Fusion Power Associates
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phone: (301) 258-0545
fax: (301) 975-9869
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web: http://fusionpower.org


October 13, 1998

FPN98-31 Fusion Program Notes


FESAC Gets New Charges

The DOE Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (FESAC), chaired by John Sheffield, has received a charge letter dated October 9 from DOE Director of Energy Research Martha Krebs stating, "I would like to ask the FESAC's help in two steps. First, please prepare a report on the opportunities and the requirements of a fusion energy science program, including the technical requirements for fusion energy. In preparing the report, please consider three timescales: near-term, e.g. 5 years; mid-term, e.g. 20 years; and the longer term. It would also be useful to have an assessment of the technical status of the various program elements of the existing program. This document should not exceed 70 pages and should be completed by the end of December 1998, if at all possible. I would expect to use this work, as it progresses, as input for the upcoming SEAB review of the Magnetic and Inertial Fusion Energy programs."

Krebs continues, "Using this effort as a starting point, I would like FESAC to lead a community assessment of the restructured program thus far, including recommendations for further redirection given projected flat budgets for fusion. With this assessment as background, I would like your recommendations as to the proof-of-principle experiments now under review, as well as your recommendations regarding the balance of the program between tokamak and non-tokamak physics, and between magnetic and inertial fusion energy. Working with the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences, please develop goals and metrics to use in making your recommendations. I would also welcome any other recommendations on program content, emphasis, or balance."

Krebs also says, "This effort, I realize, is a large undertaking. I believe it will be helped by the community workshop planned for next summer, by the SEAB review, and by the National Research Council review of the scientific quality of the program. I would like to receive this second report by September 1999, so that we can use it to prepare a program plan/roadmap for submission to Congress with our FY2001 budget."

In her letter, Krebs notes "In FY 1999 we will suspend our ITER design efforts but still complete important and related technology research. At the same time we will work with our ITER partners to identify complementary international collaborations." Krebs notes the recent restructuring of the program towards more of a science emphasis but states, "However, fusion will never be simply a science program; it must have an energy vision, as well. This dual nature of the program will always cause tension within the community. The continued call for clearly defined progress toward energy application, from Congress and others, will highlight that tension."

To take on the first task, that of preparing "a report on the opportunities and the requirements of a fusion energy science program," by the end of the year, "if at all possible," FESAC chairman John Sheffied has assembled a panel, which he will personally chair. The other members of the panel are: Charles C. Baker (UCSD), Stephen O. Dean (Fusion Power Associates), Nathaniel Fisch (PPPL), Jeffrey Freidberg (MIT), Richard Hazeltine (U. Texas), Gerald Kulcinski (U. Wisconsin), John Lindl (LLNL), Gerald Navratil (Columbia U.), Cynthia Phillips (PPPL), Stewart Prager (U. Wisconsin) Don Rej (LANL), John Soures (U. Rochester), and Ronald Stambaugh (General Atomics). Others may be added. The panel held its first meeting October 13-14 in Washington. It is the panel's intent to ask for "2-pagers," describing the major elements of the fusionn program. A format for the 2-pagers has been prepared and will be available for distribution shortly. Inquiries on how to interface with the panel should be addressed to the panel's executive secretary, Bob Benson (ORNL) at eee@ornl.gov