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[cdn-nucl-l] FPN02-71 Fusion Program Notes - Marburger Speaks on Fusion
Posted on the Fusion Power Associates news list on November 22, 2002 and
Note that the ITER sitting decision is scheduled for April, 2003...
FPN02-71 Fusion Program Notes - Marburger Speaks on Fusion
Stephen O. Dean
Fusion Power Associates
November 22, 2002
Jack Marburger, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy,
Executive Office of the President, spoke to the National Academy Burning
Plasma Assessment Committee November 18 "regarding the Administration's
view of issues associated with the peaceful exploitation of nuclear
fusion." He said, "Let me say at the outset that this Administration is
supportive of the concept of electrical power generation from nuclear
fusion." He commented, "The closer we are to a transition from a fusion
science program to a fusion device engineering program, the easier it
will be to create favorable economic conditions to accelerate the
practical implementation of fusion power."
He said, "The promise of fusion is too great to ignore -- but we also
understand that this has been a true statement for fifty years."
Marburger noted that last May both the Secretary of Energy and the
President had made "very public, high-level pronouncements of support
for fusion by this administration."
Marburger said, "I believe the fusion community has made a compelling
case that a burning plasma experiment is the essential next scientific
step for fusion research. I am convinced there is no foreseeable path to
practical fusion without a burning plasma experiment."
Marburger said that in addition to a burning plasma experiment, an
"equally important part is the search for a commercially optimal
containment technology." "Other issues, like the development of
materials that can withstand 14 MeV neutrons or the design of blanket
technologies are only important once the first problem -- the creation
of a burning plasma -- has been solved," he said.
Marburger said, "Based on these beliefs, this Administration has several
decisions to make:
(1) Do we enter the ITER negotiations?
(2) What terms are acceptable for US participation?
(3) What changes should be made in the Fusion Energy Science Program if
we do decide to move in the direction of a burning plasma experiment?"
He noted that the international parties are on schedule to proceed with
ITER around April 2003 and said "Should the Administration decide to
enter ITER, it would be desirable to have the US enter sooner rather
than later." He said the "Administration is currently discussing its
options and developing a position."
Marburger said, "Regardless of whether the US participates in an
international fusion experiment, the US will need to explore alternative
confinement configurations so that we will be able to capitalize on the
results of any burning plasma experiment." He noted that fusion has
benefited "from revolutionary improvements in computing power and
instrumentation" and said, "It is fair to say that fusion research today
is proceeding with unprecedented theoretical and experimental
"The very fact that so many studies have been commissioned in such a
short period of time is an indication of the rate of progress in this
field," he said
The complete text of Dr. Marburger's remarks are posted at