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FPN04-55

Bush and Kerry on Fusion and ITER

September 19, 2004

Nature and Science magazines posed questions on science, environment and energy policy to Presidential candidates George Bush and John Kerry. Their responses are posted at http://fire.pppl.gov

With respect to fusion and ITER the questions and responses were as follows:

Nature: Should the United States participate fully in the construction of ITER, the proposed fusion research facility, and what steps would you take to help such international scientific projects to succeed?

Bush: I committed the United States to join ITER early in 2003. ITER is a critically important experiment to test the feasibility of nuclear fusion as a source of electricity and hydrogen. Along with several other nations, the United States is playing a critical role in launching ITER. In fact, ITER is the Department of Energy's top facilities priority.

Kerry: My energy plan will tap America's initiative and ingenuity to strengthen our national security, grow our economy and protect our environment. With regard to ITER, John Edwards and I support a strategically balanced United States fusion program that includes participation in ITER to supplement a strong domestic fusion science and technology portfolio. As president, my first priority internationally on this and other energy issues will be to engage other nations to find areas of cooperation and common ground.

Science: By siding with Japan, the United States has contributed to the current stalemate over where to build the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER). Would you shift support to Europe as a way to move this project forward? At what point would you withdraw U.S. support for this project?

Kerry: My energy plan will tap America's initiative and ingenuity to strengthen our national security, grow our economy an protect our environment. With regard to ITER, John Edwards and I support a strategically balanced United States fusion programme that includes participation in ITER to supplement a strong domestic fusion science and technology portfolio. As president, my first priority internationally on this and other energy issues will be to engage other nations to find areas of cooperation and common ground.

Bush: I remain committed to building the ITER project, and based on recommendations from the Department of Energy, I believe Japan is the best location for ITER. My administration will continue to collaborate with all ITER participants, including our European partners, in realizing the promise of fusion energy through ITER. This project is one of the four "transformational technology" pillars of my climate change strategy, which focuses on building the emissions-free technologies of the future. From an inexhaustible and entirely clean fuel source, a fusion plant could generate huge amounts of electricity to power megacities and to produce hydrogen.