On Monday, July 31, the UK Science, Innovation and Technology Committee published a comprehensive report on delivering nuclear power, concluding that the UK should continue R&D for fusion technologies with fusion as a ‘part of the Government’s long-term energy plan’.
In the report, the Committee aims to examine how the Government can achieve its ambitions set out in its Energy Security Strategy, including furthering fusion.
Done right, the UK can be in the vanguard of delivering nuclear innovation, jobs and clean, affordable and reliable energy. But there is now an urgent need to turn hopes into actions.”– Chair of the Science, Innovation and Technology Committee, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP
Using a wide set of written evidence and testimony, the Committee recognized that the UK is a world leader in fusion research and development and that, while the UK’s commitment to nuclear power has been intermittent, it has maintained steady funding for fusion – a significant driver of the UK’s fusion leadership position. Since 2010, the government has invested £970 million into fusion R&D. The Joint European Torus (JET) facility hosted at the Culham site is the largest and one of the most successful national fusion facilities to date.
In the report, the Committee says that recent technological breakthroughs, the growth of private fusion companies, and the UK’s critical role in ITER are compelling reasons to continue the country’s long-standing commitment to fusion. Private investment into the global fusion industry has recently surpassed $6bn, and the private fusion sector is more diverse than ever. The FIA has recently expanded our presence in the UK, and we look forward to engaging and supporting Parliament as attention on fusion continues to sharpen.
“As well as the strong publicly funded programme of work that UKAEA is carrying out, the UK has a growing range of commercial companies conducting fusion research and building pilot scale demonstration reactors. These private companies are often targeting more ambitious timelines for connecting their powerplants to the grid, with a 2022 survey of commercial companies revealed that 93% of companies believed that ‘fusion electricity will be on the grid in the 2030s or before.’ “House of Commons Science, Innovation and Technology Committee
You can read the full report here: Delivering nuclear power, Eighth Report of Session 2022–23