Five sites throughout England and Scotland have been shortlisted as potential locations for Britain’s first fusion energy plant prototype. The plans for the project “Step” (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production) are being backed by the government, who have pledged £222m into Step currently, and the final location will likely be decided at the end of 2022. The UK Atomic Energy Authority claim that thousands of jobs would be created and should fusion become successful, create nigh-limitless, low carbon energy with hopes for the plant to be operational by 2040.
Nuclear fusion is the idea of super-heating hydrogen to over 100 million degrees Celsius, turning it into a plasma. This plasma would be controlled in some manner, likely with strong magnets, so that the atoms fuse together and release energy that would be collected. If successful, this would provide a source of energy that comes with low carbon and low risks. However, despite hopeful scientists and experts, others claim that the money invested should be put towards the cheaper renewable energy sources, which are cost-effective and guaranteed to help cut back emissions whilst fusion has yet to be achieved by mankind.
The sites in question are;
- Ardeer, North Ayrshire
- Goole, East Riding of Yorkshire
- Moorside, Cumbria
- Ratcliffe-on-Soar, Nottinghamshire
- Severn Edge, Gloucestershire
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