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standpoint of paying for it. The difficulty we are having surfaced again in the authorizing hearing when we tried to inquire at what point in time we would get a better picture of the actual cost to the federal government. We are having difficulty with that as evidenced when I asked whether we could condition an appropriation upon producing the international game plan. The answer was that that would not work.
Then there is the issue of state participation. As you know, to this point, states have not been able to indicate what they will contribute to the project because of the amendment that I offered and you all supported.
Incidentally, I did hear from the National Academy of Sciences that the amendment was actually helpful, rather than harmful, in their evaluation of the sites. They claim that had they had to evaluate those aspects, they probably would have been even more arbitrary in their decisions than they currently appear to be, and that they might not have been able to get it done.
But, I think a relevant question is at what point in time, when we start appropriating, will we get a full game plan of the federal cost?
Your question of how much we should put in for the very, very first phase of the SSC to keep it alive seems to me to lead to a question of when :ve will get a full proposal. It is not going to cost us $5 billion if what DOE has been telling us is true, that the Japanese seem to want to pay, and others in Europe do, too. The site of the SSC project is also an important factor. If you pick Texas, they might pay for the whole damn thing out of oil receipts. They said they could put up $1 billion at one point.
Senator JOHNSTON. That is the old Texas.
Dr. DECKER. I wish I could give you an answer as to a date when, in fact, we would have foreign support lined up and so forth.
As I think you know, we have just opened formal discussions with six countries on this topic. It will take each of them varying times to reach some sort of decision. In talking with the Japanese most recently, it could well be a year's time for them to make those kinds of decisions. It is very much a grassroots kind of a bottom-up process in Japan.
It has also been clear to us in our discussions with many of the countries that they are, of course, watching to see what Congress does on the budget for the project. I am not sure that we will get solid commitments before we have a good and solid indication that the Congress, in fact, wants to proceed with the project.
We are a little bit in a chicken and egg situation on this, unfortunately.
Senator MCCLURE. Would the chairman yield on that point?
Senator McCLURE. It really leaves us, then, in the position, does it not, as a country, as a Congress, as an administration, to a commitment to doing it all ourselves, with no participation?
Dr. DECKER. I think, from my perspective, it would be good if we could make a commitment to move forward with the project. I am very certain, if we could make that commitment that, in fact, we would get very significant participation by a number of other countries, certainly beyond the six that we have already talked to. We have had informal indications that there are a number of other countries, smaller countries, maybe contributing smaller amounts, but nonetheless adding up to significant contributions.
Senator McCLURE. I understand that, yet I am not at all certain in my own mind, at least for myself, I am very comfortable with the notion that either we will get that participation and, therefore, we can depend upon it, and we are not really committing all of the funds in the United States for it 100 percent.
In the past, I have seen some foreign participation in which they got a lot more than they invested. They have a tendency to want to invest just enough to have full access to all of the benefits, without actually making a proportionate investment in the cost.
I am not at all certain that I want to go down that road again, and I would want the administration and our foreign friends to understand that at least one Member of the Senate is going to want to demand that they make a proportionate investment or they are not going to participate.
There are two different kinds of questions that we have to ask ourselves with respect to foreign participation.
Senator JOHNSTON. There is another more basic question as I see it. Why not let them build it and let the United States participate, which is really quite a serious question, because the benefits are benefits for all mankind, they are a little bit hard to quantify for the United States alone, especially at this price tag.
Let's talk about the magnetic fusion. Do you have a total price for the new Tokamak?
MAGNETIC FUSION PROGRAM
Dr. DECKER. Yes; our current estimate is $426 million for the total estimated cost of the project.
Senator JOHNSTON. $426 million?
Dr. DECKER. The total project cost, including all of the diagnostics, R&D necessary to complete construction, and other related operating costs, as well as the construction costs, is $556.5 million. The $705 million includes preparation for operation in 1995 and the 1996 operating costs. Operation is estimated to begin in January 1996.
Senator JOHNSTON. How many other generations would there be between this machine and one that would really produce electricity?
Dr. DECKER. The Compact Ignition Tokamak that is proposed would get at the one very important remaining physics question in fusion, and that is the physics of an ignited plasma. Beyond that, to establish a firm
engineering basis for fusion, there needs to be a device that, in fact, is aimed at engineering and fusion technologies. We see one device beyond this Compact Ignition Tokamak that would be required to do that.
I think once the engineering test reactor, as it is being called, is built and operated, then you would have built the science and the engineering information to decide whether or not to proceed with commercial fusion reactors.
Senator JOHNSTON. Doctor, I used to ask the question, some years ago, on this. It seems to me that we were talking about commercialization, if you had it, would be 2030, or around that time, or 2040.
Is that still valid?
Dr. DECKER. I would think, given where we are today, that we could not complete this engineering test reactor before the year 2005, or so. It would probably be realistically 20 years beyond that to commercialize fusion as an energy source.
Senator JOHNSTON. You would need a commercial test reactor before you went to replications in the market.
Dr. DECKER. Yes.
Senator JOHNSTON. I also used to ask what would be the use of fusion, whether it would be as an electricity generation or maybe as a breeder. Do you know enough yet to be able to say what you think the use would be?
