UK simplifies fusion plant planning with proposed NPS Credit: Anna Vaczi/ Shutterstock

The UK government is introducing a regulatory framework for fusion plants and seeking public input on a draft National Policy Statement (NPS) for Fusion Energy, reported World Nuclear News.

The objective of the NPS is to simplify the planning process for fusion power plants in England, which are different from traditional nuclear plants and have a lower level of risk.

The government aims to support all types of fusion energy facilities, including those generating heat for industrial purposes.

Prototype fusion energy facilities will be considered as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects.

The government plans to establish the regulatory framework in advance to accommodate private industry's plans to construct commercial fusion facilities in the 2030s.

The proposed framework aims to provide certainty to investors and companies by offering a stable regulatory and planning foundation for long-term investment.

The applications for fusion facilities will be evaluated at the national level, rather than the regional level, with decisions made by the Secretary of State. The NPS does not include a list of approved sites to encourage innovation.

The government aims to involve communities that are more receptive to fusion technologies.

The planning statement will prioritize human health and well-being, while addressing waste management and environmental concerns.

The consultation on the draft NPS will continue until July 3, with the finalized version expected to be published by the end of the following year.

Andrew Bowie, minister for nuclear and renewables, said: "The UK has been at the forefront of fusion energy development for decades and is in a unique position to capitalise on the environmental and economic benefits that this transformational new energy source can bring, including at a local and regional level ... through this consultation we want to hear from communities, industry and investors to ensure that the National Policy Statement fully supports development of fusion power plants."