Photo: TAE Technologies
Governor of California Gavin Newsom has signed landmark legislation Assembly Bill 1172 which supports California’s fusion energy industry by recognising cutting-edge technology with safety and environmental benefits while setting the stage for the state’s future regulatory framework.
Home to innovators and fusion pioneer TAE Technologies, the bill’s signing makes California the first U.S. state to enshrine in law the fundamental distinction between fusion energy and traditional nuclear fission.
The legislation states:
“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.”
Southern California-based TAE Technologies has declared its support for the legislation’s passage for its recognition of fusion energy’s potential contributions to providing clean energy.
Just as fusion and fission rely on opposite reactions—where fusion combines atoms, fission splits them—there are fundamental differences in how these nuclear technologies need to be regulated, and California’s lawmakers are addressing those needs for the first time.
TAE Technologies CEO Michl Binderbauer, said:
“With this bill’s passage, California’s governor and legislators are recognizing the vast potential of commercial fusion energy to be a part of a clean energy solution that brings carbon-free energy, jobs and a much-needed innovation to our state, and to our world.”
Assembly Bill 1172 requires the California Energy Commission to identify all needed regulatory and policy actions to incorporate fusion into the state’s energy system. AB1172 also defines fusion energy in California law for the first time, helping ensure that California can ensure high standards of safety and public trust while differentiating it from unrelated technologies like traditional nuclear fission. Notably, fusion, unlike fission, doesn’t produce long-lived radioactive waste and with fusion energy, nuclear meltdown is impossible.
Assemblymember, 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.”
As regulations develop, TAE have reportedly been creating the fusion energy machines that will power the future. Earlier this year, TAE established a new facility in Irvine, CA, to house its next fusion research machine, Copernicus, which is expected to demonstrate the viability of net energy generation from TAE’s proprietary configuration around the mid-2020s. TAE hope to develop its first prototype hydrogen-boron fusion power plant, Da Vinci, to deliver electricity to the grid in the early 2030s.