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Marburger speaks on fusion.

Jack Marburger, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President, spoke to the National Academy Burning Plasma Assessment Committee November 18 "regarding the Administration's view of issues associated with the peaceful exploitation of nuclear fusion." He said, "Let me say at the outset that this Administration is supportive of the concept of electrical power generation from nuclear fusion." He commented, "The closer we are to a transition from a fusion science program to a fusion device engineering program, the easier it will be to create favorable economic conditions to accelerate the practical implementation of fusion power." He said, "The promise of fusion is too great to ignore--but we also understand that this has been a true statement for fifty years."

Marburger noted that last May both the Secretary of Energy and the President had made "very public, high-level pronouncements of support for fusion by this administration."

Marburger said, "I believe the fusion community has made a compelling case that a burning plasma experiment is the essential next scientific step for fusion research. I am convinced there is no foreseeable path to practical fusion without a burning plasma experiment."

Marburger said that in addition to a burning plasma experiment, an "equally important part is the search for a commercially optimal containment technology." "Other issues, like the development of materials that can withstand 14 MeV neutrons or the design of blanket technologies are only important once the first problem--the creation of a burning plasma--has been solved," he said.

Marburger said,"Based on these beliefs, this Administration has several decisions to make:

(1) Do we enter the ITER negotiations?

(2) What terms are acceptable for US participation?

(3) What changes should be made in the Fusion Energy Science Program if we do decide to move in the direction of a burning plasma experiment?"

He noted that the international parties are on schedule to proceed with ITER around April 2003 and said "Should the Administration decide to enter ITER, it would be desirable to have the US enter sooner rather than later." He said the "Administration is currently discussing itsoptions and developing a position."

Marburger said, "Regardless of whether the US participates in an international fusion experiment, the US will need to explore alternative confinement configurations so that we will be able to capitalize on the results of any burning plasma experiment." He noted that fusion has benefited "from revolutionary improvements in computing power and instrumentation" and said, "It is fair to say that fusion research today is proceeding with unprecedented theoretical and experimental confidence."

"The very fact that so many studies have been commissioned in such a short period of time is an indication of the rate of progress in this field," he said. The complete text of Dr. Marburger's remarks are posted at http://fire.pppl.gov
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Title Annotation:Jack Marburger, director of the United States Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President
Comment:Marburger speaks on fusion.(Jack Marburger, director of the United States Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President)
Publication:Fusion Power Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Words:471
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