Jeff Bezos-supported nuclear fusion plant to be built in UK
11:54, 18 June 2021
Canadian company General Fusion backed by Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos is going to build a large-scale nuclear fusion demonstration plant in Oxfordshire, the UK, by 2025.
The new facility, which is planned to be 70% the size of a commercial reactor, is set to appear at the Culham campus, where the UK implements its national fusion research program. So General Fusion will enter into a long-term deal with the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) following the construction that starts in 2022. The development is said to cost around $400m.
The company said on Twitter that they are building their Fusion Demonstration Plant at the UKAEA Culham Campus in the UK.
The Fusion Demonstration Plant will demonstrate General Fusion’s proprietary Magnetized Target Fusion technology, paving the way for the company’s subsequent commercial pilot plant, according to the UKAEA statement. British authorities said they are "thrilled that Culham will be home to such a cutting-edge and potentially transformative project".
"Fusion energy has great potential as a source of limitless, low-carbon energy, and today's announcement is a clear vote of confidence in the region and the UK's status as a global science superpower," UK Science Minister Amanda Solloway said.
General Fusion's magnetized target fusion system uses the heated liquid metal, which is then pumped through a heat exchanger and used to generate electricity via a steam turbine. The plasma forming and compressing process repeats and the liquid metal is continuously pumped through the system. In addition to its role in compressing the plasma, the liquid metal liner shields the power plant structure from neutrons released by the deuterium-tritium fusion reaction, overcoming the problem of structural damage to plasma-facing materials.
General Fusion is a private company developing fusion energy generating electricity into a commercially viable energy source. As of late 2016, the firm had received $192 million in funding.