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be a technology applied to ITER for driving the plasma current. The coil will
be shipped to Japan in April 1990 for joint testing by the U.S. and Japan. Successful operation of this large (2 meter) coil would be a major step in pulsed coil technology and would allow scale-up to full-sized, pulsed, superconducting ITER coils. With the conceptual design activity nearly completed, the U.S. will decide whether to enter discussions on the engineering design phase of ITER. A final decision on continued U.S. participation in ITER will depend on a variety of factors, including the recommendations of the Fusion Policy Advisory Committee and the outcome of the
annual budget process.
The FY 1991 budget essentially provides for a continuation of FY 1990 activities. This includes such areas as development of high-field, steady
state, pulsed magnets and plasma heating and fueling components, development of low activation and radiation-resistant structural materials that have
acceptable characteristics for the fusion reactor environment, and tasks to enhance the environmental and safety advantages of fusion. Materials also need to be developed that can resist high heat flux and erosion by the bombardment of plasma particles. Fusion nuclear components will continue to be developed to produce and process tritium safely and convert fusion energy
into useful forms.
Finally, systems design work aimed at developing improved reactor designs, including inertial confinement concepts, is supported. Support of design and validating R&D for ITER is also supported.
The Planning and Projects subprogram provides support for construction of major new facilities and fabrication of auxiliary components for these facilities. The FY 1991 Operating Expenses request of $4.2 million is primarily for compliance with requirements associated with the Small Business
Innovation Research program.
The Operating Expenses request of $5.7 million for Program Direction provides for personnel and other costs associated with 64 full-time equivalent
The FY 1991 Capital Equipment request of $14.3 million will provide for
essential hardware to support the overall program.
This equipment includes
diagnostic and computer equipment, power supplies, and other components for
The FY 1991 Construction request of $19.1 million (Table 10) provides $11.1
million for continued construction of the Confinement Physics Research
Facility (CPRF) at LANL. The CPRF will provide an experimental capability to explore the physics properties of a reversed field toroidal confinement experiment that has the theoretical capability, in a future device, of heating
the plasma to ignition with lower magnetic fields. The FY 1991 request will
allow the program to complete fabrication of the coils and the vessel and
shell, to begin installation of these components, and to complete generator
The remainder of the Construction request, $8.0 million, is for General Plant Projects (GPP). These GPP projects at LANL, PPPL, and ORNL provide for the
continuing minor alterations and modifications necessary to protect the
Government's investment in its facilities.
BIOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH
The Biological and Environmental Research (BER) program supports research aimed at identifying, understanding, and anticipating the long-term health and environmental consequences of energy development and use. The program also contributes to the solution of major scientific problems in medicine and biology through the use of the Department's unique scientific and technological capabilities.
The BER research program, with its focus on human biology and health and on the environment, grew out of the program's initial mission to understand the potential health and environmental impacts of radiation. As definitive
information was obtained concerning relatively high levels of radiation
exposure, attention was turned to potential effects at lower doses that might
be received by worker populations or the general public. This concern led to epidemiology studies on selected populations, such as contractor employees, and a more comprehensive research program involving experimental animal, cellular, and molecular studies.
The Department's human genome program represents a new approach, based on modern biology and technology, to the more than forty year old mission of evaluating effects of low doses of exposure to energy-related agents. The
knowledge that will flow from this program will open new levels of understanding about the effects of radiation and chemicals on the most fundamental level of life--the DNA molecule. Combined with the increased understanding of biological structure and function provided by research in structural biology, the results of these research activities are providing and will continue to provide methods, data, and processes for biotechnology applications. Potential applications include new drug designs, protein engineering of enzymes and other catalysts for industrial processes, diagnostics for medical diseases, and applications of biotechnology for environmental restoration.
The environmental research program, in a similar manner, evolved from an initial need to understand the pathways of radioactive materials from weapons testing through atmospheric, marine, and terrestrial environments to human exposure. The research base established within the DOE environmental research program has helped provide a quantitative understanding of the processes that affect the environmental fate of energy-related materials and, thus, has enabled DOE to respond effectively to recent national concerns such as acid
rain and possible global climate change from the increase of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Important research related to subsurface contamination and ground water is also underway and is expected to contribute significantly to environmental restoration activities.
The Department's research in medical applications also evolved from the original mandate to promote the use of radioactive materials for medical applications. As progressively sophisticated applications for diagnosis and