U.K. Seeks Site for Nuclear Fusion Pilot Project

The U.K. is looking for a site to develop a prototype power plant that will use nuclear fusion, with completion slated for 2040.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has asked local governments around the country to submit bids to host the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production project, also known as STEP.

The announcement comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson last month announced 222 million pounds ($297 million) to begin the STEP design work, as part of a ten point plan for a self-styled green industrial revolution.

Nuclear power plants today use a process called fission, which unleashes energy by splitting atoms. Fusion, in contrast, merges them to create plasma. But doing this requires temperatures far hotter than the sun - up to 150 million Celsius (270 million Fahrenheit).

U.K. Seeks Site for Nuclear Fusion Pilot Project

The STEP plant will be developed by U.K. Atomic Energy Authority and the ideal site will need to be near a grid connection and water supply.

“It will prove that fusion is not a far-off dream, but a dawning reality with the U.K. leading the commercial development of fusion power and positioning itself as a pioneer in sustainable fusion energy,” said Ian Chapman, chief executive officer of the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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