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Residents invited to join discussion on STEP plans

Posted on 19 Jan 2022


North Ayrshire residents are being invited to an online discussion on Wednesday, 26 January, about proposals to bring an innovative fusion power plant to a former industrial site in Ardeer.

North Ayrshire is one of five sites in final consideration to host the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production, or STEP, an ambitious UK Government programme to build a prototype fusion power plant capable of delivering power to the National Grid. 

Fusion is the process that powers the sun and all the stars in the universe. It has the potential to provide a near-limitless source of low carbon energy by copying the processes that power the sun and stars where atoms are fused to release energy. 

Unlike the fission reactions harnessed in conventional nuclear power plants, which generate potentially dangerous radioactive waste products, fusion reactions have the potential to create abundant zero-carbon power while producing helium, a harmless inert gas, as a by-product.

A successful prototype fusion power plant could provide nations around the world with a safe and environmentally source of electricity to help them reach their net-zero goals. Lessons learned during the construction and initial operation of STEP will enable the future development of a fleet of commercial fusion plants.

Representatives from UKAEA are making their last site visit to Ardeer on Tuesday, 25 January.

The following evening - Wednesday, 26 January - they will join representatives from Fusion Forward (Ardeer), the consortium which co-ordinated the bid, for a public online discussion about STEP and its potential for economic, educational and social benefits. 

Fusion Forward (Ardeer) is comprised of the University of Glasgow, North Ayrshire Council and landowners NPL Group.

If the bid is successful, STEP will support the delivery of around 3,500 skilled jobs during STEP’s construction, and up to 1,000 engineers, technicians and support staff once the plant is operational. 

Up to 5 per cent of those jobs will be apprenticeships and graduate positions. The plant is set to be operational by 2040.

The online session, which is open to all, will run between 6pm and 8pm on Wednesday, 26 January, via Microsoft Teams.

This event will also be screened live in the Lesser Hall  at Ardeer Neighbourhood Centre for those who are unable to access it online. Please come along for 6pm. 

Brief presentations from the UKAEA and Fusion Forward (Ardeer) will be followed by an open question and answer session.

To register for the event, visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/step-siting-ardeer-community-forum-tickets-247200622717