The UK government is committing £220m to the design of a fusion power station, the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP), in a plan to create a commercially-viable fusion power station by 2040.
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Andrea Leadsom, announced the funding package during a visit to the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s Culham Science Centre HQ in Oxfordshire.
The investment will allow engineers and scientists to produce a conceptual design for the reactor that will generate fusion energy and convert it into electricity.
The government says that 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 U.K.’
‘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.’
However, despite the potential to produce a ‘virtually limitless source of clean electricity,’ the nuclear industry has a number of problems.
Friends of the Earth has previously called nuclear waste management ‘an unresolved issue’ in the UK because of There is also the risk of catastrophic impacts with a poor record of building power plants on time and to budget.’
Environment Journal has asked Friends of the Earth for a statement about the new power station.
In related news, a global decline in the use of nuclear power could lead to billions of additional tonnes of carbon emissions being released, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has claimed.
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