AN ENERGY company backed by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos will set up a plant in Oxfordshire to demonstrate a new kind of nuclear technology.

General Fusion, a Canadian Company, has announced it will move to the Culham Science Centre, which is the centre of nuclear fusion research in the UK.

The Canadian firm hopes to host its patented technology at the new Fusion Demonstration Plant, abbreviated as the FDP.

The company has been backed by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos for more than a decade and raised more than £100m in a recent round of investment.

Oxford Mail:

At the plant, General Fusion will test its Magnetised Target Fusion technology, which involves injecting a form of hydrogen into a cylinder surrounded by a wall of liquid metal.

The hydrogen, in the form of a super hot gas called plasma, is then compressed so separate atoms fuse together, creating a huge amount of heat.

This heat is then used to boil water, make steam and spin a turbine to generate electricity.

Fusion technology has long been a goal of researchers, and General Fusion says its technology largely exists already, whereas this is not the case for other firms based at Culham.

“Coming to Culham gives us the opportunity to benefit from UKAEA’s expertise,” said Christofer Mowry, CEO, General Fusion.

He added: “By locating at this campus, General Fusion expands our market presence beyond North America into Europe, broadening our global network of government, institutional, and industrial partners. This is incredibly exciting news for not only General Fusion, but also the global effort to develop practical fusion energy.”

It is understood funding from the UK Government has helped to convince General Fusion to local the demonstration plant at Culham.

It is hoped the FDP will show the company's technology can create fusion conditions in a 'practical and cost-effective manner at power plant relevant scales', which could then be used to make commercial fusion power plants.

Construction is anticipated to begin in 2022, with operations beginning approximately three years later.

Oxford Mail: Science Minister Amanda Solloway

Amanda Solloway, science minister for the UK Government said: “This new plant by General Fusion is a huge boost for our plans to develop a fusion industry in the UK, and I’m thrilled that Culham will be home to such a cutting-edge and potentially transformative project.

"Fusion energy has great potential as a source of limitless, low-carbon energy, and today’s announcement is a clear vote of confidence in the region and the UK’s status as a global science superpower.”

The minister also visited another fusion technology business in Oxford on Thursday, June 17, called First Light Fusion.

First Light has developed a 'hyper velocity gas gun' which is used to progress the firm’s 'inertial confinement' approach to fusion, firing projectiles at huge speed into targets to create the pressures and temperatures required for fusion.