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

February 4, 1998

FPN98-05 Fusion Program Notes

Clinton FY1999 Budget Request

Under proposals sent to Congress on February 2, the Department of Energy would receive a 9% increase in its budget from Fiscal Year 1998 to 1999. The DOE budget would increase by $1.5 billion from $16.5 to $18.0 billion for the Fiscal Year that begins next October 1.

The Clinton proposals reflect major initiatives to enhance research on energy technologies to combat the threat of global warming and to enhance science and technology research in general. Essentially all elements of the DOE budget received budget increases, including Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (up 33% to $1.1B), Fossil Energy (up 53% to $560M), Fission Energy (up 21% to $326M). In the science area, Basic Energy Sciences is up 25% to $836M; Computational and Technology Research is up 10% to $161M; High Energy Physics is up 11% to $691M; and Nuclear Physics is up 12% to $332M. As predicted (FPN98-1) fusion energy sciences was not taken seriously as either an element in the global warming or science initiatives of the President. The fusion budget request is down almost 2%, from $232M this year to $228M for FY1999.

Within it's proposed $228M request, the DOE Office of Fusion Energy Sciences plans to slash its participation in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project by roughly half, reducing the number of scientists on assignment to ITER from about 36 to about 18. In addition, the research and development activities in support of ITER will also be reduced by an undetermined amount. The money removed from the ITER account will be used in FY1999 to provide modest increases for other elements of the fusion program, including operation of the Alcator C-Mod and DIII-D tokamak facilities, alternate concept experiments, theory, and plasma and fusion technologies.

The bright news for fusion is contained within the DOE's request for its Defense Programs. The National Ignition Facility (NIF) construction will continue as planned, with construction funding up from 197.8M this year, to $284.2M next year, within a total inertial confinement fusion budget that is up from $413.5 this year, to $498M next year.

Energy Secretary Federico Pena said that the Department's budget request "strengthens investments in science, technology and energy to help America remain the world's economic and scientific leader for the next century." He said it "will boost investment to diversify the Nation's energy portfolio." He said, "The budget especially emphasizes energy research and development -- a $338 million increase consistent with recommendations made by the President's Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)." He called the budget proposals of President Clinton "historic," in part "because of the commitment this administration has made to investing in science and technology." "Our departmental budget for fiscal year 1999 reflects that commitment," Pena said.

The DOE budget can be accessed at http://www.cfo.doe.gov/budget/index.htm

The overall Federal Budget can be accessed at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/budget/index.htm