UK government to invest £220m in new fusion power station


The UK government has agreed to commit £220 million to the design of a fusion power station.


The Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) will be a commercially viable fusion power station and will be ready by 2040. Andrea Leadsom, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, made the announcement during a visit to the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s Culham Science Centre HQ in Oxfordshire.

Why invest in fusion power?

The investment will mean that engineers and scientists can produce a conceptual design for the reactor that will generate fusion energy, converting it to electricity. According to the government, by copying the same processes that power the sun, fusion offers a virtually limitless source of clean electricity.

Ms Leadsom said: “This is a bold and ambitious investment in the energy technology of the future. Nuclear fusion has the potential to be an unlimited clean, safe and carbon-free energy source and we want the first commercially viable machine to be in the UK.

“This long-term investment will build on the UK’s scientific leadership, driving advancements in materials science, plasma physics and robotics to support new hi-tech jobs and exports.”

Professor Ian Chapman, CEO of the UK atomic energy authority, added: “The UK has a proud heritage of pioneering developments in fusion research. We are excited to work with our partners to take the next step towards a fusion-powered future.”

The risks of fusion power

However, despite the fact that fusion energy has the potential to produce a ‘virtually limitless source of clean energy’, the industry still faces numerous issues. Friends of the Earth has previously called nuclear waste management ‘an unresolved issue’ in the UK, there is a poor record of building power plants on time and within budget and also the risk of catastrophic impacts.

Prepare developments in the energy industry with ECTA

You never know how the energy sector will change over time, but with the right smart energy training courses, you can keep your knowledge and qualifications up to date, ensuring you can continue to provide the best service to your customers. Check out the currently available courses from ECTA and get in touch to find out more.