not relevant to the charge before BPAC, although aspects of the MFE development plan as laid out in the Goldston panel report are relevant to this committee’s work.

According to the Goldston report, key elements of its plan are as follows:

  • To develop fusion energy on the 35-year timescale, it is “imperative to have a strong balanced program that develops fusion science and technology in parallel.”14

  • The report also says that “additional funding” is needed to “participate in the construction and utilization of ITER, or, if ITER does not advance to construction, to complete the design of and to construct the domestic FIRE experiment.”15

Objectives selected from the report that are relevant to the implementation of a U.S. plan for a burning plasma experiment include these:

  • From the present to 2009

    • Begin construction of ITER, and develop science and technology to support and utilize this facility. If ITER does not move forward to construction, then complete the design and begin construction of the domestic FIRE experiment.

    • Test fusion technologies in non-fusion facilities in preparation for early testing in ITER, including first blanket modules, and to support configuration optimization.16

  • From 2009 to 2019

    • Demonstrate burning plasma performance in NIF and ITER (or FIRE).

    • Obtain plasma and fusion technology data for MFE CTF [Component Test Facility] design, including initial data from ITER test blanket modules.

    • Demonstrate efficient long-life operation of IFE and MFE systems, including liquid walls.17

The report finds that the U.S. fusion energy sciences program is still suffering from the budget cuts of the mid-1990s and the loss of what it terms “a clear national commitment to develop fusion energy,”18 with concomitant increasing difficulty in retaining technical expertise in key areas. The Goldston plan also estimates that the fusion budget needs to double over the next 5 years to begin to implement the development path foreseen in the report.

14  

FESAC, A Plan for the Development of Fusion Energy, p. 6.

15  

FESAC, A Plan for the Development of Fusion Energy, p. 6.

16  

FESAC, A Plan for the Development of Fusion Energy, p. 10.

17  

FESAC, A Plan for the Development of Fusion Energy, p. 11.

18  

FESAC, A Plan for the Development of Fusion Energy, p. 9.



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