General Fusion demo plant gets municipal approval in UK

General Fusion aims to commission new fusion machine in UK in 2026

Artist's rendering of new fusion power plant designed by architectural firm AL_A. | Submitted

B.C.'s General Fusion has received a green light from the district government of South Oxfordshire in the UK to build a demonstration fusion power plant.

The company announced today it has received approval from the South Oxfordshire District Council Planning Committee to build the plant adjacent to the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) Culham Campus.

The company said it now expects construction on the demonstration plant to begin this summer. The Culham Centre is where another major fusion project -- the Joint European Torus -- is located.

“Receiving planning permission is a huge milestone and testament to the close collaboration between our team, General Fusion, and the UKAEA," said Amanda Levete, founder and principal of AL_A, the architectural firm that designed the new 10,500-square metre facility.

“The UK has been a longstanding leader in fusion energy development," said General Fusion CEO Greg Twinney. "We are thrilled to join the Culham Campus and the UK’s Fusion Cluster, and anticipate creating 60 long-term jobs at the site. In addition, we expect the project will generate approximately 200 jobs during construction.”

“The UKAEA welcomes this milestone as it aligns with our strategy to create clusters that accelerate innovation in fusion and related technologies, and support public-private partnerships to thrive,” said UKAEA CEO Ian Chapman. “It also builds upon our heritage of hosting major fusion facilities here at our Culham Campus.”

General Fusion has been developing a novel approach to generating fusion power -- a hybrid approach that combines magnetic confinement and pulse compression. Last year, the company raised US$130 million in Series E funding to help it advance the UK demonstration project.

The company says the demonstration plant will be built to 70% scale of a commercial power plant. It is aiming to commission its new fusion machine in 2026.