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Fusion Energy Breakthrough Makes Global Headlines

Updated: Dec 21, 2022

On Tuesday, December 13, the U.S. Department of Energy announced the achievement of net fusion power for the first time on Earth, attracting worldwide attention. The Fusion Industry Association (FIA) congratulates the scientists at the National Ignition Facility, Lawrence Livermore National Lab for their ground-breaking achievement. Here is the official FIA press release on the breakthrough, and below are FIA mentions and excerpts from various news outlets.


Wall Street Journal: Fusion Industry Suddenly White Hot After U.S. Lab Breakthrough

  • Before this month’s breakthrough, the energy industry had been riding a wave of clean-tech and climate-focused investing, and fusion-based companies now stand to compete for a bigger slice of that funding. The Fusion Industry Association, an industry group based in Washington, D.C., said fusion-energy companies have raised more than $5 billion in private funding, roughly doubling the amount from a year ago.


New York Times: Can Fusion Solve the Climate Crisis?

  • In recent years there has been a proliferation of private, smaller efforts at developing fusion power, some using alternative approaches. More than 30 companies are working on the technology, about two-thirds of them in the United States, according to the Fusion Industry Association, a trade group. Together they have received nearly $5 billion in private investment.

  • The Fusion Industry Association says that most of the companies involved in these smaller efforts predict that fusion will provide electricity to the grid sometime in the 2030s. That may be an aspirational, rather than realistic, goal. But if fusion power is to become commercially viable and a clean-energy alternative, perhaps it will be through one or more of these efforts.


Financial Times: Nuclear fusion: from science fiction to ‘when, not if’

  • “We see this as a passing of the torch moment,” said Andrew Holland, executive director of the Fusion Industry Association, which was set up in 2018 to represent the nascent sector. “This is where it goes from the lab to the market place.”

  • In total, at least $2.83bn was raised by private fusion companies in the 12 months to June, which was more than had been raised in the history of the industry and brought total funding at that point to $4.9bn, according to the Fusion Industry Association.


The Washington Post: Five things to know about nuclear fusion and if it can power your home

  • In the private sector, more than 30 companies are focused on creating nuclear fusion energy for the commercial market, according to the Fusion Industry Association, a nonprofit trade group.

  • Andrew Holland, chief executive of the Fusion Industry Association, said the government has a plan to get nuclear fusion test facilities up within the next decade, but to achieve that, more money is needed.

  • "It's a good plan," he said. "But they haven't matched their budget to their ambition."

  • Holland said an addition $1 billion to $2 billion in government funding over the next five years, along with an increase in the Fusion Energy Sciences budget from roughly $700 million to $1 billion, would be the kind of robust funding that's needed.

  • It would help power research, absorb manufacturing costs and provide subsidies to make nuclear fusion economically feasible for companies to pursue.

  • The history of fusion projects indicates that cost overruns and delays are likely. And with a few years left before the world's course toward dangerous warming is nonreversible, each year matters, experts said.

  • "There's a ticking clock here," said Holland.


Forbes: Here’s How Nuclear Fusion Works ­– And Why It’s A Big Deal For Scientists

  • Andrew Holland, CEO of Fusion Industry Association, told Forbes the next step is getting “to work doing the engineering, science, and design that will lead to pilot plants,” because in order to use nuclear fusion on a wide-scale, scientists must figure out a faster, less expensive way to reproduce fusion.


Politico: What to know about DOE’s fusion ‘breakthrough’ ­

  • The U.S. Department of Energy announced on Tuesday that for the first time, scientists have produced a fusion reaction that yielded more energy than the reaction required, paving the way for commercial fusion power in the future.

  • So, what’s next? Proving that the technology can be successful in a commercial reactor and not only in the lab.

  • “From my perspective, this is the proof that the physics work for net gain” said Andrew Holland, CEO of the Fusion Industry Association.


Reuters: U.S. to reveal scientific milestone on fusion energy

  • Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have achieved a net energy gain for the first time.

  • “Investors including Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and John Doerr have poured money into companies building fusion. Private industry secured more than $2.8 billion last year, according to the Fusion Industry Association for a total of about $5 billion in recent years.”


Reuters: U.S. lab hits fusion milestone raising hopes for clean power

  • “U.S. scientists on Tuesday revealed a breakthrough on fusion energy that could one day help curb climate change if companies can scale up the technology to a commercial level in the coming decades.”

  • “Focused Energy is one of dozens of companies working to commercialize fusion energy that have raised about $5 billion in private and government funding, with more than $2.8 billion coming in the 12 months before June of this year, according to the Fusion Industry Association.”


Financial Times: Bottling the sun: Is this a new dawn for the fusion industry?

  • “In its latest annual report, the Washington-based Fusion Industry Association found that 33 private fusion companies had raised a total of $4.9bn of funding, including $117mn in government grants. Much of that has gone into building experimental tokamak reactors, which heat a magnetically-suspended plasma to extreme temperatures in an attempt to fuse hydrogen atoms. Naturally, one would expect those who have built their careers in the sector to be bullish about its prospects. Still, it is striking that 93 per cent of industry respondents thought that the first fusion electricity would be delivered to the grid in the 2030s, if not before.”


Reuters: Explainer: Could fusion energy help fight climate change?

  • “Private companies have raised about $5 billion from investors, from individuals to oil companies, and public funding, according to the Fusion Industry Association. Eight companies, including Focused Energy and First Light Fusion, aim to use lasers to initiate fusion reactions.”


