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Orbach told the Committee, "Three years ago, Secretary Abraham defined the Department's primary mission to support national security and established a series of programmatic objectives in national security, energy, environmental quality, science, and corporate management. From this mission and departmental objectives, the Department's Strategic Plan was developed, setting in place a long-range programmatic vision. To orient the Department to results and performance, the long-range planning goals and targets have been articulated into shorter-term performance goals, objectives,and metrics that are reflected throughout the FY 2005 detailed budget justifications."
Orbach said that the Office of Science FY 2005 budget request is $3.432 billion, a $68,451,000 decrease over the FY 2004 appropriation levels. When $140,762,000 for FY 2004 Congressionally-directed projects is set aside, there is an increase of $72,311,000 in FY 2005. When compared to the FY 2004 comparable President's Request, the FY 2005 request increases $104,885,000 or 3.2 percent. This request allows us to increase support for high priority scientific research, increase operations at our key scientific user facilities, keep existing construction projects on schedule, and support new initiatives. This request, coming at a time of tight overall Federal budgets, is also a demonstration of the Administration's support for basic research and the role that fundamental science plays in keeping our Nation strong and secure.
Orbach said the Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) program "advances the theoretical and experimental understanding of plasma and fusion science, including a close collaboration with international partners in identifying and exploring plasma and fusion physics issues through specialized facilities. This includes: 1) exploring basic issues in plasma science; 2) developing the scientific basis and computational tools to predict the behavior of magnetically confined plasmas; 3) using the advances in tokamak research to enable the initiation of the burning plasma physics phase of the Fusion Energy Sciences program; 4) exploring innovative confinement options that offer the potential of more attractive fusion energy sources in the long term; 5) focusing on the scientific issues of non-neutral plasma physics and High Energy Density Physics; 6) developing the cutting edge technologies that enable fusion facilities to achieve their scientific goals; and 7) advancing the science base for innovative materials to establish the economic feasibility and environmental quality of fusion energy."
Orbach said that when the President announced that the U.S. would join in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project he noted that "the results of ITER will advance the effort to produce clean, safe, renewable, and commercially available fusion energy by the middle of this century." He said "To this end, the Department continues its commitment to the future of Fusion Energy Science research with a request of $264.1 million, slightly above the FY 2004 level. Within that amount, DOE's funding in preparation for ITER in FY 2005 is $38 million, $30 million more than last year. Of this $38 million, $7 million is for engineers who support the International Team and for the qualification of vendors for superconducting cable. The other $31 million is for experiments on our tokamak facilities and for component R&D in our laboratories and universities that is closely related to our ongoing program but which is focused on ITER's specific needs."
Orbach noted that fabrication of the National Compact Stellarator Experiment (NCSX) will continue with a target of FY 2008 for the initial operation of "this innovative new confinement system that is the product of advances in physics understanding and computer modeling." In addition, work will be initiated on the Fusion Simulation Project to provide an integrated simulation and modeling capability for magnetic fusion energy confinement systems over a 15-year development period. He said, "The Inertial Fusion Energy research program will be redirected toward high energy density physics research based on recommendations of the recently established Interagency Task Force on High Energy Density Physics."