Fusion Energy Reactors
In SRM-SECY-09-0064, “Staff Requirements—SECY-09-0064—Regulation of Fusion-Based Power Generation Devices,” the Commission asserted, as a general matter, that the NRC has regulatory jurisdiction over commercial fusion energy devices whenever such devices are of significance to the common defense and security, or could affect the health and safety of the public.
In SRM-SECY-20‑0032, “Staff Requirements—SECY-20-0032—Rulemaking Plan on ‘Risk--Informed, Technology-Inclusive Regulatory Framework for Advanced Reactors,” the Commission directed the staff to “consider appropriate treatment of fusion reactor designs in our regulatory structure by developing options for Commission consideration on licensing and regulating fusion energy systems.”
In meetings such as the joint DOE, NRC, and Fusion Industry Association public forum in October 2019, the staff characterized possible regulatory approaches as being ones similar to (1) utilization facilities, (2) materials licenses such as those related to accelerator-produced radionuclides, and (3) some hybrid or new approach developed as part of the current activities. The staff’s development of options for the Commission to consider will include assessing the potential risks posed by various fusion technologies and possible regulatory approaches for fusion facilities. The staff’s activities also include coordination with the Organization of Agreement States, holding a series of public meetings, and interacting with the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards.
Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, April 01, 2021