Power plant near Gainsborough has 1 in 5 chance to be world's first nuclear fusion power station

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A power plant near Gainsborough is one of five which could be the potential future home of the world’s first prototype fusion energy plant.

Representatives from businesses and academic organisations from across the Midlands gathered in Parliament to show their support for Nottinghamshire County Council’s campaign, alongside EDF UK, Midlands Engine, D2N2 LEP and Bassetlaw District Council, to host the UK’s first commercially operating fusion power plant.

West Burton A, an existing coal-fired power station, is one of the five government-selected sites in the running to host the new blueprint for the zero-carbon generation for the whole of the UK, known as the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP ).

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Achieving STEP would transform and regenerate the region, creating thousands of jobs and supply chain opportunities for construction and manufacturing sectors, in an area already intimately linked with fossil fuels.

Brendan Clarke-Smith, MP for Bassetlaw and Rachael Glaving, EDF commercial directorBrendan Clarke-Smith, MP for Bassetlaw and Rachael Glaving, EDF commercial director
Brendan Clarke-Smith, MP for Bassetlaw and Rachael Glaving, EDF commercial director

North Nottinghamshire has a rich heritage in energy generation and has been at the forefront of powering the nation with the region often referred to as megawatt valley.

Fusion has the potential to provide a near-limitless source of low carbon energy by copying the processes that power the sun and stars where atoms are fused to release energy, creating nearly four million times more energy for every kilogram of fuel than burning coal, oil or gas.

Rachael Glaving, commercial director, Generation at EDF UK, said: “EDF is the UK’s largest producer of zero carbon electricity, we operate all of the country’s nuclear power stations, so we were delighted to see the West Burton A site on the shortlist for the UKAEA’s very exciting fusion project. It really is a perfect fit for a site.”

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Lord Ravensdale, co-chair of the Midlands Engine APPG, said: “West Burton is uniquely placed to deliver this with extensive energy capabilities and associated supply chains already in place and this will bring generational transformation to the region.”

Coun Simon Greaves, leader of Bassetlaw District Council, said: “West Burton is the ideal location for the STEP project.

"There is local and regional support for the site, a proud history of energy generation, access to skills and a strong supply chain in place.”