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aintain a broad
The essence of the program strategy is to maintain a broad domestic research and development program with emphasis on
establishing the basic elements (components or subsystems) of the
science and engineering technology required for fusion. Given the revised program goal, a great emphasis will be placed on creativity and innovation to enhance the economic and environmental attractiveness of fusion as an energy source, which will be assessed in comparison with other potential energy
The focus on the practical energy goal of the program will be
provided by fusion system studies. Technology transfer will be
pursued by seeking industrial and utility participation in these
system studies, as well as in appropriate research and development activities. To make best use of United States
scientific strength in the area of fusion plasma research, a
number of magnetic confinement systems, which offer promise of
superior reactor performance, will be investigated. However,
recognizing constraints on available resources, this investigation will emphasize increasing scientific understanding of the unique features of the most promising concepts, rather than attempting to develop each as a separate reactor system. To achieve a complete scientific base, we will address the scientific issues of fusion in depth through the generation and study of high temperature plasmas in facilities of appropriate size and scope, including a burning plasma experiment. In the latter experiment, the lowest cost magnetic confinement system that can meet the scientific objective will be sought. This approach is intended to provide the broadest understanding at minimum cost and is most appropriate for the present stage of fusion development.
Over the last decade, a significant investment in equipment and facilities has been made and a core group of skilled scientists
and engineers has been trained. With this investment in place,
excellent and sustained progress is being made. We have reached a point now where there is general agreement that the remaining technical problems can be solved. The new generation of tokamaks has produced temperatures of one hundred million degrees and average energy confinement times of nine-tenths of a second. The experimental campaign to achieve energy breakeven conditions has just begun in the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) at Princeton University. It appears that 1986 will mark the achievement of a goal sought for nearly 40 years. The general scientific progress
of the last decade has also advanced the performance and future
prospect of several other magnetic confinement systems. Several
toroidal systems have achieved a state of scientific maturity
such that they appear capable of exceeding the power density
necessary to be a competitive economic power system.
on the technology side, a reactor-scale tritium fueling system is operating at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The International Large coil Project at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is beginning operation to demonstrate reactor-scale superconducting magnets. Radio-frequency heating modules at reactor power levels and pellet fueling systems have been developed and applied to our largest experiments. The feasibility of materials which are long lived in a fusion environment has been established for two classes of alloys. Initial work on the development of second generation low activation materials shows good promise.
while unresolved scientific and technological problems remain,
the key achievements that were targeted by the program in the
planning of the mid-1970's have or are being realized. However,
it is almost axiomatic that achievement of the technical goals of a ten-year program plan requires the revision of future program
goals to fit new externalities.
FY 1987 BUDGET REQUEST
The FY 1987 budget request for Magnetic Fusion Energy is $333.0
The request includes $307.5 million for Operating
Expenses, $17.3 million for Capital Equipment, and $8.2 million
strategy, the FY 1987 budget request was developed with two major
factors in mind.
The first is a need to maintain a balance
between our domestic science and technology program and those
abroad, in order to allow effective international collaboration to supplement our domestic activities. The second is the need to
support those experimental investigations that are appropriate in
order to maintain progress. Facilities that are large enough to explore high temperature regimes of plasma physics are required,
as well as a number of smaller facilities for investigating key
problems or scientific issues that can be addressed at more modest plasma temperatures.
The FY 1987 budget request has been developed to take advantage
of the technical position that already has been established in
fusion research. It will allow a continuation of cost effective
progress toward the development of fusion power as a future
energy option and positions the program to support the President's Geneva initiative on international cooperation in
The request of $333.0 million represents the level of resources
required to maintain an effective program.
In order to maintain
progress at this level of funding, the program has been narrowed
to pursue only toroidal confinement systems.
In addition, we
have identified the highest priority tasks, improved the cost
effectiveness of facility operations, and increased the use of
international collaboration. The program has been focused to address the four remaining key technical issues--namely, the development of magnetic confinement systems, understanding of scientific principles of a burning plasma, the development of materials for fusion applications, and the development of fusion nuclear technology.
The FY 1987 budget request of $333.0 million will maintain some
effort in each of the four key technical issues. At this level
the FY 1986 initiatives needed to implement the revised program
plan continue while other program elements are delayed or
deferred. In the Applied Plasma Physics subprogram, a core base of research is maintained. The two major device fabrication projects that were initiated in FY 1986, the reversed field pinch
experiment and a compact toroid experiment will be continued.
the Confinement Systems subprogram, TFTR will attempt to reach breakeven conditions in deuterium plasmas and preparations will continue for limited D-T operation in 1989. As part of the US/Japan cooperation program, Doublet III will explore beta limits with shaped plasmas. Collaboration abroad, especially on European tokamaks, will continue. collaboration on these tokamaks allows the U.S. to gain valuable information while avoiding duplication. Studies to support expanded collaboration with the Soviets will begin. In the advanced toroidal area, the PBX at PPPL and the ATF at ORNL will begin operation. In the tandem mirror area, the TMX-U and TARA experimental programs will be completed. The MFTF-B will be mothballed. In the Development and Technology subprogram, design studies on an experiment to study the physics of ignition will be continued. Facility design and development of ion cyclotron radio-frequency heating components will be emphasized. The six coil test in the International Fusion Superconducting Magnet Test Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will be completed. The ongoing materials program will be maintained at a minimum level to support international collaboration in this area, and small-scale laboratory tests of critical blanket issues will be carried out.
The budget request for. FY 1987 reflects a significant shift in
the program balance.
The near-term scientific and technological
output of the program will be emphasized while continuing to
pursue the long-range goal of developing fusion at a pace
consistent with our national energy needs. The near-term program
achievements also will continue to include the production of well
trained scientists and engineers and contribution of advanced
technology developments for industrial and defense applications.
The Magnetic Fusion Energy budget is organized into five interrelated functional areas that form the basis of a unified and balanced effort to conduct the research and development necessary to define a practical fusion product. The Confinement Systems and the Applied Plasma Physics subprograms, working in
conjunction, provide the physics base for the Magnetic Fusion
Energy program. In the near-term, the achievement of plasmas with the characteristics required to produce fusion energy flow from the experiments conducted in the confinement Systems subprogram, with its focus on toroidal confinement systems.
The Applied Plasma Physics (APP) subprogram develops plasma
physics theories and models to predict and explain the
experimental and theoretical investigations of basic physics
problems related to confinement concepts and develops diagnostic
instruments for use by the Confinement Systems subprogram.