US DoE announces $46 million funding for nuclear fusion innovators
The US Department of Energy has announced $46 million in funding to eight companies involved in developing fusion power plants, as part of a government attempt to hold a pilot-scale demonstration of fusion power within a decade.
The awardees – Commonwealth Fusion Systems, Focused Energy Inc, Princeton Stellarators Inc, Realta Fusion Inc, Tokamak Energy Inc, Type One Energy Group, Xcimer Energy Inc and Zap Energy Inc – will be required to create designs for a technically and commercially viable fusion pilot plant within five to 10 years.
The total funding of $46 million will cover the first 18 months, with funds coming over the US fiscal years 2022 and 2023. Funding will occur for up to five years, contingent on government appropriations, continued participation from the awardees and viable progress in their projects, the department said.
"Fusion offers the potential to create the power of the sun right here on Earth," US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said at the announcement, adding that the government was committed to partnering with innovative researchers and companies in America to take fusion energy "past the lab and toward the grid".
Earlier this year, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission decided to separate its regulation of fusion from regulation of fission.
Industry watchers say this could reduce time taken for grant of licenses, which are mandatory before the companies source local construction permits to build their plant.