UK gets glowing salute from Bezos-backed General Fusion: Nuclear energy company to build plant in Oxfordshire

Biz will develop Magnetized Target Fusion technology at the site


General Fusion – the Canadian-based atomic outfit backed by Jeff Bezos and a battalion of other major investors – is to build a test facility in Oxfordshire to showcase its power-generating technology.

Following a COVID-friendly handshake, the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) has given General Fusion the green light to proceed with its Fusion Demonstration Plant (FDP) at UKAEA's Centre for Fusion Energy Campus in Culham.

The campus – a Royal Navy airbase until it was handed to the UKAEA in 1960 – is home to a cluster of fusion development technologies.

The building of the new plant is expected to start in the second half of next year and should be up and running in 2025.

According to the announcement, the FDP will feature General Fusion's proprietary Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF) technology. If successful, it could lead to the creation of a commercial pilot plant.

Writing in the company's blog, General Fusion chief exec Christofer Mowry explained: "At 70 per cent of full scale, it will be powerful enough to heat hydrogen plasma fuel to fusion temperatures of 150 million degrees.

"Utilising our pulsed Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF) technology, the FDP is designed to refine those technical performance metrics that will become the measure of our technology's ability to economically produce energy, durably operate as a power plant, and easily follow the fluctuating demands of electricity on power grids."

According to General Fusion, just 1kg of fusion fuel can power 10,000 homes for a year.

Earlier this month TerraPower – the Bill Gates-founded nuclear company – and Warren Buffett-owned PacifiCorp revealed they were hooking up to build a Natrium reactor at a decommissioned coal plant in Wyoming, US.

The project is based around a 345MW sodium-cooled fast reactor with a molten salt-based energy storage system.

According to boffins, the storage technology can boost the system's output to 500MW of power for more than five and a half hours when needed, which is equivalent to the energy required to power around 400,000 homes. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022