Two coal-fired power stations in Nottinghamshire have been shortlisted as potential options for a new fusion energy power plant scheme.
Part of the site at Ratcliffe on Soar, in Rushcliffe, and West Burton A near Retford, have both been selected in the final 15 sites as the Government looks to find locations for alternative energy plants.
It comes as part of the UK’s bid to be the first to develop a commercial power station that will use the energy produced by fusion reactions to generate electricity.
Fusion offers a safe and virtually limitless source of clean electricity by copying the processes that power the sun.
The project – Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP), is being led by the UK Atomic Energy Authority which announced on Friday (June 11) that the two Nottinghamshire sites had been shortlisted.
It is hoped that the new fusion power station will be built by 2040.
Councillor Simon Robinson, leader of Rushcliffe Borough Council, welcomed news of Ratcliffe on Soar’s inclusion.
He said: The nomination of the Ratcliffe on Soar site for STEP had the full support of the borough council and so we are very pleased that it has got through the first stage of the assessment process.
“Securing the best future use for the site is a priority and STEP, along with plans for a development corporation and freeport, provides an incredible opportunity to have a world-leading development in Rushcliffe which will bring many significant benefits for our communities and businesses.
“We look forward to working with our partners and UKAEA to progress the site through the next stage in the process.”
The nomination process for the two sites is being led by Nottinghamshire County Council, which is working with Rushcliffe and Bassetlaw councils.
Councillor Ben Bradley MP, leader of the county council, said: “This is hugely exciting news for Nottinghamshire. Achieving STEP would bring incredible benefits to the county, putting it at the heart of the government’s plans to revolutionise the way we generate energy in the UK and position Nottinghamshire as a major player in the levelling up agenda.
“It would build on the existing strengths of our universities and manufacturing sectors, but would also create new skills, training, and thousands of highly skilled jobs, attracting investment and deliver amazing overall benefits to our regional economy including the lucrative opportunities for the local supply chain to help construct the plant.
“We are an ambitious county and have a proud heritage of producing energy which helped power the industrial revolution, but looking to the future, we want to be at the heart of the UK green energy revolution
“As global energy demand continues to grow, this technology is expected to play a crucial role in helping to achieve net-zero emissions – in a safe and sustainable way – during the second half of this century.
“We’ll be doing all that we can to help bring this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to Nottinghamshire by continuing to work closely with our partners, including the landowners.”
UKAEA is now set to engage with local authorities and landowners before deciding the next round of shortlisted sites by the end of the year.
After final shortlisting is complete, the final site is expected to be announced by the end of 2022.