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Congress Should Pass the Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act

Congress Should Pass the Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act

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On Friday, June 15 2018, ASP’s CEO, BGen Stephen Cheney, USMC (Ret), sent a letter to Senators Murkowski and Cantwell, the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee regarding the Department of Energy Research and Innovation Act.

This bill, passed by the House or Representatives and now pending before the Senate, would authorize new initiatives within the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The bill is the product of a bipartisan, bicameral agreement about accelerating basic science research in energy programs.

General Cheney sent this letter because of the important progress the bill could bring to the American Fusion energy research program. A new initiative of ASP is the “American Fusion Project,” bringing together companies, scientists, and universities intent on commercializing fusion power as fast as possible.

ASP has supported efforts to advance fusion power for years because it would provide the ultimate in energy security and scientific leadership to the United States. The research will be worth the effort – and with private companies now pursuing aggressive timelines, it is time for Congress to support this work.

Notably, this bill would provide a goal to identify “innovative fusion energy systems that have the potential to demonstrate net energy production not later than 15 years after the start of construction.” It is important that the government and researchers support an aggressive fusion program. Passing this bill would support such aggressiveness.