A bid to see the Government’s new Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) hosted at Heysham has taken a step forward today.
STEP is an ambitious programme to build the World’s first prototype fusion energy plant, generating electricity for the grid by 2040. As a low carbon energy source, fusion could help combat climate change.
Lancaster University is a partner in Bay Fusion – an association of local companies, Lancaster City Council, Lancashire County Council, local colleges and a group of leading Universities led by Lancaster, brought together to support the nomination of Heysham as a potential location for STEP.
This proposal – if approved – would build on our existing strengths in physics and engineering, teaching and engagement and our global research networks. STEP could have a transformative impact, on the globally leading research at Lancaster and across the NorthWest, but also for the local economy, bringing substantial investment, employment and training opportunities to the community.
Today the bid was selected as one of 15 sites in the running to become the future home of STEP, as announced by the UK Atomic Energy Authority.
Following consultation, including panel discussions with the public, Lancaster City Council’s cabinet voted in favour of supporting a Heysham bid and Bay Fusion submitted its Expression of Interest to UK Government (UKAEA) on Wednesday March 31.
The next stage will see UKAEA visiting the candidate sites to help make their recommendation to the Secretary of State.
Malcolm Joyce, Professor of Nuclear Engineering at Lancaster University, said: “STEP is an extraordinarily exciting opportunity for Heysham because it combines the potential to benefit the local and regional economies very significantly, with the opportunity for these communities to influence the development of a technology that has the potential to help avert climate change, worldwide.”
Dr Samuel Murphy, Director of Studies for Nuclear Engineering at Lancaster University, said: “As a nationally important infrastructure project, STEP is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for investment in Heysham, Lancaster and the North West and would signal the Government’s confidence in the region’s ability to build the world’s first fusion reactor and lead the fight against climate change.”