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FESAC comments on FY 2013 budget proposals.

At its February 28-29 meeting, the DOE's Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (FESAC) provided comments on the Department's FY 2013 proposed fusion program budget that indicated plans to make significant cuts in the domestic fusion budget. At the meeting, FESAC members expressed dismay that the DOE had not discussed the proposed actions with FESAC or the fusion community.

In a letter to DOE Office of Science Director William Brinkman, FESAC chair Martin Greenwald wrote: "It is clear that the community is upset about the current budget trajectory and the potential impact on our domestic program." Greenwald said "I felt that it was important for you to understand the views expressed by the committee without delay." He said that the FESAC had voted 17-0, with 2 recusals and 1 absent to tell him that "The committee objects to the theme/impression that these cuts leave the program relatively unscathed and strongly cautions against claims of impactful potential at this level or lower without real study and discussion." The FESAC statement says "the damage is real" and the "portent for the future is even more threatening."

The statement says that if the ITER situation "is in flux inside the Administration, this does not appear to be the time to make termination decisions that cannot be reversed." It questions "the wisdom to do(ing) lasting changes to program based on an undefined ITER profile and in the absence of an overall plan for the program." The FESAC urges DOE to seek "buy-in" from the fusion community, saying, "cohesion of (the fusion) community is critical as we confront hard decisions." They say, "we don't want (the) community to give a message different from DOE/OS/OFES."

The FESAC urged Dr. Brinkman to request assistance from FESAC in addressing "near-term crisis management, shoring up the case for domestic research while ITER is under construction." They state, "We cannot maintain a viable fusion science program on flat $400M budget," noting "Once a field is shut down, you need to start over and that can take decades." They ask Brinkman to charge FESAC to assist DOE to prepare a fusion plan. They state, "The plan should run to 2021 (ITER start): and include option(s) and plans for next decade." They say, the study should include "planning for ITER-era Burning Plasma leadership" and "planning for (a) Fusion Nuclear Science Program leading to fusion energy."
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Title Annotation:Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee
Publication:Fusion Power Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2012
Words:397
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