On February 10, the President submitted his budget request to Congress. The Fusion Industry Association (FIA) is disappointed that the budget proposes drastic cuts in funding that would support the growth of the fusion industry.
It would slash basic research for fusion energy sciences, dropping research funding by 37%, to $425 million from the $671 million that Congress approved last fall. As of now, we don’t know the breakdown of how that is proposed to be spent, but we do know that the international ITER project is funded from within that total. We do not know if there are funds in there for INFUSE or any proposals to create new public private partnerships.
The Advanced Research Project Agency - Energy (APRA-E) is hit by even deeper cuts. Not only does the budget call for closing the agency, it calls to rescind $332,000,000 in unspent, but already obligated funds. Such a drastic cut would harm FIA member companies doing path-breaking research in proving a pathway forward for commercial fusion power.
Fortunately, we've seen this movie before. Although the President has proposed drastic cuts in funding for research and development in fusion, bipartisan majorities in Congress have approved budgets for the last three years that have increased funding to fusion and funding to ARPA-E. Congress has demonstrated that America can lead in scientific research - the FIA and its member companies will be working over the coming months to educate Congress about the importance of American support to fusion.
Fusion energy research is simply too important for budgetary games. It should be a priority. With focus and direction, we know that fusion energy research could be accelerated. FIA member companies are moving at an aggressive, but doable, timeline for research and development.
Find the details on the DoE’s “Budget in Brief” document, see it 84-page document here. In terms of funding for FES, see table at page 47. ARPA-E is on page 75. This post will be updated as budgets become available.