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Nuclear fusion power plant backed by OpenAI boss Sam Altman is being built

Nuclear fusion power plant backed by OpenAI boss Sam Altman is being built

A power company backed by OpenAI boss Sam Altman is preparing to build its first power plant.

The facility could be the first fusion machine to actually demonstrate electricity production using the technology.

Helion Energy is one of a number of companies attempting to harness nuclear fusion energy. That technology could one day transform energy production by – but for now nobody has been able to demonstrate a version of it that actually provides more energy than it uses.

Energy company Helion’s upcoming Polaris machine will be one of many attempts to overcome that and actually provide energy through fusion.

Helion describes Polaris as “the next big step in commercial fusion development”. “If successful, Polaris will be the first fusion machine to demonstrate electricity production from fusion,” it said.

Now Mr Altman, who is a substantial investor in the company, has shared a picture of the facility which Polaris will be built.

Last year, Microsoft announced that it had made the world’s first purchase agreement with Helion Energy, betting that it would be available by 2028.

“This collaboration represents a significant milestone for Helion and the fusion industy as a whole,” said Helion chief executive David Kirtley then.

“We still have a lot of work to do, but we are confident in our ability to deliver the world’s first fusion power facility.”

Microsoft has worked closely with Mr Altman’s other company, OpenAI. The two have a multibillion dollar partnership that has seen OpenAI’s artificial intelligence tools integrated into Bing search, for instance.