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U.S. House of Representatives Demonstrates Support for Fusion Energy

U.S. House of Representatives Demonstrates Support for Fusion Energy

Authors: Tim L. Peckinpaugh, Michael L. O’Neill, and Abraham Johns

Fusion energy continues to build support among U.S. policymakers. On 24 September 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a program for fusion energy research and commercialization as part of a legislative package covering a wide range of energy topics.1 On fusion energy, Reps. Conor Lamb (D-PA) and Lori Trahan (D-MA) authored an amendment authorizing the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to pursue a range of programmatic goals, including a public-private partnership where federal funds will be available for private companies developing fusion energy solutions.2

Now attention turns towards the U.S. Senate, which has not set a date for considering a similar energy package. With scheduling constraints imposed by the upcoming 2020 election, it is not clear when the Senate might consider energy legislation and when, or if, this legislation will eventually be presented to the President for his approval to become federal law. But approval of these fusion provisions by the House of Representatives, especially the public-private partnership, signals that support for the commercial fusion energy industry is increasing in the U.S. Congress.

This article will outline the scope of the fusion energy provisions of the legislation, briefly analyze the provisions standing up the public-private partnership program, and outline next steps for codifying this fusion energy legislation as federal law.

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