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Interim Report of the Committee on a Strategic Plan for U.S. Burning Plasma Research (2018)

Chapter: 6 Toward Completion of the Final Report

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Suggested Citation:"6 Toward Completion of the Final Report." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Interim Report of the Committee on a Strategic Plan for U.S. Burning Plasma Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24971.
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6

Toward Completion of the Final Report

Having completed its assessment of the status and importance of U.S. burning plasma research, the committee is now carrying out the detailed analyses of the many elements required to guide the nation’s long-term strategic plan for fusion energy development. These analyses will be informed by input from the second community workshop on strategic directions for U.S. magnetic fusion research to be held at the University of Texas, Austin, December 11-15, 2017, and by several site visits. Additionally, a subcommittee of the Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (FESAC) to the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science is expected to complete its report shortly identifying “the most promising transformative enabling capabilities for the United States to pursue that could promote efficient advance toward fusion energy.” This new FESAC report will also inform U.S. strategies to improve the fusion power system. The committee anticipates that its final report will present strategies that incorporate continued progress toward a burning plasma experiment, include a major focus on innovation, include provisions for regular review in order to accommodate scientific and technological breakthroughs, and be built upon recent advances in burning plasma science, fusion nuclear science, and the international effort. To the extent possible, the final report will include considerations of the health of fusion research sectors within the United States, the role of international collaboration in the pursuit of national fusion energy goals, the capability and prospects of private-sector ventures to advance fusion energy concepts and technologies, the impact of science and technology innovations, and the design of research strategies that may shorten the time and reduce the cost required to develop commercial fusion energy.

Suggested Citation:"6 Toward Completion of the Final Report." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Interim Report of the Committee on a Strategic Plan for U.S. Burning Plasma Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24971.
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Suggested Citation:"6 Toward Completion of the Final Report." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Interim Report of the Committee on a Strategic Plan for U.S. Burning Plasma Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24971.
×
Suggested Citation:"6 Toward Completion of the Final Report." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Interim Report of the Committee on a Strategic Plan for U.S. Burning Plasma Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24971.
×

This page intentionally left blank.

Suggested Citation:"6 Toward Completion of the Final Report." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Interim Report of the Committee on a Strategic Plan for U.S. Burning Plasma Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24971.
×
Page 35
Suggested Citation:"6 Toward Completion of the Final Report." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Interim Report of the Committee on a Strategic Plan for U.S. Burning Plasma Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24971.
×
Page 36
Suggested Citation:"6 Toward Completion of the Final Report." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Interim Report of the Committee on a Strategic Plan for U.S. Burning Plasma Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24971.
×
Page 37
Suggested Citation:"6 Toward Completion of the Final Report." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Interim Report of the Committee on a Strategic Plan for U.S. Burning Plasma Research. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24971.
×
Page 38
Next: Appendix A What Is Magnetic Fusion? »
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In January 2003, President George W. Bush announced that the United States would begin negotiations to join the ITER project and noted that “if successful, ITER would create the first fusion device capable of producing thermal energy comparable to the output of a power plant, making commercially viable fusion power available as soon as 2050.” The United States and the other ITER members are now constructing ITER with the aim to demonstrate that magnetically confined plasmas can produce more fusion power than the power needed to sustain the plasma. This is a critical step towards producing and delivering electricity from fusion energy.

Since the international establishment of the ITER project, ITER’s construction schedule has slipped and ITER’s costs have increased significantly, leading to questions about whether the United States should continue its commitment to participate in ITER. This study will advise how to best advance the fusion energy sciences in the United States given developments in the field, the specific international investments in fusion science and technology, and the priorities for the next ten years developed by the community and the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) that were recently reported to Congress. It will address the scientific justification and needs for strengthening the foundations for realizing fusion energy given a potential choice of U.S. participation or not in the ITER project, and develops future scenarios in either case.

This interim report assesses the current status of U.S. fusion research and of the importance of burning plasma research to the development of fusion energy as well as to plasma science and other science and engineering disciplines. The final report will present strategies that incorporate continued progress toward a burning plasma experiment and a focus on innovation.

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