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FPN04-41

House Committee Urges Increased Fusion Funds

June 18, 2004

The Appropriations Committee of the U. S. House of Representatives has "marked up" the FY2005 appropriations bill and sent it to the full House for a vote. The bill provides $276 million to the DOE Office of Fusion Energy Sciences, $12 million more than requested by the President. The report states:

"The Committee recommendation for fusion energy sciences is $276,110,000, an increase of $12,000,000 over the budget request. The additional $12,000,000 is to be used to increase the utilization of existing large and small experiments; further work in inertial fusion technology; take advantage of opportunities in High Energy Density Physics, including research on fast ignition, and large-scale scientific computing; and provide for cost-effective construction and development of the National Compact Stellarator Experiment. The Committee notes the delay in site selection for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) and expects the Department to reduce its planned expenditures on ITER in fiscal year 2005 in consideration of this delay."

The Committee also added funds to the President's request for Inertial Confinement Fusion in DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration's budget. Construction of the National Ignition Facility (NIF) is fully funded at the request level of $130 million, but advised to focus on ignition by 2010. The University of Rochester would receive $28 million over the President's request level for Omega EP (Extended Performance) for stockpile stewardship and the High Average Power Laser Program (HAPL) for which the President once more asked for nothing would receive $25 million. Regarding the HAPL program, the Committee said, "The Committee recommendation includes $25,000,000 to continue development of high average power lasers and supporting science and technology within the Inertial Fusion Technology line."

The Committee provided the Department of Energy as a whole $22.5 billion, a decrease of $670 million from the President's request, but $511 million above FY2004.The DOE Office of Science was provided $3.6 billion, $168 million over both the President's request and the FY2004 level. The Committee also provided an increase of $53 million for nuclear energy programs.

The Committee bill must pass the full House and be merged with a parallel bill which has not yet been introduced in the Senate, and then be signed by the President before becoming law.