The development of commercial fusion energy, which promises to provide a clean, abundant, and sustainable source of electricity, faces significant technical, financial, and regulatory challenges, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Mar 30, 2023. The report, titled “Fusion Energy: Potentially Transformative Technology Still Faces Fundamental Challenges,” provides an overview of the current state of fusion energy research and the potential implications for the U.S. energy system and economy.
The commercial potential of fusion energy has been the subject of much excitement and hype since the announcement of ignition at the National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Lab after a multi-decade effort. However, commercially viable fusion is not just around the corner. GAO cautions that “several challenges must be overcome to achieve commercial fusion, and stakeholders’ projections of this timeline range from 10 years to several decades.”Continue reading