As part of the activities authorized under section 7139 of this title and section 16312 of this title, the Director shall carry out a fusion energy sciences research and enabling technology development program to effectively address the scientific and engineering challenges to building a cost competitive fusion power plant and to support the development of a competitive fusion power industry in the United States. As part of this program, the Director shall carry out research activities to expand the fundamental understandings of plasma and matter at very high temperatures and densities for fusion applications and for other engineering and plasma science applications.
The Director shall support research and development activities and facility operations to optimize the tokamak approach to fusion energy.
The Director shall carry out a program of research and technology development in inertial fusion for energy applications, including ion beam, laser, and pulsed power fusion systems.
Out of funds authorized to be appropriated under subsection (q),1 there are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out the activities described in this subsection $25,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2021 through 2027.
The Director shall support research and development activities and facility operations at institutions of higher education, National Laboratories, and private facilities in the United States for a portfolio of alternative and enabling fusion energy concepts that may provide solutions to significant challenges to the establishment of a commercial magnetic fusion power plant, prioritized based on the ability of the United States to play a leadership role in the international fusion research community.
The Secretary, acting through the Office of Science, shall support a program to provide fusion energy researchers with access to scientific and technical resources and expertise at facilities supported by the Department, including such facilities at National Laboratories and universities, to advance innovative fusion energy technologies toward commercial application.
Out of funds authorized to be appropriated under subsection (q),1 there are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary to carry out the activities described in this subsection $50,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2021 through 2027.
Not later than 2 years after September 28, 2018, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report on the fusion energy research and development activities that the Department proposes to carry out over the 10-year period following the date of the report under not fewer than 3 realistic budget scenarios, including a scenario based on 3-percent annual growth in the non-ITER portion of the budget for fusion energy research and development activities.
In order to develop the report required under paragraph (1)(A), the Secretary shall leverage best practices and lessons learned from the process used to develop the most recent report of the Particle Physics Project Prioritization Panel of the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel.
Using the authority of the Secretary under section 7256(g) of this title, notwithstanding paragraph (10) of such section, the Secretary shall establish, not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this section, a milestone-based fusion energy development program that requires projects to meet particular technical milestones before a participant is awarded funds by the Department.
The purpose of the program established by paragraph (1) shall be to support the development of a U.S.-based fusion power industry through the research and development of technologies that will enable the construction of new full-scale fusion systems capable of demonstrating significant improvements in the performance of such systems, as defined by the Secretary, within 10 years of the enactment of this section.
Any entity is eligible to participate in the program provided that the Secretary has deemed it as having the necessary resources and expertise.
Any project proposal submitted to the program under paragraph (1) shall be evaluated based upon its scientific, technical, and business merits through a peer-review process, which shall include reviewers with appropriate expertise from the private sector, the investment community, and experts in the science and engineering of fusion and plasma physics.
In carrying out projects under this program and assessing the completion of their milestones in accordance with paragraph (4), the Secretary shall consult with experts that represent diverse perspectives and professional experiences, including those from the private sector, to ensure a complete and thorough review.
As part of the annual budget request submitted for each fiscal year, the Secretary shall provide the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources a report describing partnerships supported by the program established under paragraph (1) during the previous fiscal year.
The Director shall support research in general plasma science and high energy density physics that advance the understanding of the scientific community of fundamental properties and complex behavior of matter to control and manipulate plasmas for a broad range of applications, including support for research relevant to advancements in chip manufacturing and microelectronics.
It is the sense of Congress that the United States should support a robust, diverse program in addition to providing sufficient support to, at a minimum, meet its commitments to ITER and maintain the schedule of the project as determined by the Secretary in coordination with the ITER Organization at the time of the enactment of this section. It is further the sense of Congress that developing the scientific basis for fusion, providing research results key to the success of ITER, and training the next generation of fusion scientists are of critical importance to the United States and should in no way be diminished by participation of the United States in the ITER project.
Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary shall transmit to Congress a report addressing opportunities for coordinating fusion energy research and development activities between the Office of Nuclear Energy, the Office of Science, and the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy.
In carrying out the program under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall, in coordination with the Innovation Network for Fusion Energy, establish and operate a national High-Performance Computing for Fusion Innovation Center (referred to in this paragraph as the “Center”), to support the program under paragraph (1) by providing, to the extent practicable, a centralized entity for multidisciplinary, collaborative, fusion energy research and development through high-performance computing and advanced data analytics technologies and processes.
The Secretary shall select the Center on a competitive, merit-reviewed basis.
The Center may incorporate existing research activities that are consistent with the program under paragraph (1).
The Center shall prioritize activities that utilize expertise and infrastructure from a balance among the private sector, institutions of higher education, and the National Laboratories to enhance existing computation tools and develop new computational software and capabilities to accelerate the commercial application of fusion energy systems.
Subject to subparagraph (G), the Center shall receive support for a period of not more than 5 years, subject to the availability of appropriations.
On the expiration of the period of support of the Center under subparagraph (F), the Secretary may renew support for the Center, on a merit-reviewed basis, for a period of not more than 5 years.
The Secretary shall construct a Material Plasma Exposure Experiment facility as described in the 2020 publication approved by the Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee entitled “Powering the Future: Fusion and Plasmas”. The Secretary shall consult with the private sector, institutions of higher education, National Laboratories, and relevant Federal agencies to ensure that the facility is capable of meeting Federal research needs for steady state, high-heat-flux, and plasma-material interaction testing of fusion materials over a range of fusion energy relevant parameters.
The Secretary shall, subject to the availability of appropriations, ensure that the start of full operations of the facility described in paragraph (1) occurs before December 31, 2027.
The Secretary shall provide for the upgrade to the Matter in Extreme Conditions endstation at the Linac Coherent Light Source as described in the 2020 publication approved by the Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee entitled “Powering the Future: Fusion and Plasmas”. The Secretary shall consult with the private sector, institutions of higher education, National Laboratories, and relevant Federal agencies to ensure that this facility is capable of meeting Federal research needs for understanding physical and chemical changes to plasmas at fundamental timescales, and explore new regimes of dense material physics, astrophysics, planetary physics, and short-pulse laser-plasma interactions.
The Secretary shall, subject to the availability of appropriations, ensure that the start of full operations of the facility described in paragraph (1) occurs before December 31, 2028.