A bill has been introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives to fund a range of fusion concepts that have “the potential to demonstrate net energy production not later than 7 years” after the start of the program. The bill The Fusion Innovation Act of 2015, sponsored by Rep. Alan Grayson (Dem, FL), is the first such initiative to focus on funding fast routes to fusion. If enacted, it would instruct the US Department of Energy to award grants to companies or other efforts that can show in design studies that their concepts can be rapidly developed to actual power production.
“Such a law would clearly benefit programs like ours,” commented LPPF’s President Eric Lerner, “as well as ending the DOE’s present misguided policy of concentrating solely on the ITER route to fusion. ITER can’t possibly produce net energy in seven years, if at all.”
The Fusion Innovation Act also would instruct DOE to share with universities and private companies such important resources as advanced computing platforms and simulation codes. It would establish as well a process for fusion researchers from the national laboratories to serve residencies at private fusion companies. “Together these steps would enormously accelerate the process of getting to a working fusion generator,” says Lerner.
But to enact such a bill a broad mobilization of popular support is needed. LPPF took a first step by conveying to Rep. Grayson the “Open Letter on Fusion” signed by over 50 scientists from around the world that urges a broader approach to fusion. Rep. Grayson is already circulating the letter to colleagues on the House Science Committee, which is considering the bill, according to his staff. But more must be done to show committee members that people all across the world, as well as in the U.S., consider a broad and rapid path to fusion essential.
“Together with the Focus Fusion Society, we’re asking everyone to contact the Science Committee to urge that they co-sponsor this bill, hold hearings on it, and rapidly recommend it to the full House for passage,” says Lerner. Letters of support can be sent to the Science Committee through their website. Please send copies of letters to Focus Fusion Society at this e-mail address so we can keep track of support. Support can also be expressed publically at popvox, countable, simpolfy and policynow.