On October 4, the Fusion Industry Association (FIA) wrote to the Chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to clarify the roadmap for the requested six-month extension of the regulatory options paper. This extension would create better engagement between the NRC and the commercial fusion industry, as well as develop better understanding of the key fusion technologies to be regulated. The letter was sent in CC to Commissioners Baran and Wright, Executive Director Doane, and Director Vail.
Currently, the NRC staff is developing an options paper to present to the Commission, that would outline how to regulate fusion. Over the course of 2021, the NRC has hosted 4 meetings to discuss safety and regulatory issues around fusion energy. The FIA’s request to the NRC is to continue this process for at least 6 more months in order for the public and the NRC to better understand fusion technology and inherent safety.
The FIA’s request is for the NRC and other stakeholders to meet monthly to discuss various topics of fusion regulation. These topics include:
- Overview of Commercial Fusion Technologies and Designs, Scale, and Timeframes
- Tritium Management
- Radioactive Waste and Dust Management
- Shielding, Operational, and Occupational Considerations
- Accident Scenarios
- Regulatory Frameworks
This period is crucial to develop insight about the differences between fusion and fission, and how they should be regulated differently. The FIA posits that a regulatory framework is developed from the outset with careful consideration of the key safety matters. The full letter is available below.