California recognises fusion energy as distinct from nuclear fission

18 October 2023

California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed Assembly Bill 1172 into law, making California the first state in the US to recognise fusion energy as a separate and distinct technology from traditional nuclear fission. The legislation was introduced by State Assemblywoman Lisa Calderón in February and supported in the Senate by Senator Josh Newman. It highlights the safety and environmental advantages of fusion energy and lays the foundation for future state regulations.

The law highlights the potential for fusion energy to contribute to California’s renewable energy goals, stating that it will help the state progress toward achieving its climate goals. It also recognises the diversity of scientific approaches to achieve the potential transformation of fusion in California’s power grid, opening the doors to innovation and workforce development in the renewable sector.

Fusion and fission require fundamentally different regulatory approaches, and this legislation addresses those differences for the first time. California hopes to integrate its energy system, requiring the California Energy Commission to identify the necessary regulatory and policy actions.

“Fusion energy can advance California’s progress towards its statutory renewable energy and climate mandates. Fusion energy development presents an opportunity to further promote California’s workforce development within the renewable energy sector,” the legislation states.

On the occasion of the signing, Lisa Calderon said: “California must continue to invest in clean, renewable sources of energy to meet our climate goals. There has been significant progress from the fusion industry, with companies now on the path to creating commercially viable systems that can safely generate clean energy for cities. This law will help California safely integrate fusion energy technology as a renewable energy source.”

Image: California State Capitol, Sacramento, California

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