportunities.
“The UK government is committed to net zero by 2050 and fusion is one part of the long-term solution, alongside a continued increase in energy from renewable sources like wind and solar power,” he continued. “The recent COP26 climate conference highlighted the need to push harder and faster, and STEP will take us closer to making fusion a reality.”
UKAEA will host a virtual consultation event, complete with a presentation on STEP and a question-and-answer period on 31 January between 6pm and 8 pm. Learn more at thecumbrialep.co.uk/event/step-siting-moorside-community-forum.
“I would strongly encourage our businesses and communities to attend this online event to find out more about STEP,” said Rebecca Watson, chair of Cumbria LEP’s Clean Energy Sector Panel.
“It has the potential to create a clean, green, safe and abundant energy source, which will genuinely transform energy generation, once operational,” she continued. “This is one of the most exciting projects in the UK and Cumbria has the potential to host this and create high-quality jobs for future generations.”
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