Community Input to Academies Fusion Study
May 31, 2017
The National Academies is accepting community input to their study (see first paragraph below).
In preparing input, it is best to tie comments to the Statement of Task below.
A Strategic Plan for U.S. Burning Plasma Research
Call for Community Input
Community input is critical in developing a long-term strategy to
support U.S. efforts in fusion energy. What are (i) the scientific and
engineering challenges and opportunities associated with advancing
magnetic confinement fusion as an energy source and (ii) the critical
elements of a long-term strategy for the U.S. burning plasma science and
technology research program? We invite you to share your thoughts. To
upload comments or documents for the committee, please fill out our
community input form.
Statement of Task:
A committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and
Medicine will be formed to study the state and potential of magnetic
confinement-based fusion research in the United States and provide
guidance on a long-term strategy for the field. The study will focus on
research that supports understanding the magnetically confined burning
plasma state but will take a broad view beyond plasma confinement
science, and as such consider capabilities such as simulation and
materials. Specifically, the committee will prepare an interim report
The committee will also prepare a final report, building on the interim report, which will:
- Describe and assess the current status of U.S. research that
supports burning plasma science, including current and planned
participation in international activities, and describe international
research activities broadly.
- Assess the importance of U.S. burning plasma research to the
development of fusion energy as well as to plasma science and other
science and engineering disciplines.
In doing the above, the committee will consider the priorities for the
next ten years developed by the community and FES that were recently
reported to Congress. The committee will also consider the current level
of participation by U.S. scientists in international activities as well
as what role international collaboration should play over the next 20
years. The committee will also consider the health of the domestic
fusion research sectors (universities, national laboratories, and
industry). Elements of any strategic plan for U.S. burning plasma
research should ensure that the United States maintains a leadership
role in this field. The committee may assume that economical fusion
energy within the next several decades is a U.S. strategic interest. The
committee may take into account how unanticipated events or innovations
may necessitate mid-course re-directions. The committee will use the
prior work of the Academies as well as that of FESAC and the domestic
and foreign communities in its deliberations. The committee is not to
compare fusion as an energy source against other current or potential
energy sources. The committee will consider the budget implications of
its guidance but will not make recommendations about the budget for
burning plasma research itself. The committee will only consider
magnetically confined burning plasma research as within its purview. The
committee may make recommendations or offer comments on organizational
structure and program balance, with accompanying supporting discussion
of the evidentiary bases, as appropriate.
- Consider the scientific and engineering challenges and
opportunities associated with advancing magnetic confinement fusion as
an energy source, including the scientific and technical developments
since the 2004 NAS study on burning plasma research.
- In two separate scenarios in which, after 2018, (1) the United
States is a partner in ITER, and (2) the United States is not a partner
in ITER: provide guidance on a long-term strategic plan (covering the
next several decades) for a national program of burning plasma science
and technology research which includes supporting capabilities and which
may include participation in international activities, given the U.S.
strategic interest in realizing economical fusion energy in the long