Which city will become home to the UK’s prototype fusion energy plant?

The plant is anticipated to start operations in the early 2040s

Pathway to COP26 report

Five cities have been shortlisted as the potential home of the UK’s first fusion power plant.

Fusion has the potential to become a source of low carbon energy by copying the processes that power the sun and stars.

The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) has unveiled today the five selected sites in North Ayrshire, East Riding of Yorkshire, Cumbria, Nottinghamshire and South Gloucestershire that will compete to accommodate the project.

The plant, which is expected to start operations in the early 2040s, aims to generate low carbon electricity and demonstrate how can be replicated in other areas.

Scientists estimate that every kilogram of fuel has the potential to produce nearly four times more energy than burning coal, oil or gas.

George Freeman, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, said: “By building the foundations to unlock the power of fusion energy, including the location of the UK’s first prototype fusion power plant, we are positioning the UK as a global leader in this safe and sustainable power source.”

Paul Methven, STEP Programme Director at UKAEA, said: “The shortlisting of sites is a significant step for the programme as it helps bring this challenging, long-term endeavour to life in the here and now. It also increases our focus as we push on with design and delivery of what we hope is the world’s first fusion power plant prototype.”

Nickolas Hawker, Chief Executive Officer of First Light Fusion, spoke to ELN about the future of fusion and how it can change the world within the next decade.

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