FY 2001 Dept. of Energy Appropriations Bill: Inertial Confinement Fusion Fusion research is funded in two different parts of the Department of Energy's budget. FYI #73 provided the committee report (H.Rpt. 106-693) language for the fusion energy science component of H.R. 4733, which is a program under the department's Office of Science. Inertial confinement fusion funding is in the weapons activities part of the bill. The report language on inertial confinement fusion, including an important condition regarding future funding for the National Ignition Facility, follows. The Senate version of this legislation will be released in mid-July.
"Inertial Confinement Fusion.--The Committee recommends $364,600,000 for the inertial confinement fusion program, an increase of $169,700,000 over the budget request of $194,900,000. The recommendation includes $144,700,000 which has been transferred to inertial confinement fusion from the readiness in technical base and facilities program, and $25,000,000 to further the development of high average power lasers.
"Last year the Committee requested the Secretary of Energy to complete and certify a new cost and schedule baseline for the National Ignition Facility (NIF). This certification was to be submitted by June 1, 2000. If the Department was unable to provide such a certification, the Department was to prepare an estimate of the costs necessary to terminate the project. The Department has not been able to certify a new cost and schedule baseline, but has submitted an interim report calculating the total project cost at approximately $3.26 billion. The Committee does not believe that the information provided to date is an adequate basis for additional appropriations in fiscal year 2001. The Committee will reserve judgment on this project until the final report is submitted in September.
"Although completion of the NIF project in a timely and cost effective manner is a high priority for the stockpile stewardship program, it is important that the Department continue to support and maintain the work at other inertial fusion facilities, and efforts in diagnostics, target fabrication, and cryogenic target development. These elements of the inertial confinement fusion program not only enable the goals of NIF, but have important roles in meeting the overall goals of stockpile stewardship. With significant delays in NIF, increased use of existing facilities and the continued development of the supporting activities are essential to the long term success of the program. The Committee recommendation includes the budget request of $9,750,000 for the Naval Research Laboratory and $32,150,000 for the University of Rochester."
Richard M. Jones