An experimental nuclear fusion reactor will not be built on a site in Pembrokeshire’s Milford Haven waterway, on the Daugleddau estuary. 

Pembrokeshire County Council had entered the STEP site nomination process with the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) for a site on land adjacent to the Valero Refinery and RWE Pembroke Power station, to host a Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) fusion power station.

It was hoped, if approved, the facility would initially host research with the ultimate aim of developing the technology which could offer a virtually limitless source of clean electricity by copying the processes that powers the sun.

The National Wales: Pembrokeshire County Council backed calls to potentially build a nuclear fusion power station by the county’s Haven waterway have not been supported. Image: UK governmentPembrokeshire County Council backed calls to potentially build a nuclear fusion power station by the county’s Haven waterway have not been supported. Image: UK government

Following a decision by the UKAEA, Pembrokeshire will no longer be part of the STEP fusion power station process.

Pembrokeshire County Council's Cabinet had endorsed proposals from Cllr Paul Miller, cabinet member for economic development, to further progress the nomination back in May.

Working with UKAEA, the proposed site was adjacent to the existing energy facilities on the south shore of the Haven waterway.

Speaking today, October 14, Cllr Paul Miller, said: “We heard earlier today that Pembrokeshire hasn’t made the UK Atomic Energy Agency’s final shortlist to host their Fusion Energy Plant prototype. We were given detailed feedback and ultimately the topography of the site proposed – specifically the need for substantial ground works to accommodate UKAEA’s needs – and the proximity to the site of a number of areas with environmental protection designations, meant other sites were considered easier to deliver than the one here in Pembrokeshire.

“It’s disappointing, but this was only ever one part of our much broader plan to transition the Haven Waterway to renewable energy. We’re determined to remain critical to the UK’s energy system and to lead the UK’s transition to renewable energy while at the same time of course, securing those skilled, secure and well-paid jobs upon which the local economy is so dependent.

“Through this bid process we’ve deepened ties with key government agencies, the private sector and regulators and none of them are left in any doubt that, fusion or not, Pembrokeshire is open for business and is determined to become the green energy capital of not just Wales, but of the United Kingdom.

“This one might not have gone our way but we remain extremely well positioned for the future.”

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