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Fusion Reactors to See Leaner Regulatory Process

By NAM News Room

Future fusion power plants will be licensed less stringently than existing nuclear reactors, according to E&E News’ ENERGYWIRE (subscription). 

What’s going on: In a decision announced last Friday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said that for coming fusion-power facilities it will employ “an existing regulatory path used for relatively low-level radioactive byproducts that treat cancers” rather than the more complex regulatory process that manages existing nuclear plants.

  • “‘Dozens of companies are developing pilot-scale commercial fusion designs, and while the technology’s precise future in the U.S. is uncertain, the agency should provide as much regulatory certainty as possible given what we know today,’ NRC Chair Christopher Hanson said in a statement.”

Why it’s important: Nuclear fusion could generate large amounts of efficient, carbon-free energy.

  • “The Biden administration is helping fund the potential development of one or more utility-scale pilot reactors in the 2030s that it hopes will show that the technology can be affordable and practical as a zero-carbon power source in the 2040s and beyond.”
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