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FIA says laws needed urgently and should be separate from those for fission

The US-based Fusion Industry Association (FIA) has written to the European Union’s energy commissioner calling for immediate action to begin the process of determining a regulatory regime for commercial fusion.

The FIA said the letter comes at a time when governments are increasingly looking into solidifying regulations for fusion energy, following recent regulatory decisions by the US and the UK.

The FIA is calling for progress in formulating a regulatory framework for the development of fusion energy because, it says, “early movers will have a competitive advantage in further shaping the industry, which spent over $500m on the supply chain in 2022”.

In its letter to Kadri Simson, the FIA said taking action now will give both sides greater influence in shaping the sector’s development.

It said: “One of the key principles that the FIA and our members stand for is that the laws regulating fusion energy should be clear, fair, and encouraging of innovation while assuring the safety and security of the public.

“That means that, due to their fundamental differences, fusion energy regulations must be kept separate from those applicable to nuclear fission.”

The FIA acknowledged the pivotal role of the European Union in advancing fusion energy and underscored the bloc’s status as a hub for fusion research and supply chain leadership through projects like the €20bn ($21.9bn) International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) in France.

While individual member states still oversee regulations, the European Commission undertakes the critical responsibility of ensuring harmonisation between countries, the FIA said

A recent study by the commission highlighted the need for distinct regulatory approaches to fusion and fission energy due to their unique environmental impacts and safety risks.

The study recommended that fusion regulations should be proportional to the specific risks posed by fusion energy, distinct from those governing nuclear fission.

The FIA said it is ready to collaborate with the commission, offering industry insights and data.

Date: Friday, 11 August 2023
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