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.