On May 13th, 2015, General Fusion CEO Nathan Gilliland testified at a hearing of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology’s Subcommittee on Energy. This hearing, entitled “Nuclear Energy Innovation and the National Labs”, discussed research activities and infrastructure within the Department of Energy’s national laboratories and how the private sector can leverage those capabilities for investments with near-term payoff. The hearing also focused on research to advance nuclear energy technology. Below is an excerpt from Nathan Gilliland’s written testimony:
Chairman Weber, Ranking Member Grayson and Members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to testify on the emergence of new innovative fusion energy concepts and the importance of governmental support for these concepts in parallel with longstanding fusion energy research activities.
My name is Nathan Gilliland, Chief Executive Officer of General Fusion, one of the leading private fusion energy companies. I have been asked to provide background on the value of General Fusion’s partnerships and relationships with U.S. agencies, labs, universities and other institutions, as well as the emergence of innovative alternative fusion energy concepts.
Though it is mentioned frequently, the game-changing nature of fusion energy bears repeating: energy production that is safe, clean, and abundant that would change the landscape of energy forever and greatly enhance energy security. In a fusion reaction, one kilogram of hydrogen fuel has the equivalent energy of 10 million kilograms of coal—humanity would have abundant energy for millions of years. There is also no long-lived radioactive waste and no chance of meltdown in fusion reactors. Net energy gain from fusion energy has proven more difficult to achieve than expected, and more costly, however the benefits of reaching this milestone in a commercially viable reactor can hardly be overstated.