Congress and the Fusion Energy Sciences Program: A Historical Analysis

The U.S. government has been funding research into controlled thermonuclear fusion since 1951. Since 1957, when the program was declassified, a public record is available in the form of appropriations and authorization reports presenting congressional decisions about fusion research. This report analyzes that record in order to assess how the program may fare in the future. The program recently underwent a major restructuring at the direction of Congress, and is currently establishing plans about how to proceed toward the goal of developing a practical fusion powerplant. These plans are likely to be the subject of close congressional scrutiny during review of the FY2001 budget request from the Department of Energy