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U.K. selects site for world's first fusion power plant

Fusion is touted as a near-limitless source of energy.

Nuclear plants such as the Grohnde Nuclear Power Plant in northern Germany could yield substantial forms of new energy should research on fusion yield positive results. File Photo by Focke Strangmann/EPA-EFE
Nuclear plants such as the Grohnde Nuclear Power Plant in northern Germany could yield substantial forms of new energy should research on fusion yield positive results. File Photo by Focke Strangmann/EPA-EFE

Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The British government said it selected the location for what could become the world's first commercial-scale prototype for a nuclear reactor run by fusion, a near-limitless source of energy.

The government on Monday selected the West Burton A plant in Nottinghamshire, southeast of Leeds, as the site for its prototype fusion energy plant, which could be completed by 2040.

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Fission, which is used in standard nuclear-power reactors, works by breaking atoms apart. Fusion is a type of nuclear energy derived from the collision of atoms. It is considered a near-limitless and clean source of energy, but it's only been tested so far in non-commercial experiments.

"Fusion power creates nearly 4 million times more energy for every kilogram of fuel than burning coal, oil or gas," the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority explained.

RELATED Fusion scientists set record for energy generation in Britain

Ben Bradley, a council leader in Nottinghamshire County, welcomed the decision to eventually power the country from his constituency.

"It's new technology, we've proven that it works and north Nottinghamshire is going to be the hub of research, innovation, commercializing that and selling it to the world," he told the BBC.

EUROfusion scientists and engineers at the Joint European Torus facility in Oxford set a record for fusion energy early this year with the generation of 59 megajoules of sustained energy.

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Researchers said the results more than double the old energy record of 21.7 megajoules set in 1997 at the same facility.

The concept design for the facility in Nottinghamshire is expected a good two decades before the planned start of the prototype and will draw on at least $245 million in initial government funding.

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