Fusion in the Energy Policy Act.


House-Senate Conferees approved the text of the U. S. Energy Policy Act of 2005 on July 27 and the House of Representatives passed the bill on July 28. The Senate is passed the bill on July 29 and the President signed it into law.

Included in the Act is a section on The Fusion Energy Sciences Program. The Act states, "It shall be the policy of the United States to conduct research, development, demonstration, and commercial applications to provide for the scientific, engineering, and commercial infrastructure necessary to ensure that the United States is competitive with other countries in providing fusion energy for its own needs and the needs of other countries, including by demonstrating electric power or hydrogen production for the United States energy grid using fusion energy at the earliest date."

The Act calls upon the Secretary of Energy to submit a plan within 180 days that ensures, among other things, that "existing fusion research facilities are more fully used" and that "inertial confinement fusion facilities are used to the extent practicable for the purpose of inertial fusion energy research and development," and that "attractive alternative inertial and magnetic fusion energy approaches are more fully explored."

The Act authorizes the Secretary of Energy to "negotiate an agreement for United States participation in ITER" but specifies that "no federal funds shall be expended for the construction of ITER until the Secretary has submitted to Congress ... a report describing how United States participation in the 1TER will be funded without reducing funding for other programs in the Office of Science (including other fusion programs), and 60 days have elapsed since that submission."

The Act says that "fusion science, technology, theory, advanced computation, modeling, and simulation" should be strengthened and that "new magnetic and inertial fusion research and development facilities (should be) selected based on scientific innovation and cost effectiveness, and the potential of the facilities to advance the goal of practical fusion energy at the earliest date practicable." It says the "facilities that are selected (should be) funded at a cost-effective rate."

The Act specifies that the Secretary of Energy should ensure that "communication of scientific...

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