FESAC endorses 35-year fusion power plan.
The plan envisages a broadly-based "portfolio" of both magnetic and inertial fusion energy approaches and associated technologies over the next fifteen years at a total cost of approximately $10 billion, at which time the technology for the first generation of fusion power plants would be selected for focused development over the next approximately 20 years.
The plan describes a development path based on "a set of overlapping scientific and technological challenges" in configuration optimization, study of burning plasmas, materials testing, component testing and fusion power demonstration. It notes a series of key decisions, including a 2008 decision needed to construct an International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (IFMIF).
The plan anticipates "major accomplishments" from the inertial fusion National Ignition Facility (NIF) and the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (1TER) during the period 2009 2019. Data from NIF and ITER, combined with data from ongoing core experimental and theory/computation programs, would lead to the selection of the Demo path around 2019.
The report calls for initiating the plan in FY 2004 at a level of $332 million, although the President's FY 2004 budget request is for only $257 million. The plan calls for the fusion budget to continue to grow, to approximately $570 million in 2008 and to peak at approximately $900 million around 2013.
The plan states, "To achieve the goals of this plan, the program must be directed by strong management. Given constrained budgets, the wide variety of options and the linkages of one issue with an- other, increasingly sophisticated management of the program will be required."
The plan is aimed at having fusion ready for commercialization in a timeframe as defined recently by President Bush. Bush called for having "clean, safe, renewable, and commercially-available fusion energy by the middle of this century." Bush said, "Commercialization of fusion has the potential to dramatically improve America's energy security while significantly reducing air pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases."
The full report is posted at http://fire.pppl.gov