An existing coal-fired power station in Nottinghamshire has made the shortlist of what is hoped to be the world’s first prototype fusion energy plant.
Part of the site at Ratcliffe-on-Soar has made it to the final five as part of a national search for potential locations by the government for alternative energy plants, with the final decision due to be announced in late 2022.
The UK Government is bidding to be the first to develop a commercial power station that will use the energy produced by fusion reactions to generate electricity. Fusion offers an inherently safe and virtually limitless source of clean electricity by copying the processes that power the sun.
The ambitious project – Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production – known as STEP, is being led by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).
The authority announced today (Thursday 14 October) that part of the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station site will now progress to the final stage of assessment and has the potential to host the fusion power station, aimed to be built by 2040.
West Burton A, near Retford, which was also being considered as part of the 15-strong long-list, announced earlier this summer, has made the reserve list. Although it won’t be immediately assessed alongside the shortlisted sites, it will be brought into the process by the end of this year if any of the five sites fall out of the process.
Nottinghamshire County Council coordinated this nomination process for the county working with several partners, including the landowners of these sites as well as Rushcliffe Borough Council and Bassetlaw District Council.