Several of the key comments relevant to fusion are:
Chapter 4: High Energy Density (HED) Plasmas and Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF):
Understanding the dynamics of plasmas in the HED regime addresses fundamental questions in astrophysics and space physics, material science and quantum materials, nuclear physics and atomic physics, and is essential to stockpile stewardship. Major new facilities have had a great impact on the HED field, helping it to flourish over the past decade. HED physics encompasses inertial confinement fusion (ICF), the pursuit of controlled fusion in the laboratory by compressing matter to densities found at the center of stars. We stand at the brink of achieving the milestone of fusion ignition, sharing science, similar challenges, and the potential for societal benefit with magnetic fusion energy. While existing HED facilities will produce further scientific advances over the next decade, planning for successor ICF and HED facilities, both laser- and pulsed-power driven, is beginning.
Chapter 6: Magnetic Confinement Fusion Energy (MFE):
The societal benefit from MFE could be enormous, as fusion energy can provide a carbon-free source of electrical power from an essentially limitless source of fuel and enabling energy independence. Nuclear fusion, the process of fusing lighter elements to create heavier elements and release energy, powers stars. In the laboratory, strong magnetic fields can confine hot plasmas to produce star-like fusion – Magnetic Confinement Fusion Energy (MFE). The past decade has brought MFE to the brink of creating the first burning plasma in the ITER project, scheduled to come online by 2026, and to produce a burning plasma in 2036. A 2019 NASEM study endorsed U.S. participation in ITER as an essential step toward realizing commercial fusion power in the United States, and recommended using that knowledge to develop an economical compact fusion pilot power plant.
A detailed list of findings and recommendations is found in Appendix B.
A curious but perhaps not surprising finding and recommendation in Appendix B, seeing that it comes from the plasma physics community, reads as follows:
Finding: Although the majority of the FES budget is still devoted to supporting fusion science, the present office title does not now accurately reflect its broader mission. The present title may, in fact, impede the ability of FES to collaborate with other offices within DOE and with other federal agencies, including impeding its ability to garner support for non-fusion plasma research.
Finding: The national interest as a whole would be better served by renaming the office to better reflect the broader mission of FES, maximize its ability to collaborate with other agencies and to garner nonfusion plasma support.
Recommendation: Consistent with our recommendations to broaden the impact of plasma science, the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fusion Energy Science (FES) should be renamed to more accurately reflect its broader mission, and so maximize its ability to collaborate with other agencies and to garner nonfusion plasma support. A possible title is Office of Fusion Energy and Plasma Sciences.
The table of contents of the report is as follows:
1 PLASMA SCIENCE: ENABLING TECHNOLOGY, SUSTAINABILITY, SECURITY, AND EXPLORATION
2 THE FOUNDATION OF PLASMA SCIENCE
3 LASER-PLASMA INTERACTIONS: COMPACT PARTICLE ACCELERATORS, NEW OPTICS, AND BRILLIANT X-RAY SOURCES
4 EXTREME STATES OF PLASMAS: HIGH ENERGY DENSITY SYSTEMS
5 LOW-TEMPERATURE PLASMAS: A UNIQUE STATE OF MATTER FOR ADDRESSING SOCIETAL NEEDS
6 MAGNETIC CONFINEMENT FUSION ENERGY: BRINGING STARS TO EARTH
7 THE COSMIC PLASMA FRONTIER
A Statement of Task A-1
B Summary of Findings and Recommendations B-1
C Survey Data Gathering Events C-1
D Committee Member Biographical Information D-1
A pre-publication of the report can be obtained at: https://www.nap.edu/download/25802 or requested from firstname.lastname@example.org