US fusion programs in danger

  1. The President’s 2013 budget proposal has called for reduced funding of fusion energy programs. At the same time, an increasing portion of the fusion budget is allocated toward ITER, which is a large reactor being built in France, a collaborative effort between many countries. Funds for remaining programs are severely cut. One of the main tokamak experiments, Alcator C-mod at MIT, is slated to be shut down. Alcator C-mod has the highest magnetic field of current tokamaks and a large number of operating modes.

    The domestic programs provide essential support for ITER (whose design is being updated based on researching coming out of these smaller devices). If we cut them, we are really slowing progress toward fusion power generation.

    A few sites have popped up to raise some awareness and try to lobby Congress to allocate more funding for fusion research.
    http://www.fusionfuture.org/
    https://sites.google.com/site/plasmaphysicsletter2013/
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    That's disheartening...I'll have to look into those websites as soon as I get home.
     
  4. AlephZero

    AlephZero 7,300
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I can remember when I was a kid in school and we had a science talk about a wonderful new invention the UK had made that would generate electricity so cheaply that people could use as much as they wanted for free.

    That was the AERE http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZETA_(fusion_reactor) project, back in 1957.

    Unless progress can go backwards from zero, it's kinda hard to see how it can go forwards any slower than the current rate.
     
  5. Drakkith

    Staff: Mentor

    Yes, it is unfortunate that Fusion was popularized well before it was feasible as "just around the corner". However, while progress is apparently slow, we have made significant progress over the years.
     
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