Tag: Office of Science

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U.S. House of Representatives Demonstrates Support for Fusion Energy
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Invigorated Federal Interest in Fusion Energy Presents Opportunities and Questions for Growing Private Fusion Energy Sector

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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Invigorated Federal Interest in Fusion Energy Presents Opportunities and Questions for Growing Private Fusion Energy Sector

By Tim L. Peckinpaugh, Michael L. O’Neill, R. Paul Stimers                     

Significant investment is flowing into private companies seeking long-sought-after breakthroughs to develop practical power generation solutions based on nuclear fusion reactions. [1] Fusion reactions have become relatively commonplace in the laboratory setting, but no one has developed a nuclear fusion reactor yet that produces more energy than the device uses to operate and maintain the reaction. Numerous private companies, in the United States and around the world, are attacking this challenge with a variety of approaches, with the goal of making the technology sustainable, practical, and commercial. These companies are receiving significant investment from backers who believe a solution is within reach.

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