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Members Of Bipartisan Fusion Energy Caucus Seek Energy Department Update On Congressional Directives

Yesterday, members of Congress’ bipartisan Fusion Energy Caucus wrote to Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm seeking updates on the Department of Energy’s progress in implementing directives from Congress to support the development of key fusion energy projects. The letter, led by Fusion Energy Caucus founder Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), was signed by Reps. Susan Wild (D-PA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Bill Foster (D-IL), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), and Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN).

They wrote:

“As you well know, climate change presents historic challenges and opportunities to the DOE as the nation and the world transition to an energy system with lower and, eventually, zero carbon emissions. Fusion energy offers an ideal technology to undergird our decarbonized future. Fusion is safe, environmentally responsible, uses a plentiful fuel, and would not enhance risks of weapons proliferation.

“Last year, Congress authored a bold path for DOE’s fusion energy programs, including alternative and enabling concepts, a milestone-based development program, design of future fusion systems, and full support for the construction of the international ITER project on time and on budget. To that end, we respectfully request an update in writing within 30 days as to the progress of DOE’s efforts to implement these statutory directives for fusion energy.

“Timely completion of these directives is crucial to continue advancing U.S. public and private fusion efforts in the face of the dual challenges of climate change and fierce global competition. This update will provide policymakers with needed information as we continue the process of examining the President’s budget request and DOE’s programmatic plans for the upcoming fiscal year 2022.”

Full text of their letter follows below, and a signed copy is available here.

Dear Secretary Granholm:

We write to you regarding the fusion energy programs at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

As you well know, climate change presents historic challenges and opportunities to the DOE as the nation and the world transition to an energy system with lower and, eventually, zero carbon emissions. Fusion energy offers an ideal technology to undergird our decarbonized future. Fusion is safe, environmentally responsible, uses a plentiful fuel, and would not enhance risks of weapons proliferation. Any delay in developing this technology risks missing fusion’s benefits in the fight against climate change and allows other countries that are investing heavily in fusion, such as China, to assume the lead in fusion energy. The challenges we face in the energy sector are urgent but, with smart policy and aggressive action, the United States has the opportunity to lead the world in developing and deploying advanced energy technologies like fusion energy.

Last year, Congress authored a bold path for DOE’s fusion energy programs, including alternative and enabling concepts, a milestone-based development program, design of future fusion systems, and full support for the construction of the international ITER project on time and on budget. To that end, we respectfully request an update in writing within 30 days as to the progress of DOE’s efforts to implement these statutory directives for fusion energy. Timely completion of these directives is crucial to continue advancing U.S. public and private fusion efforts in the face of the dual challenges of climate change and fierce global competition. This update will provide policymakers with needed information as we continue the process of examining the President’s budget request and DOE’s programmatic plans for the upcoming fiscal year 2022.

Thank you very much for your attention to this request.

Sincerely