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Letter to Secretary of Energy Recommending Resumption of Participation in International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) Project

Jan 28, 2003
Letterhead for the Committee on Science
January 28, 2003

The Honorable Spencer Abraham
US Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20585

Dear Mr. Secretary:

We are writing to express our support for U.S. participation in one of the most important endeavors being undertaken by the international energy sciences community - the ITER project.  Since the 1998 U.S. withdrawal from ITER, the project has been substantially redesigned, its costs have been greatly reduced and a strong consensus has developed in the scientific community in favor of U.S. participation.  The November 20, 2002 letter to Dr. Orbach from the NRC Burning Plasma Assessment Committee also supported this participation, but specified: "any US involvement should at a minimum guarantee
  • Access to all data from ITER,
  • the right to propose and carry out experiments, and
  • a role in producing the high-technology components of the facility, consistent with the size of the U.S. contribution to the program."
At the next ITER meeting in February, the roles of the participants will be set.  Our failure to attend this meeting would jeopardize our ability to participate fully in the project and severely disadvantage our fusion energy program.  In light of such factors, it is clearly time for the Department of Energy to take the necessary steps to reenter the ITER negotiations and to prepare for a renewed partnership in ITER....

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108th Congress