A new fusion power plant that may create high skilled jobs and attract significant inward investment is on the cards for Nottinghamshire.
It has been recommended that Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Cabinet endorses, in principle, the submission from the expression of interest for the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station site to become one of several sites being put forward in the East Midlands to the STEP (Spherical Tokamak for Wind turbine) programme.
Explaining the reasoning behind the recommendation for the endorsement, a council document says: “The site chosen for STEP may have global visibility and will form the centre of a programme of activity supporting thousands of high-quality high-tech jobs. STEP will support economic growth, supplying the opportunity to attract £1.5bn of inward investment, and the training of highly skilled engineers. It will also be an integral part of meeting the worldwide net zero challenge.
“The proposal complements other opportunities being progressed for the redevelopment of the Ratcliffe on Soar site including the proposals for a Development Corporation and also the recently submitted Freeport bid. STEP is the one other option to be explored with possibility to complement the decarbonisation and innovation objectives of the region and it is a none binding expression of interest at this stage.”
STEP is a programme to create and build a prototype fusion power plant. It's a Government programme with £222 million funding to produce a concept design by 2024. It is hoped that the STEP prototype will illustrate the commercial viability of fusion and enable the future development of a number of commercial fusion plants.
There are three phases towards the programme:
- Produce a concept design by 2024.
- Design to become developed through detailed engineering designs, while all consents and permissions to construct the plant are sought.
- Construction from the prototype power plant, targeting completion around 2040.
The deadline for that submission of expressions of interest for sites is the end of March 2021. The expression of great interest is being prepared by local partners including D2N2 LEP and Nottinghamshire County Council using the support of the landowner.
Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station (of Uniper) will close in line with Government policy by 1 October 2025.