Nuclear Fusion

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 16th April 2019.

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Photo of Lord Goodlad Lord Goodlad Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to support the realisation of the potential benefits of fusion energy for the UK economy.

Photo of Lord Henley Lord Henley Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The Government is determined to realise the potential benefits of fusion energy for the UK by maintaining the UK’s status as the best place for fusion R&D. On 27 March 2019, the UK and the European Commission signed a new contract extension until the end of 2020 for the Joint European Torus (JET) facility, a fusion research reactor operated by the UK Atomic Energy Authority, the UK’s publicly funded, world-leading fusion research laboratory. This action is independent of the wider EU exit negotiations and safeguards the facility and over 500 high-skilled jobs at UKAEA’s Oxfordshire site.

The government continues to support UKAEA, undertaking several recent investments and initiatives. In the 2018 Budget, the Chancellor announced £20m in the 19/20 financial year for UKAEA to begin development of a new UK based Nuclear Fusion reactor, STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production), paving the way for new UK-developed fusion power and technology. In autumn 2018, UKAEA completed a £50m upgrade to the UK’s domestic fusion research reactor, the Mega-Amp Spherical Tokamak. UKAEA are also developing a new £86m National Fusion Technology Platform, building new fusion R&D facilities to secure the UK around £1 billion in international contracts and, over the longer term, put the UK in a strong position to exploit the commercialisation of fusion energy.

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