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ITER Statement

Statement on U.S. ITER Funding, Dec 2007

We the elected Officers of the Division of Plasma Physics of the American Physical Society deplore the zeroing of the funding for the International Tokamak Experimental Reactor (ITER) in the 2008 Omnibus spending bill recently passed by Congress.

The goal of the ITER project is the scientific demonstration and investigation of controlled nuclear fusion, the energy source of the stars, for its eventual practical use for electricity generation. The project has the strong support of the national and international scientific community, and of the governments of the six other partners. Through much negotiation a site for the facility and the responsibilities of the partners have been agreed.

Just a year ago the United States made the formal commitment to participate in this project. The international entity to carry out the project was legally constituted in October. Major scientific and technical collaborations of the scale of ITER require stable efforts by the partners over multiple years to achieve their mission. Earlier US leadership in the design of ITER represents substantial past investment in this undertaking. Zeroing ITER's US budget in fiscal 2008 is completely inconsistent with our commitment, and will undermine the credibility of the US as a reliable international scientific partner in this and every other large-scale project.

The failure of the Omnibus bill to fund appropriately this and other research and education programs authorized in the bipartisan America COMPETES Act will damage US competitiveness in key science and engineering areas, especially energy, and discourage American youth from pursuing these fields. This is not the right course for our nation.

We therefore urge Congress and the Administration to reconsider the 2008 science funding, and to restore funding to the US ITER program to carry out our commitment to this strategic mission in fusion research.