Fusion-Related Legislation in Congress

With sustained investment today, America can take the lead in building a new fusion industry that will provide safe, clean, and affordable energy for the future. There are a number of bills pending before Congress that would affect America’s ability to build that fusion industry.

Senate Legislation

S.97 — Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act of 2017

  • Supports R&D into advanced nuclear reactor technology, including fusion reactors.
  • Enables private companies to construct and operate privately-funded reactor prototypes at DOE sites.
  • Directs the Secretary of Energy to report to Congress on innovative fusion energy systems that have the potential to demonstrate net energy production within 15 years of the start of construction, along with the budgetary requirements necessary for DOE to carry out a fusion innovation initiative to accelerate research and development of those designs.
  • Establishes an Advanced Nuclear Energy Cost-Share Grant Program, which would make grants to fund a portion of NRC fees for pre-application and application review activities.

Status: Reported out of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on June 21 and placed on the Senate Calendar.

Co-Sponsors: Crapo, Whitehouse, Booker, Risch, Hatch, Murkowski, Durbin, Strange

S.512 — Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act

S.1457 — Advanced Nuclear Energy Technologies Act

S.1460 — Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017

 

House Legislation

H.R.431 — Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act of 2017

H.R.589 — Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act

H.R.590 — Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Act of 2017

 

Appropriations

H.R.3266 — Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, FY2018

Provides $395 million for Fusion Energy Sciences, $17 million more than that 2017 enacted level. It recommends $63 million for ITER and $332 million for research. States that University-led research helps further U.S. research in fusion energy and trains the next generation of scientists, and notes that the Committee is due a report on the fusion energy sciences program’s current collaborations with universities.

Recommends that the Department of Energy conducts an orderly shutdown of the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E) and includes no funds for Fy2018.

Provides $523 million for the inertial confinement fusion ignition and high-yield campaign; of which, $330 million for the National Ignition Facility, $68 million for the University of Rochester’s Omega facility, and $8 million for the Naval Research Laboratory.

Status: Was consolidated into H.R.3219, the “Make  America Secure Appropriations Act” along with the Defense, Legislative, and Military Construction Appropriations bills. This legislation passed the House on July 27, 2017 by a vote of 235-192. It has been placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar.

S.1609 — Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, FY2018

Provides $232 million for Fusion Energy Sciences, a cut of $148 million below the 2017 enacted level. It recommends zero funding for the ITER project, and recommends that the Department of Energy prioritizes operations and research for DIII-D tokomak facility.

Provides $330 million for ARPA-E and “definitively rejects” the Administration’s proposal to terminate the program.

Provides $545 million for the inertial confinement fusion ignition and high-yield campaign; of which $344 million for National Ignition Facility, $61.6 million for Sandia National Laboratory’s Z facility, and $75 million for the University of Rochester’s Omega facility.

Status: Passed the Senate Appropriations Committee on July 20, and placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar.

 

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