Milestone-Based Fusion Development Program

Fusion energy is a potentially safe, abundant, zero-carbon-emitting source of reliable primary energy.

Major recent worldwide advances in the science[1],[2],[3] and technology[4] of fusion energy, the emergence of a strong and growing private fusion sector in the United States and abroad,[5] and

the objective of achieving “net-zero” global carbon emissions by 2050[6] have made the acceleration of fusion energy research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) a national priority.

Augmenting the present scientific mission of the Office of Science (SC) Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) program with supporting “the development of a competitive fusion power industry in the U.S.” was both authorized in the Energy Act of 2020 and consistent with the recommendations of recent community-informed expert studies and reports, such as the 2020 Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (FESAC) Long-Range Plan Powering the Future[7] and the 2021 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) report Bringing Fusion to the U. S. Grid.[8] The latter helped motivate the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and DOE to co-host a summit on Developing a Bold Decadal Vision for Commercial Fusion Energy.[9] A common theme among these recent activities was the recognition that public-private partnerships (PPPs) present an opportunity to accelerate fusion energy RD&D.

A DOE-sponsored Workshop on Fusion Energy Development via Public-Private Partnerships was held recently (June 1–3, 2022); workshop presentations are posted publicly on the FES website.[10] This FOA invites applications for a new milestone-based fusion development program (as authorized in the Energy Act of 2020), which is a key component of the bold decadal vision to accelerate fusion energy RD&D in partnership with the private sector.

Applications may be submitted for applied R&D to resolve scientific and technological issues toward the successful design of a fusion pilot plant (FPP).[11] [1]

[2] H.

Abu-Shawareb et al., “Lawson Criterion for Ignition Exceeded in an Inertial Fusion Experiment,” Phys.



129, 075001 (2022); 1. [3]


[5] The Global Fusion Industry in 2022, Fusion Companies Survey by the Fusion Industry Association.

[6] 0. [7] [8] [9] and [10] [11] An FPP should demonstrate a significant amount of net fusion electricity (e.g., >50 MWe) for >3 continuous hours (i.e., phase 1b of the NASEM report in footnote 8) with a timely path to one full power year (i.e., phase 2 of the NASEM report), at a total capital cost that can attract private funding.
Related Programs

Office of Science Financial Assistance Program

Department of Energy


Office: Office of Science

Estimated Funding: $50,000,000

Who's Eligible

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Edited by: Michael Saunders

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