FYI: The AIP Bulletin of Science Policy News

Representatives Urge Support of DOE Fusion Energy Sciences Program

Richard M. Jones
Number 90 - May 10, 2013  |  Search FYI  |   FYI Archives  |   Subscribe to FYI

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Fifty Democratic and Republican representatives have written to the Chairman and the Ranking Member of the House Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee in support of the Fusion Energy Sciences Program of the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.  This letter requests that the subcommittee “protect U.S. capabilities in this area by including adequate funding for both the domestic fusion program and the international ITER fusion project in FY 2014.”

Specifically, the letter recommends “you include, at a minimum, the same level of funding for the domestic fusion program that was included in your committee's FY 2013 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill, in addition to an adequate amount to ensure that the U.S. can meet its obligations to ITER.”  The subcommittee’s FY 2013 recommendation for the program was $474.6 million.    

The Administration requested $458.3 million for the program for FY 2014. The current budget is $401.0 million, less a mandatory reduction of about 5.0 percent for sequestration.

Reports indicate that the House may begin to consider the FY 2014 appropriations bills on the floor next month.  When Members do so they will have less overall money for discretionary programs than was available for the current year.

The April 19 letter to Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) and Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) follows:

“Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Kaptur:

“We are writing to express our strong support for the fusion energy research programs carried out within the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (OFES).  Your subcommittee has long been a champion of fusion energy research and we request that you protect U.S. capabilities in this area by including adequate funding for both the domestic fusion program and the international ITER fusion project in FY 2014.

“As you know, fusion power is a safe, clean, and sustainable energy source that can provide the United States with energy independence and a nearly limitless energy supply in a time-scale that matters and at a cost that we can afford.  The OFES is working to make this energy source a reality by funding a wide variety of fusion laboratories and research programs throughout the United States, while also contributing to ITER, the most ambitious fusion facility ever built.  Both of these investments are vital to achieve the goals of the U.S. fusion program and will provide critical information that will help usher in the commercialization of fusion energy.

“The domestic program is key to developing the scientific basis for fusion, establishing the foundation for the next steps in the U.S. fusion program, and providing scientific advances for ITER.  The pursuit of this vital energy source, both domestically and through ITER, drives important areas of science and technology and has bred a first-rate fusion workforce in the United States. However, without substantial support for both the domestic fusion program and the ITER project, our workforce and capabilities will be compromised and the United States will cede further advantage to places such as China, South Korea, the European Union, and Japan, all of which are pursuing more aggressive fusion programs than our own.

“We respectfully request that you include, at a minimum, the same level of funding for the domestic fusion program that was included in your committee's FY 2013 Energy and Water Development appropriations bill, in addition to an adequate amount to ensure that the U.S. can meet its obligations to ITER.   This will ensure that our university programs are not eroded, that our three major world-leading fusion experiments are kept operating and more fully utilized, and that important areas of fusion related science and technology move forward.

“Thank you for your attention to this matter.”

The letter was signed by:

Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ)
Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY)
Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA)
Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA)
Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA)
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI)
Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT)
Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY)
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO)
Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL)
Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA)
Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ)
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA)
Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY)
Rep. William Keating (D-MA)
Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-MA)
Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI)
Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ)
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM)
Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA)
Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA)
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA)
Rep. James McGovern (D-MA)
Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA)
Rep. Mike Michaund (D-ME)
Rep. George Miller (D-CA)
Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI)
Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA)
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)
Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA)
Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ)
Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ)
Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-NJ)
Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA)
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI)
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO)
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)
Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-CA)
Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-PA)
Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ)
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY)
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA)
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Rep. John Tierney (D-MA)
Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY)
Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA)
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)

 

Richard M. Jones
Government Relations Division
American Institute of Physics
rjones@aip.org
301-209-3095