CNBC: Nuclear fusion breakthrough: Scientists generate more power than used to create reaction

  • “This is important. Earlier results were records, but not yet producing more energy out than was put in,” Andrew Holland, the CEO of the industry’s trade group, the Fusion Industry Association, told CNBC. “For the first time on Earth, scientists have confirmed a fusion energy experiment released more power than it takes to initiate, proving the physical basis for fusion energy. This will lead fusion to be a safe and sustainable energy source in the near future.”

  • Fusion is already a hot space for climate and energy investors — so far, investors have poured almost $5 billion in investment into private fusion energy startups, according to the Fusion Industry Association, and more than half of that has been since since the second quarter of 2021.


CNET: What the Fusion Energy Breakthrough Really Means

  • Investors have noticed, too. Downloads of the Fusion Industry Association's annual report, which details the $4.8 billion in venture capital investments in fusion energy startups, increased tenfold since the NIF achievement was announced, Holland said. Many of those requesting it are from investment firms, he added.

  • But increasingly fusion energy is privately funded. Investors have poured $4.8 billion total into fusion energy startups, of which $2.8 billion arrived in the last year, according to the Fusion Industry Association's annual report published earlier in 2022. Most of that went to Commonwealth Fusion Systems, a startup that spun out of MIT and raised more than $1.8 billion in a funding round in 2021.

  • The government is now helping the private sector, too. The US Energy Department announced a Milestone Program that provides up to $50 million to build fusion energy pilot plants. The Biden administration, a fusion proponent, said in November that fusion energy is one of five key approaches to halve carbon emissions by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

  • "Uncle Sam is getting serious," said Holland of the Fusion Industry Association. NIF's achievement is "a pass-the-torch moment, where it goes from science and national labs to the commercial sector."


E&E News: What to know about DOE’s fusion ‘breakthrough’

  • To achieve net energy for the first time, the scientists fired a “shot” from their cluster of lasers at a container enclosing a small capsule holding hydrogen isotope fuels. The laser beams hitting the container generate X-rays that bombard the fuel, triggering an inward-directed explosion that fuses the hydrogen atoms together.

  • “From my perspective, this is the proof that the physics work for net gain,” said Andrew Holland, CEO of the Fusion Industry Association, an industry advocacy group, in an interview before the announcement.


E&E News: After ‘breakthrough,’ DOE eyes fusion power plant

  • At least 15 pioneering private fusion companies are seeking the pilot plant grants, according to an industry advocacy group, the Fusion Industry Association. If the winners are able to meet a series of increasingly rigorous engineering and scientific milestones, they may qualify for to the $415 million in research grants, if Congress appropriates the entire amount. They also would be able to form partnerships with DOE’s national laboratories under the program.

  • Only a few pilot plant design applications are expected to be chosen, Fusion Industry Association CEO Andrew Holland said in an interview. To remain in the program, fusion teams would have to meet a progressive series of technical milestones, showing they can solve remaining steep engineering challenges. Some companies may be admitted to the program in future years, industry officials hope.

  • There also is a question of whether funds from Congress will be adequate to complete research and designs for fusion pilot plants.

  • The companies’ individual bids add up to $2.6 billion in total requests for federal funding in the fusion pilot plant project, an amount far beyond what is currently authorized, Holland said.

  • "There’s not nearly enough" money, Holland said. The fusion companies will watch carefully to see whether funding for the pilot plant project increases in the Biden administration’s fiscal 2023 budget, he said.


The American Independent: Laboratory makes major advancement toward Biden administration's fusion energy goal

  • The Energy Department has also authorized $50 million to support for-profit companies trying to make fusion technology a profitable enterprise, but corporate leaders say it's not enough. Andrew Holland, the CEO of the Fusion Industry Association, a trade group for fusion companies, said that funding is a small fraction of what the industry needs; private fusion funding reached nearly $3 billion in 2021.

  • "At this point, there are great ideas and good plans, but not they're not yet backed up by the budget. The budget request that came from the administration kept funding for fusion sciences level without further investment," Holland told the American Independent Foundation.

  • Holland said that his organization was pushing for "at least a billion dollars in support for public-private partnerships over five years."


KPVI: Scientists announce a fusion breakthrough with big implications for clean energy

  • Andrew Holland, CEO of the Fusion Industry Association, a nonprofit working to commercialize fusion power that calls itself “the unified voice of the fusion industry,” said in a statement that the announcement is “an important milestone” and evidence that fusion “is not science fiction.”


Iosco News Herald: Scientists announce a fusion breakthrough with big implications for clean energy

  • Andrew Holland, CEO of the Fusion Industry Association, a nonprofit working to commercialize fusion power that calls itself “the unified voice of the fusion industry,” said in a statement that the announcement is “an important milestone” and evidence that fusion “is not science fiction.”


The Washington Examiner: Scientific 'triumph': Companies eye nuclear fusion breakthrough for clean energy opportunities

  • "Demonstration of net energy gain means a great deal to all nuclear companies out there trying to cash in on commercial fusion, said Andrew Holland, CEO of the Fusion Industry Association, who called the achievement 'important science de-risking.' "

  • " 'It de-risks for everybody, not just the inertial fusion companies, it de-risks the idea of, can you get ignited burning plasma?' Holland told the Washington Examiner."

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