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

June 1, 1998

FPN98-15 Fusion Program Notes

FESAC Materials Review

The DOE Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (FESAC) met in Gaithersburg, MD, May 26-27, with the primary order of business to receive the report of its panel reviewing the fusion (structural) materials program (FPN98-10). The panel was chaired by Sam Harkness (Westinghouse). Other members of the panel were: M. Abdou (UCLA), C. Baker (UCSD, co-chair), J. Davis (Boeing), W. Hogan (LLNL), G. Kulcinski (U.WI), M. Mauel (Columbia U.), C. McHargue (U. TN), R. Odette (UCSB), D. Petti (INEL), P. Shewmon (Ohio State U., retired), and S. Zweben (PPPL).

Following the meeting, the FESAC sent an "interim" letter report to DOE Director of Energy Research Martha Krebs stating: "The draft report makes some very important recommendations about the fusion structural materials program. (1) There should be a greater emphasis on modelling of materials, using the growing capabilities in this area, to complement the experimental program in developing optimized materials. This area is a very good candidate for inclusion in the Strategic Simulation Initiatives; (2) More emphasis should be given to understanding the complete systems into which the structural materials must fit to help in prioritizing the elements of the development program. The FESAC agrees with these recommendations. The FESAC has requested that the Review Panel consider certain modifications and add some clarifying sections to the draft report. The FESAC will review the final report in its July 30-31 meeting (scheduled for Germantown, MD)."

In his report to FESAC, panel chairman Sam Harkness said that the accomplishments of this relatively small ($6M, 15 FTE) part of the fusion program were "impressive." However, he said, "Until an attractive confinement approach is defined, it is appropriate that the materials budget remain at or slightly above its current levels." In its report, the panel said, "In the near-term the materials R&D efforts will emphasize issues related to deuterium/tritium fusion. At the same time, the program needs to account for various possible magnetic and inertial confinement approaches. In the long-term,alternate fusion fuel cycles should also be considered."

A copy of the panel's report is on the web at


The panel said, "Perhaps the most important key issue for fusion materials development is the recognition that the fusion environment and needs for an attractive power system concept present a major challenge involving a wide variety of complex, interacting phenomena and conditions. This implies directly that materials R&D activities should be considered as part of an integrated program along with engineering science research, technology/component development and advanced design and systems assessments." The panel called for "greater emphasis on data analysis and modeling and pathways to introduce exploratory and innovative materials concepts."