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Is Biden Administration Serious about International Cooperation on Fusion?

On Dec. 2, the White House released a document, entitled “International Partnerships in a New Era of Fusion Energy Development.” While it had not garnered much attention when it was published, it became an item of wide public interest when Biden’s Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry made the announcement at the COP28 conference in Dubai on Dec. 13. The document states that the U.S. is prepared to work together with their “partners,” including in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project in France, to promote the development of a commercial fusion reactor. People in the Democratic Party, such as Ernest Moniz, former Energy Secretary in the Obama Administration, and even the neocon Atlantic Council, are highlighting Kerry’s announcement. The irony of the situation is that the U.S. is no longer in the lead in developing fusion energy, as might have been the case when the Fusion Energy Foundation supported the Magnetic Fusion Energy Engineering Act of 1980 being signed into law, but was quickly undermined by significant fusion budget cuts in the Reagan Administration.

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