Next STEP for low-carbon energy

Next STEP for low-carbon energy

The future of abundant low-carbon energy without the need for fossil fuels has taken a STEP forward this week.

Yesterday, the Science Minister George Freeman visited West Burton Power Station to announce the creation of a new delivery body for the UK’s fusion programme, named UK Industrial Fusion Solutions, in addition to the creation of a new STEP Skills Centre that will be based at West Burton.

Fusion energy has the potential to transform our world, by delivering near limitless, safe and low-carbon energy across the globe for generations to come.

It also represents a burgeoning industry in which the UK is already a world-leader, as demonstrated by the record-setting results from experiments conducted at the UK’s Joint European Torus (JET) facility last year, with the potential to not only power the world but deliver vast economic growth across the country.

Cllr James Naish, Leader of Bassetlaw District Council, welcomed the announcement and said; “The construction of a prototype fusion energy plan will require significant investment over the next two decades, and we are delighted that the initial steps - including the appointment of the first three local jobs - are happening quickly and efficiently.

“I am especially excited by the broader benefits of this project. In addition to billions of pounds being spent on the project itself, we envisage millions being pumped into towns and villages across Bassetlaw, through both direct and indirect investment. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Retford, Tuxford and other nearby settlements to see improved infrastructure, better connectivity, and thousands of new skilled jobs - all of which will raise living standards and transform our area.

“The announcement about a new training hub on the West Burton site is also warmly welcomed. The creation of high-quality apprenticeships for people of all ages is a corporate priority for the Council, and we are looking forward to working with the UKAEA and its partners to create successful training programmes for current and future Bassetlaw residents.”

On the visit to Bassetlaw to see the future site of the UK’s first prototype fusion energy plant at West Burton, the Science Minister urged energy companies and investors to recognise the vast potential fusion energy could have for both the UK and the wider world.

Science and Innovation Minister George Freeman said: “Fusion energy now has the potential to transform our world for the better by harnessing the same process powering the sun to provide cheap, abundant, low-carbon energy across the world.

“The UK is the world-leader in fusion science and technology, and now we are moving to turn fusion from cutting edge science into a billion-pound clean energy industry to create thousands of UK jobs across the UK, grow exports and drive regeneration of this former coalfield site through a fusion innovation cluster in Nottinghamshire.

“That’s why I’m delighted to announce the creation of Industrial Fusion Solutions as the vehicle for industrial development and deployment of this technology as a new clean energy source in the coming decades.

The Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) plant will be constructed by 2040 to demonstrate the ability to use fusion energy to generate electricity for the UK grid.

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Pictured are, from left to right – Cllr Ben Bradley MP - Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, Cllr James Naish - Leader of Bassetlaw District Council, Ian Knowles - Chief Executive of West Lindsey District Council, George Freeman MP, David Armiger – Chief Executive of Bassetlaw District Council, Cllr Jo White Deputy Leader of Bassetlaw District Council, Adrian Smith – Chief Executive of Nottinghamshire County Council.

Last Updated on Tuesday, February 21, 2023