New proposals to support the rapid and safe deployment of fusion energy


A new report released today (Tuesday June 1) explains how the UK can support the rapid and safe introduction of fusion energy as the technology develops.

Produced by the Regulatory Horizons Council (CHR), an independent expert committee that identifies the regulations needed to foster technical innovation, the report makes recommendations on how fusion energy should be regulated in light of its inherently lower risk than nuclear alternatives. .

Fusion is the process that powers the sun. A fusion power plant would combine hydrogen atoms to generate energy without releasing the carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. UK hopes to deliver the world’s first prototype fusion power plant, WALK (Spherical Tokamak for Power Generation), by 2040.

the RHC The report says that innovation-friendly regulations will allow the technology to be deployed quickly and securely, boosting public and investor confidence.

Science Minister Amanda Solloway said:

Fusion energy has enormous potential, providing an inexhaustible source of carbon-free energy and helping us solidify the UK’s position as a science superpower.

Today’s report helps lay the groundwork to deliver the world’s first prototype fusion plant by 2040 and ensures that we can capitalize on the exciting innovation taking place here in the UK.

Focusing on the WALK program announced in October 2019, the report recommends the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Environment Agency are leading the way in developing the current regulations and putting in place the best framework for the technology to thrive.

Due to the lower risk associated with fusion than with nuclear fission, the report recommends that the current regulatory approach, led by HSE and the Environment Agency, is the most appropriate framework and that stricter regulations applied to nuclear energy would be disproportionate.

To ensure that the target of delivering a fusion power plant by 2040 is met, the report also recommends that the government consult with businesses and the public on its plans for fusion energy in the summer of 2021. and launch a public awareness program to increase understanding of the topic. In addition, it recommends that a joint guidance document be produced by EA, HSE and the Department of Economic, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to provide more clarity and ensure confidence in the technology.

Following the report’s release, the government confirmed today that it will launch a consultation on the regulation of fusion energy later this year, giving industry and the public a voice. The government has issued an interim response to the RHC report and will respond in full in early 2022 after consultation.

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