Prototype fusion power plant to be built in England

The demonstration project – developed by General Fusion – will showcase the emerging technology, creating fusion conditions in a relevant environment.

Amanda Levete’s practice AL_A first unveiled concept proposals for a prototype fusion power plant in 2021, and the proposed 10,500 square meters facility has recently obtained planning permission to be built at the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) Culham Science Centre, in South Oxfordshire.

The demonstration project – developed by General Fusion – will showcase and explain to visitors the magnetized target fusion (MTF) technology. The facility will be built on a smaller scale than a commercial nuclear power plant, creating fusion conditions “in a relevant environment” and reaching temperatures of over 100 million degrees Celsius.

The project, according to AL_A is a “direct reflection of the processes and equipment it will house” and its form was “conceived as an extension of the fusion machine [with] the radial arrangement providing maximum operational efficiency”. At its center will be a 38m-high cylindrical, concrete fusion hall housing the magnetized target fusion machine; around this will be wrapped a “delicate, translucent fabric” designed to “soften the building’s appearance”.

Work could begin this summer and General Fusion hopes to activate the fusion machine in service by 2026 and see it fully operational by early 2027.

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