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phone: (301) 258-0545
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FPN06-39

House Appropriations Endorses Fusion Efforts

May 18, 2006

On May 17, the Committee on Appropriations of the U. S. House of Representatives marked up the President's Fiscal Year 2007 budget request. The Committee provided the full amount requested for the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences, including full funding for the first year of ITER construction, and provided substantial funds above the President's request for inertial confinement fusion. The bill is expected to be voted on by the full House in the near future but must eventually be merged with a similar bill from the Senate. The Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet taken up the measure.

The following language is provided in the House mark:

Fusion Energy Sciences

The Committee recommendation for fusion energy sciences is $318,950,000, the same as the budget request. The Committee is pleased that the department finally requested sufficient funding for the U.S. participation in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) Project without doing so at the expense of domestic fusion research activities or at the expense of other office of science programs.

The Committee strongly encourages the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences to invest adequately in fast ignition research and leverage the new facilities such as OMEGA-EP and FIREX-I in Japan to conduct critical research to explore the feasibility of this innovative concept. Also, the Committee is aware of the recent proposal from the Naval Research Laboratory for a fusion test facility; the Committee encourages the department to give serious consideration to providing office of science funding support in the future for these alternative approaches to fusion energy.

Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) Ignition and High Yield.

The Committee recommends $528,191,000 for the inertial confinement fusion and yield program, an increase of $77,000,000 over the budget request.

The Committee provides $58,021,000, for Facility Operations and Target Production, of which $15,000,000 is available for the enhanced target production and characterization capabilities. The Committee provides $55,959,000, of which $10,000,000 is available for NIF diagnostics, cryogenics and experimental support to achieve the 2010 ignition goal. 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 program line. The Committee recommendation includes $15,000,000 for the Naval Research Laboratory and $54,150,000 for the University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE), an increase of $10,000,000 over the budget request. The LLE is the principal research and experimentation laser facility for NNSA Science-based Stockpile stewardship activities. The Committee's increase is for OMEGA operations to provide additional shots to support the ICF campaign goal of an ignition demonstration in 2010. The Committee provides $2,000,000 for the Ohio State University Laboratory for Advanced Laser-Target Interactions.

The Committee provides $111,419,000 for construction of the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the same as the budget request.