Fusion plant could power thousands of Gloucestershire jobs
By Rob Freeman | 26th March 2021
The world's first fusion power plant could bring thousands of jobs to the region if a bid to build it in Gloucestershire is successful.
As reported on Punchline-Gloucester.com last week, a partnership of local authorities, development bodies and landowners alongside the training and education sector is behind the bid.
It follows a call for expressions of interest by the UK Atomic Energy Authority with the bid, under the banner of the Western Gateway, to be submitted by the end of the month.
The bid would centre on the former nuclear power station sites at Berkeley and Oldbury-on-Severn with associated businesses, training and technical facilities.
It would be expected to be operational by 2040 with much of the supporting eco-system in place by then.
Bid co-ordinator Andy Bates from Business West said: "This will be a multi-billion pound investment creating thousands of jobs both in the plant, and related services and industries.
"It is exactly the sort of project we need to help tackle challenges and inequalities across the region that have broadened and deepened as a result of the tough economic climate."
He continued: "We have abundant land already identified in national and local policy as suitable for power generation development.
"This is surrounded by a hotbed of expertise in high technology digital, materials and manufacturing industries and close to the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire.
"The region has has always been at the forefront of innovation in power generation, and we have modern construction know-how, a skilled workforce and first-class education and training institutes.
"There is also a groundswell of political and community support. It is a perfect fit."
The bid has the backing of South Gloucestershire Council, Gloucestershire County Council, Stroud District Council, Nuclear South West, Business West, West of England Combined Authority, West of England LEP, GFirst LEP, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College and Bristol University's South West Nuclear Hub.
A selection process by the UKAEA will draw up a shortlist for submission to the Secretary of State for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy with the final decision expected by the end of 2022.
Fusion technology recreates a reaction similar to that which takes place in the sun, fusing atoms together rather than splitting them.
It requires very little fuel to release enormous amounts of energy and produces only small amounts of waste with no carbon emissions.
Copyright 2021 Moose Partnership Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any content is strictly forbidden without prior permission.