You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Life in small village next to future nuclear fusion site at West Burton A power station

Lincolnshire Live logo Lincolnshire Live 07/10/2022 Paul Whitelam
Residents John Stanser, Val Stanser and Peter Warburton have their say © Paul Whitelam Residents John Stanser, Val Stanser and Peter Warburton have their say

The sight of cows grazing in a paddock in Sturton-le-Steeple evokes a timeless image of rural life in the Trent Valley. First recorded as a settlement in the Domesday Book of 1086, the modern-day village has around 500 souls. There is also a church and pub, all in the shadow of the huge cooling towers of West Burton A power station.

The coal-fired energy plant that has dominated the skyline for the past six decades is to be pulled down over the next few years as the 330 hectare site is developed into the UK's first ever prototype nuclear fusion-powered energy plant, expected to be operational from 2040.

The technology is experimental but fusion is potentially a source of near-limitless clean energy. The process will be tested at West Burton A to see it can be made commercially viable. If successful, the technology and the energy produced could be sold globally, thereby helping to cut carbon emissions.

Read More: New nuclear fusion plant on Lincolnshire border will 'solve world's carbon reduction problems'

The economic benefits to Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire could be huge with thousands of jobs created across the supply chain and in construction - plus 1,000 at the plant itself compared to 200 at the existing power station.

Sturton-le-Steeple resident Peter Warburton said he is in favour of the fusion plant being built. He said: "I would rather have that than several thousand acres of solar panels or wind turbines. I do think though that the economic benefits would be felt more by Retford and Gainsborough as we are a dormant village."

John Stanser, 75, who grew up in the village and has recently moved to Grove, said: "I can remember when the power station was not there. I think the biggest mistake is shutting these coal-fired power stations. They should keep them going until the alternatives are in place and up and running."

His wife Val, 73, said: "The cost of energy is going up and more is required so we have to look for sustainable energy." Village butcher Simon Brough, 58, said the use of nuclear power was not a concern to him. He said: "I'm sure if it was not safe they would not be using it.

"If it brings us cheaper electricity then I say 'yes'." Power is generated through fusion by bringing atoms together. It is different to nuclear fission, in which an atom is split to produce energy. Fission is used in a controlled way within the nuclear power industry. In an atomic bomb, the chain reaction goes out of control to produce the devastating blast.

Fusion produces less radioactivity than fission and not as much high-grade radioactive waste. While there is an unlimited amount of material needed to create fusion, it is expensive to achieve. The challenge in using fusion to generate electricity is how to get more energy out than is put in.

Village resident David Langmead, a member of the West Burton Residents' Planning Group formed to have a say on the future use of West Burton A, said one of the key factors has been explaining the difference between fission and fusion. He said: "As soon as you mention nuclear power plant, people are concerned.

"But once it became clear that it is nuclear fusion, not fission, at West Burton A, and there will be jobs and opportunities created and energy production in the Trent Valley is continuing, people have welcomed it."

Read Next:

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Lincolnshire Live

Lincolnshire Live
Lincolnshire Live
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon