Fusion to be excluded from nuclear regulatory rules, government decides

The government has said that new fusion facilities will be regulated by existing authorities and excluded from rules that apply to nuclear energy.

Fusion energy research aims to capture the same energy process that powers the sun.

According to the government, a fusion power plant would combine hydrogen atoms to generate energy “without producing the carbon emissions that contribute to climate change”.

Future fusion energy facilities will continue to be regulated by the Environment Agency (EA) and Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

The announcement comes after the closure of a consultation launched last October which sought views about government proposals for fusion regulation.

Under new legislation, all planned fusion prototype energy facilities will not have to meet nuclear regulatory or licensing requirements.

“Input from UK and international experts has been invaluable in helping the government to reach a decision on how to regulate this rapidly evolving, cutting-edge technology,” said George Freeman, science minister. “We remain confident that existing regulations in the UK will be able to uphold safety standards in a proportionate way.

“We believe that the decisions – based on the best available evidence and now supported by regulators, the fusion industry and other experts – are the right ones to help move safely and determinedly towards fusion energy.”

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