Fusion Power Associates
2 Professional Drive, Suite 248
Gaithersburg, MD 20879
phone: (301) 258-0545
fax: (301) 975-9869
e-mail: FusionPwrAssoc@aol.com
web: http://fusionpower.org

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Top Fusion Accomplishments of 2003

January 30, 2004

According to a posting on the web site of the U. S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, the following are the top accomplishments of its Office of Fusion Energy Sciences in 2003:


International Fusion Energy Project.

In January 2003, President Bush committed the U.S. to participate in the largest and most technologically sophisticated research project in the world, ITER, to harness the promise of fusion energy, the same form of energy that powers the sun. Throughout 2003, the ITER Parties negotiated an understanding on sharing the cost of ITER, on allocating the hardware procurements, and on most of the terms and conditions of a formal Agreement. The site decision remains to be completed and a plan is being implemented to reach consensus on the site in early 2004. If successful, this $5 billion, internationally supported research project would advance progress toward producing clean, renewable, commercially available fusion energy by the middle of the century.

Miniature Nuclear Detection System.

An instrument developed by the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory to assist in the decontamination and decommissioning of a large fusion experiment has been adapted for use in detecting radioactive materials for Homeland Security purposes. Field testing has begun on a miniature nuclear detection system that would be used to scan moving vehicles, luggage, cargo vessels, and the like for specific nuclear signatures associated with materials employed in radiological weapons. The detector can be tuned to identify the false-positive readings from authorized materials such as radioactive medical isotopes.

Predicting Electrical Blackouts.

Fusion researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in collaboration with the University of Alaska, developed a computer model that predicts the probability that an electrical network will have a catastrophic blackout, as was experienced in the northeastern U.S. in August 2003. The model is being used to predict the need for reserve power on the electrical network so that peak demands for electricity can be met without bringing the system down. The software tool developed at ORNL is based on ideas conceived to describe the loss of energy from marginally unstable fusion plasmas.

The complete list of DOE Office of Science "accomplishments" is posted at http://www.science.doe.gov/Sub/Accomplishments/accomplishments/complete_2003.htm