Dr. DECKER. Both of those are certainly possible. I think you will get varying opinions on that in talking with different people in the field. My guess would be that it would be electricity production.
Senator JOHNSTON. One final question on the greenhouse effect; I guess that would be for Mr. Gibbs.
Tell me about research and your theories on the greenhouse effect at this point?
Dr. DECKER. Well, certainly there is no doubt that the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has gone up by about 25 percent over the last 185 years. Most of the people who do global climate modeling would tell you that that will lead to some sort of a temperature increase. I think there is a lot of uncertainty as to when and how much.
Senator JOHNSTON. Has it already led to that increase?
Dr. DECKER. I don't believe that there is any evidence of that that is really supportable. You will find some varying opinions on that.
Senator JOHNSTON. There are those who say that it has already increased the global temperature, that some of the weather eccentricities that we see are caused by that.
Dr. DECKER. There are a lot of weather eccentrities, as you call them; whether any of them can be pinned dowa to CO2 or any other specific cause, at this point, I think it is very tough.
Senator JOHNSTON. What more can we do? Invent more powerful computers?
Dr. DECKER. Certainly, the computer modeling is an important part of it. There are right now significant variations among the different climate models. There are really a lot of differences when it comes to predicting changes in regional climate, whether there will be an increase or a decrease in precipitation, for example, which is, of course, critically important, especially if you are in a farm region.
SUPER COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY
Senator JOHNSTON. Do you know anything, by the way about the new computer at Sandia?
Dr. DECKER. Yes, sir.
Dr. DECKER. I know a little bit about it. One of the most promising ways to improve the performance of computers is to use a number of processors working on the same problem.
This has been the subject of research for some time. The question is, let's say that you have a 10-processor system, can you solve a given problem 10 times as fast as if you only had 1 processor working on the problem.
Senator JOHNSTON. From reading about the program, I couldn't tell whether it was sort of a breakthrough in programming so that they could, by the program, break the problem down into component parts, or whether it was a breakthrough in hardware.
Dr. DECKER. I am not sure of the details either, Senator. I suspect that it is a breakthrough in decomposing the problem so that it can be solved on 1,000 processors. That is the real key here, that research has been done using processors that may be up to 10, 20, 30 processors, and people have been able to achieve these significant speed ups by a factor of 20 or 30.
The question is, if you went to 1,000 or higher numbers, could you continue to get these speedups?
Senator JOHNSTON. It is probably mainly a computer program that did that.
Dr. DECKER. I am sure that that is the case.
CONFINEMENT PHYSICS RESEARCH FACILITY
Senator DOMENICI. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I will submit a couple of questions in writing to you, but I just wanted to clear up a couple of things.
For the Magnetic Fusion Program, in particular the confinement physics research facility at Los Alamos, the budget submission indicates that $52.5 million is the total estimated cost for the construction of that project, which is very urgently needed.
As I understand it, and you can tell me if I am correct or not, that project cannot be built for $52.5 million. That estimate is included because OMB has continually assumed that there would be $20 million or so provided by the private sector, which has not occurred. Consequently, the actual cost of the project is $72 million; is that correct?
Dr. DECKER. Yes, sir; that is basically what has happened. It is an important project for the fusion program. We have it under review at the present time. We will come forward with a new data sheet, one which has a scope of the project and a cost that are compatible.
Senator DOMENICI. When will you have that done?
HUMAN GENOME INITIATIVE
Senator DOMENICI. Thank you.
With reference to the genome initiative as I understand it, the Department of Energy is a partner with the National Institutes of Health and is moving ahead rather substantially with the genome mapping and sequencing initiative.
Is there any controversy with reference to the request in the President's budget for additional monies for DOE to accelerate the mapping technology work which is being done at Los Alamos?
Dr. DECKER. I haven't run into any controversy yet.
Senator DOMENICI. There are two aspects to the budget request-increased funding for DOE and increased funding for NIH?
Dr. DECKER. That is correct.
Senator DOMENICI. Both are needed, as you understand it, to move ahead with a goal oriented project?
Dr. DECKER. Yes, they are. We are working very closely with NIH. In fact, I just recently suggested to Jim Wyngaarden, the Director of NIH, that we set up a joint advisory committee for this program. He has agreed and we are in the process of doing that.
Senator DOMENICI. Do I read in that that there is now a commitment to proceed with some kind of advisory group between the two agencies and others interested in genome mapping initiative?
Dr. DECKER. Yes, sir.
Senator DOMENICI. Have you had an opportunity to review the Chiles bill, S. 1966, that would set up the advisory commission on genome mapping and sequencing headed by DOE and NIH on a rotating basis?
Dr. DECKER. I can't say that I have reviewed it in detail. I am aware of that provision.
Senator DOMENICI. So what you are telling us is, even without a statute creating it, it is the intention of the Department to create something similar to that commission to manage the genome effort being undertaken by various federal agencies?
Dr. DECKER. Yes, sir; that is correct.
Senator DOMENICI. Has there been a commitment with reference to genome mapping beyond what you have described here?