On December 5, the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to report H.R.6544, the bipartisan Atomic Energy Advancement Act sponsored by Representatives Duncan and DeGette that would seek to reform the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. As the Committee considered passage of this legislation, Representatives Lori Trahan and Jay Obernolte offered a revised version of the Fusion Energy Act of 2023.
The amendment would amend the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to define fusion as a particle accelerator. That clarification would confirm in law the unanimous decision that the Commissioners of the NRC made in April determining that fusion would be regulated separately from nuclear fission. As the Commission continues its efforts to write regulations on fusion energy, this bill will confirm that. Furthermore, the legislation requests a report from the NRC on a regulatory process for mass-manufactured fusion machines – including an evaluation of the Federal Aviation Administration’s design, manufacturing, and operations certification process.
The FIA has consistently supported regulatory and legislative efforts to provide certainty in the regulation of fusion energy. The FIA supports efforts to permanently and completely separate the regulation of fusion energy from the regulation of fission. The FIA congratulates the House Energy and Commerce Committee for passing this legislation and looks forward to working with Members of Congress to see it enacted into law.
With passage, the bill will now be reported to the House floor for a vote. If passed there, the House and Senate will have to reconcile the differences between this bill and S.1111, the ADVANCE Act, passed by the Senate as a part of the National Defense Authorization Act.