Nov 20, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Kerry teases new U.S. fusion energy ambitions

John Kerry. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Climate envoy John Kerry previewed new U.S. ambitions for producing nuclear fusion energy during a visit to Massachusetts on Monday.

Why it matters: The full announcement at the COP28 summit later this month is expected to coincide with a renewed U.S. effort to deploy nuclear energy — a campaign whose targets may be hard to achieve without fusion projects.

Driving the news: Kerry yesterday visited Commonwealth Fusion Systems, where he alluded to "the United States' vision for international partnerships" for producing fusion energy.

  • "The first ever modern strategy — fusion strategy — for the United States," the special presidential envoy for climate said in remarks at Commonwealth's headquarters in Devens, Massachusetts.
  • The administration plans to make a full announcement on Dec. 5 at the COP28 summit in Dubai.

Between the lines: Nuclear fusion could arguably help meet an ambitious U.S. goal to vastly increase global nuclear energy production by 2050 — though the technology remains unproven.

  • In theory it promises near-limitless energy with virtually no nuclear waste and few safety risks.
  • The sector has attracted plenty of capital, but producing a reaction that generates more energy than was put into it — known as net energy — is believed to be decades away, if it's ever achieved.

Editor's note: This story was updated with details from Kerry's event in Boston.

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