Category Archives: ITER

Alexander responds to ITER report

alexandersummitU.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, in a statement released by his office Thursday, responded to the Department of Energy’s report that recommends continued U.S. participation in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. Alexander and Sen. Dianne Feinstein reportedly met with Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on Wednesday to discuss the report’s findings and recommendations.

While he didn’t declare absolute opposition to ITER, Alexander noted there are other big science projects — including a second Target Station at the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory — that should be given priority over ITER. The Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, which Alexander authored, contains no money for U.S. involvement in ITER for FY 2017. There is still a chance that money for ITER could be included during Senate and House conference on the energy and water appropriations.

Here’s the Alexander statement: Continue reading

Moniz recommends U.S. stick with ITER

iterusEnergy Secretary Ernest Moniz today released an assessment report of the U.S. participation in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, and he recommends that the U.S. continue its role in the project has struggled with schedules and costs. Moniz cited recent improvements on several fronts at the project, which is under construction at Cadarache, France, but also acknowledged the ongoing issues that must be addressed and reevaluated a couple of years down the road.

The U.S. involvement in ITER is based at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Continue reading

Senate passes Energy & Water Appropriations Bill

The Senate earlier today passed the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bill for FY 2017, which would provide a big boost in funding for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science and would provide $575 million for continued development of the Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., a primary architect of the bill, said in a statement: Continue reading

Sauthoff: U.S. ITER team ‘quite confident’

sauthoffEnergy Secretary Ernest Moniz reportedly requested and received more time to prepare his department’s status report on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor and make recommendations for U.S. involvement in the project’s future. That report is now to be delivered to congressional appropriators on May 12.

Funding for the U.S. participation in the international project has been a topic of controversy, especially in the Senate. The initial markup of the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill in the Senate zeroed out funding for the project in FY 2017, and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said he was anxious to hear from Moniz before pushing forward on a new path. Continue reading

The ITER decision

iterusMay 2 may be a pivotal date for the fusion energy community in the United States.

That’s when the Department of Energy is supposed to provide key appropriators with a report about the status of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor — the biggest fusion project ever — and make a recommendation on whether the United States should remain a partner in the international endeavor.

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who chairs the Senate Appropriations energy and water subcommittee, earlier this week said he was anxious to hear from Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz . That was after his subcommittee approved a version of the 2017 energy and water appropriations bill that eliminated funding for the U.S. work on ITER. Continue reading

Will the U.S. pull out of ITER? Alexander says he’s waiting to hear from Moniz

monizap.jpgAfter marking up the FY 2017 energy and water appropriations bill,  U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., fielded questions from reporters in a Wednesday afternoon telephone hookup.

I asked Alexander about the decision to eliminate funding for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, which he said would save about $125 million in 2017, and whether he favored the United States pulling out as a partner in the huge international fusion project. The other partners are China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea and Russia.

Alexander demurred and said he was waiting on a report from Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. Continue reading

Subcommittee removes ITER funding

iterblogThe  Senate Appropriations energy and water subcommittee, chaired by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., today approved a $37.5 billion appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2017. Among other things, it would eliminate funding for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, a huge fusion project that’s being built at Cadarache, France. The U.S. effort on the international project is based at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Continue reading

ORNL’s Mason talks about the FY 2017 budget request

mason-thumb-300x313-13696.jpgA big emphasis in Department of Energy’s proposed FY 2017 budget is the so-called Mission Innovation, which is an agreement between the United States and 19 other countries to double research on clean energy over the next five years.

If this multibillion-dollar initiative moves forward — and meets with the approval of Congress — Oak Ridge National Laboratory could be a beneficiary of added funding for research programs that are already an Oak Ridge strength.

ORNL Director Thom Mason expressed enthusiasm for the programs but also noted there is obvious uncertainty about whether an administration priority will become a priority with Congress and survive some budget constraints already in place.

“This starts the process and what wins out could be different,” Mason said. Continue reading

Noted briefly: A grab bag of news

bowlFriends of Oak Ridge National Laboratory is urging folks to volunteer their services for the Tennessee Science Bowl, Feb. 26-27. Check out the bowl website if you’re interested. That’s last year’s winners from Lausanne Collegiate School in the pic. . . .

The Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General reported that it had completed an audit on DOE’s Consolidated Balance Sheet for FY 2015, but the report itself hasn’t been released. “The report is Official Use Only and not available for viewing,” the IG stated. Continue reading

Mason: ITER funding is biggest uncertainty

IMG_4819ORNL Director Thom Mason has a sip of coffee before welcoming visitors at Thursday’s Workshop on Molten Salt Reactor Technologies.

I talked a couple of times Thursday with Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason about current and future issues, and he said the biggest uncertainty in Fiscal Year 2016 may be funding for U.S. involvement in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor — which is based at ORNL. Continue reading

Senate bill has zero funds for ITER; Alexander says money could be better used elsewhere

iterblogU.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Senate Appropriations energy and water subcommittee, said there is an effort each year to try to control costs by eliminating at least one low-priority program “to reduce waste and conduct proper oversight.”

This time around the target is U.S. funding for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (which is being built in France). Continue reading

Japan’s Tada named deputy-director general at ITER

Eisuke Tada of Japan has been named to one of two deputy director-general positions at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) organization. Tada has been involved in the big fusion project for nearly two decades. The other deputy position is expected to be named in the near future, according to the project news release.

The U.S. work on the international project is based at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.