UK fusion investment creates 36,000 jobs, report finds
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Research into fusion energy has benefitted the UK to the tune of £1.4bn and 4,000 jobs annually, according to the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).
In a new report, it calculated that the £346.7m of funding it had allocated generated a direct gain of £1.4bn.
Approximately 36,900 direct and indirect job years were also created through direct employment and related activities amount to about 4,000 jobs on average each year.
The body also highlighted the advances to “fusion-adjacent” technologies through technology transfer from fusion. These include advancements in robotics, developments of new materials and contributions to computing and artificial intelligence. It added that future sectors that it expects to benefit include space exploration, mining, healthcare, and transport.
Fusion is a proposed form of renewable energy generation which would replicate the nuclear processes taking place inside stars on Earth. It is often cited as a holy grail for energy generation although it is yet to be made efficient enough to create a net power surplus.
Last year, the UKAEA announced plans to create a £22m fusion energy research facility in Rotherham in 2020.
It said it expects numerous additional economic gains from fusion, such as market, network and knowledge “spillovers”, which arise when economic activities in one part of a market have effects elsewhere.
Professor Ian Chapman, UKAEA CEO, said: “The report highlights much that is positive about UKAEA’s work. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg with regards to UKAEA’s capabilities and fusion energy’s projected contribution to our shared economic, ecological and social future.”
“Fusion energy research and development needs long-term and large-scale investments. There are substantial benefits fusion research and development can deliver not only to the economy, but also to the UK’s net zero target by 2050, which means going beyond the decarbonisation of electricity.”
“Our mission is to lead the delivery of sustainable fusion energy and maximise scientific and economic benefit.”
Today, the Government also confirmed plans to double the amount of renewables getting support in the next round of contracts for clean energy technology.
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