Recommendation: The committee recommends that the following goals be adopted as the foundation of Department of Energy planning activities for U.S. participation in ITER:

  • Ensuring broad academic and industry participation in ITER,

  • Enabling the United States to contribute substantially to and reap the rewards from ITER, and

  • Recruiting and training young fusion scientists and engineers.


The committee suggests that the following procedures be implemented to accomplish the goals recommended above:

  • A long-term strategic plan for the U.S. burning plasma fusion program should be created with ITER as an important, but not the only, piece. It is essential to understand the long-term research goals in order to ensure that U.S. research activities on ITER adequately prepare the knowledge base for future fusion energy development. A broad, long-term, burning plasma fusion research strategy within the context of global fusion energy development activities will facilitate the achievement of the goals recommended above. The committee endorses the recommendation in Plasma Science: Advancing Knowledge in the National Interest encouraging the development of a 15-year U.S. strategic plan “for moving aggressively into the fusion burning plasma era … [and to] lay out the main scientific issues to be addressed and provide guidance for the evolution of the national suite of facilities and other resources needed to address these issues.”1 The creation of such a strategic plan will help the Department of Energy (DOE) ensure that the activities of the U.S. fusion program interact synergistically with the ITER project, focus U.S. research strengths, and, ultimately, bring fusion power home to the United States.

  • With the maturation of planning activities, and as progress is made in constructing the experimental ITER facilities, the United States should maintain a home team to encourage broad cooperation and collaboration among all U.S. participants in the ITER project throughout ITER research and operations. The flexible and technically encompassing U.S. Burning Plasma Organization (USBPO) has been serving in this role and should continue to be relied on as an essential point of communication linking the U.S. fusion community, the International Tokamak Physics Activity (ITPA), and the DOE Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (OFES). A broadly


National Research Council, Plasma Science: Advancing Knowledge in the National Interest, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2007, p. 150.

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