Washington, D.C. – The Energy Subcommittee today held a hearing to examine progress in fusion energy sciences as well as a status update on the ITER project, a long-term multi-nation collaboration to prove the feasibility of fusion as an energy source. 

Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber (R-Texas): “Fusion energy science is groundbreaking because researchers are working towards a goal that seems beyond reach – to create a star on earth, contain it, and control it to the point that we can convert the immense heat into electricity. Fusion clearly is high risk, high reward research and development. It is important that this Committee continues to scrutinize the progress of ITER to ensure that it remains a good investment of tax payer dollars.”

The ITER project is a major scientific collaboration between the European Union, Japan, South Korea, China, India, the Russian Federation, and the United States to design, build, and operate what will be the world’s largest tokamak reactor.

The potential benefits to society from a net-power fusion reactor are beyond calculation, yet fusion energy science remains one the most challenging areas of experimental physics. The Department of Energy (DOE) supports fusion research primarily through its Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) program within the Office of Science. FES funding has declined in recent years.

Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas): “Unfortunately, the president has not provided the leadership that is necessary and has repeatedly cut funding for fusion science. Despite the president’s promises to support clean energy R&D, his lack of support for fusion energy is more than disappointing. Fusion energy is the type of technology that could someday change the way we think about energy. To maintain our competitive advantage, we must continue to support the basic research that will lead to next generation energy technologies.”

For more information on the hearing, including witness testimony and the archived webcast, please visit the Committee’s website.