Science Committee Chairwoman Johnson Writes Letter in Support of Fusion Energy Funding

Chairwoman of the House Science, Space, & Technology Committee Eddie Bernice Johnson sent a letter to Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee Rosa DeLauro on June 30, 2021, regarding appropriation proposals to support the Department of Energy (DOE) and the fusion community in the FY 2022 Budget.


Throughout the letter, Chairwoman Johnson emphasized several programs within the DOE that require "strong support" from the U.S. government, specifically naming multiple fusion research programs that the Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (FESAC) and the National Academies' Bringing Fusion to the U.S. Grid report highlighted, as a part of the community long range plan to further fusion research and technology. She expressed her disappointment in the lack of funding present for fusion energy in the current budget as the aforementioned reports advised increasing investment in fusion.


In doing so, Chairwoman Johnson cited the Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act in 2018 and the Energy Act of 2020 to illustrate shortcomings in the budget that do not provide enough funding for DOE to create programs for inertial fusion, alternative approaches, or milestone-based public-private partnerships, despite FESAC having produced "a strategic plan that identifies clear priorities under several realistic budget scenarios" years prior. Chairwoman Johnson deduced that the U.S. must follow the suggested investment requirements established in these bills in order to "ensure U.S. leadership in this critical field over the next decade."


Chairwoman Johnson concluded,


I strongly recommend that you provide funding levels for fusion research that are consistent with those in H.R. 3593, which builds on the enacted fusion research provisions in the Energy Act of 2020 and provides further guidance for these activities in accordance with the reports noted above.


H.R. 3593: The DOE Science for the Future Act was passed by the House of Representatives on June 28. The bill prioritized the continued progress of fusion energy systems and research as well as increasing the commercial viability of fusion.


The letter is embedded below.