Proposal to build 'world's first' fusion power station in Heysham takes one step closer

Bay Fusion’s proposal for Heysham has been accepted into the next stage of assessment for the government's STEP siting competition.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 4:00 pm
Updated Friday, 11th June 2021, 4:02 pm
MAST-U - technology that would be used in STEP.

From a number of submitted nominations there is now a shortlist of just 15 sites across the country, including Heysham and others such as West Burton and Milford Haven.

In the next phase of assessment, a more detailed technical evaluation of shortlisted sites will be undertaken by UKAEA (UK Atomic Energy Authority) experts, with an eventual site recommendation made to the UK Government.

The Secretary of State is expected to decide the winner around December 2022.

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Bay Fusion says fusion energy is key to the global fight against climate change, and is key to meeting the world’s energy challenges in the second half of the 21st century and beyond.

As the world decarbonises transport and heat, relying on more electricity, generation of power from fusion could be the solution.Fusion provides virtually limitless amounts of low carbon clean energy, copying the process that powers the sun.

It is inherently safe with abundant and widespread fuel resources in seawater and the earth’s crust.

Fusion power would complement other electricity generation such as renewables used around the world.

A spokesperson from Bay Fusion said: “This is very exciting and positive news for our nomination application.

"There is a long way to go in this nomination process, however we are confident that Heysham and our district has all the pieces of the jigsaw that could make siting STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production) in this area a real possibility.

"We look forward to working with UKAEA and other stakeholders in the coming months to progress the nomination further.”

Coun Tim Hamilton-Cox, cabinet member with responsibility for sustainable economic prosperity at Lancaster City Council said: “This is really encouraging news and to get to this stage has involved a significant amount of work by council officers and the council's extensive range of private and public sector partners.

"I'd like to thank all of them for their support and intensive input. There is still a long way to go, and it is sure to be a very competitive process between all the bidders.”

Councillor Tricia Heath, cabinet member with responsibility for business/Morecambe recovery, added: “These are exciting proposals and if they were to be realised would mean huge economic benefits for all our communities.

"I believe that we have the perfect mix of local expertise, infrastructure and transport networks that will be needed. We look forward to working closely with UKAEA on the next stage and making the case for Heysham to be the preferred location.”

The location chosen for STEP will become a global location of excellence for fusion technology, development and operation.

The project will bring major investment in the local economy, training/education at all levels, high tech industries and creation of highly skilled jobs in engineering, technology, science and maths.

The scale of the site would be significant, including training centers and science parks, and it would be a game changer for the community and wider region that is chosen for STEP.

Investment in training and infrastructure would begin soon after site selection.

The construction of the site and prototype power plant lasting until the 2030s, with the target to produce electricity generated by fusion by 2040.

The UK aims to be the first country in the world to successfully commercialise fusion energy technologies.

£222 million has already been committed to an initial STEP design phase by the UK Government.

The Government has announced investment of a further £184 million by 2025 in new facilities, infrastructure and apprenticeships in fusion.

A recent independent study by London Economics found that the UK economy has gained £1.4 billion from the government’s direct investment in fusion energy over the past decade.

STEP Programme Director, Paul Methven said: “STEP is about building on the amazing science done over decades in fusion and translating that into a real prototype power plant that paves the way for this fantastic new energy source.

"Selecting a site is critical for that transition to delivery and we are pleased to have received a number of high quality nominations. We are looking forward to getting to know the nominating communities as we progress through the assessment process over the next year.

"Wherever STEP is eventually built, it will bring significant benefits to the region, including employment, skills development and the development of a high-technology, low-carbon supply chain.”

Bay Fusion is leading the STEP nomination for Heysham and is continuing to gather local and regional support from the general public and a wide range of industries that would have an interest in this nomination. To support as an individual or as a business, please visit www.bay-fusion.co.uk where you can sign up, and help show that we have strong local and regional support behind this proposal.

You can also follow developments, learn more about the STEP project, fusion technology and local events on social media using the hashtag #bayfusionuk