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Facilitating private funding for nuclear fusion projects

Question écrite de M. Evžen TOŠENOVSKÝ - Commission européenne


Subject: Facilitating private funding for nuclear fusion projects

The United States recently celebrated a major breakthrough in nuclear fusion, while ITER – largely funded by the EU – does not envisage a first demonstration until 2030. Clearly there are differences between the American nuclear fusion project and ITER in terms of funding, scope, objectives, and governance structures. In particular, the US approach to funding appears to have the crucial difference that the bulk of financial support comes from private investors.

1. The United States has a stronger focus on joint public and private investments in nuclear fusion. The complex and lengthy regulatory framework in the EU seems to lead to a much slower approval process for fusion projects. Bearing in mind how extensively the EU regulates in general, it seems odd that this barrier to funding has not yet been addressed. Is the Commission planning to improve its regulatory framework in this regard?

2. European companies interested in fusion technology seem to be increasingly focusing on the United States. For example, the Munich-based company Marvel Fusion has been invited by the White House to invest in a test reactor in the United States, the cost of which is put at EUR 2 billion. How can the EU improve its attractiveness to such companies?

Submitted: 20.4.2023

Réponse - Commission européenne

Diffusée le 18 juin 2023

Answer given by Ms Simson on behalf of the European Commission

(19 June 2023)

EU Fusion projects are currently funded by two EU programmes — the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project through Fusion for Energy (F4E) and the Euratom Research and Training programme, the latter mainly through the EUROfusion consortium (1) of national fusion research institutes.

To incentivize the EU private sector in fusion energy, a stable and predictable framework is needed for regulatory certainty. This framework should be focused on supporting innovation and technology transfer that would include collaboration with relevant fusion start-ups.

To that end, the Commission has launched in December 2022 the study ‘Analysis on a Strategic Public-Private Partnership Approach to foster Fusion Energy’, which will provide recommendations on how to increase the attractiveness for companies to invest in EU fusion projects.

Complementing this, the 2023 Fusion Foresight study (2), contracted by the Commission, provides a better understanding of the current international fusion landscape.

Additionally, a mid-term evaluation of the Euratom Research and Training Programme is currently ongoing in view of its extension for the period of 2026-2027.

The Commission is duly considering the inclusion of instruments to promote public-private initiatives with the EU industry, as well as innovation in fusion (e.g. start-ups and emerging concepts).

1 ∙ ⸱ https://euro-fusion.org/

2 ∙ ⸱ Foresight study on the worldwide developments in advancing fusion energy, including the small scale private initiatives. Final report. 2023, European Commission,

Directorate General for Energy, https://op.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/83bc3ecd-b19c-11ed-8912-01aa75ed71a1/language-en



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