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Nuclear fusion is the process by which our Sun generates energy. Because fusion power has the potential to be a clean and safe energy source, researchers are working to understand and improve fusion science and engineering to eventually build fusion power reactors. The leading design for such a reactor is called a tokamak, which is a device that confines fusion fuel and allows reactions to occur and release energy.
The recently released FY 2013 Administration Budget proposal calls to dramatically cut funding for the Alcator C-Mod tokamak located on the MIT campus, one of only three major tokamaks in the US. However, C-Mod remains a vital contributor in the effort to create a fusion power plant. Research conducted on C-Mod is crucial for the design and operation of the next-generation tokamak, called ITER, which is currently under construction in France. Furthermore, C-Mod is one of the primary US training facilities for future fusion scientists. If Alcator C-Mod is shut down in September 2012, the effort to develop fusion energy will suffer. Reductions in trained personnel and scientific progress will severely inhibit the ability of ITER to succeed.
Along with the proposed shutdown of C-Mod are cuts which include the DIII-D tokamak in San Diego (-13%), the NSTX spherical tokamak (-16%), plasma physics theory (-14.4%), the Advanced Design program (-62.9%), and general plasma science (-21.6%), amongst many others. If the budget is allowed to pass, it is anticipated that DIII-D will be forced to lay off 30 staff scientists with PPPL laying off up to 100.
Please sign the petition if you support continuing funding for the Alcator C-Mod tokamak and the other US fusion research facilities. You can visit Fusion Future for more information on why C-Mod is an essential component of fusion energy research. You will also find more information on how you can help. Please consider sending a letter/email to your Congressmen and calling them. This is the most effective way to advocate for C-Mod and the entire US fusion energy program.
Save Alcator C-Mod Team
I’m deeply concerned about the FY 2013 budget currently proposed by President Obama. Specifically, I’m worried about the budget cuts to the fusion energy sciences program. I am particularly troubled by the proposed shut down of the Alcator C-Mod tokamak, located at the MIT campus in Cambridge, MA.
Dr. Stewart Prager, the head of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, our national lab for fusion research, has said in a recent interview, “We have a clear choice before us: The United States can either design and build fusion energy plants or we can buy them from Asia or Europe.” I am very worried by this latter possibility.
If C-Mod is shut down, the US is launched into a downward spiral, and the rest of the domestic fusion program is sure to follow. The overall budget for fusion research must be increased in order for the US to maintain a thriving domestic fusion research program while also credibly participating in ITER.
Please, help restore the budget to the Alcator C-Mod program and to the domestic fusion program, which is part of the Office of Science of the Department of Energy. Support the education of the next generation of scientists, and keep America at the forefront of fusion energy research.