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WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a plan to provide $4.2 million to support research by U.S. scientists at two major fusion energy facilities located in Germany and Japan.  The two fusion facilities—known as “stellarators”—represent a promising alternative approach to fusion energy research, as compared with the “tokamak” fusion reactor design that dominates magnetic fusion research in the United States and around the world.

“One of the historical strengths of fusion energy research has been its highly international character,” said Dr. Chris Fall, Director of DOE’s Office of Science.  “This initiative will provide a very cost-effective means for U.S. scientists to take advantage of research opportunities abroad that would not be available on domestic fusion facilities here in the United States.”

The two facilities—Wendelstein 7-X in Germany and the Large Helical Device in Japan—are respectively the largest and second largest superconducting stellarator facilities in the world.  As compared with tokamaks, stellarators have the particular advantage of providing comparatively steady-state, disruption-free reactor operations with minimal requirements for continual energy inputs to sustain the fusion plasma reaction.

Universities, nonprofits, and private sector companies are eligible to submit applications.  Funding is to be awarded competitively, on the basis of peer review, and is expected to be in the form of three-year grants ranging from $50,000 to $700,000 per year, beginning in the current fiscal year.  Total planned funding will be $4.2 million over three years, with funding contingent on congressional appropriations.

Fusion energy research seeks to harness the energy that powers the sun and stars as an abundant and clean source of power on earth. 

The DOE Funding Opportunity Announcement, issued by the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) within DOE’s Office of Science and titled “Collaborative Research in Magnetic Fusion Energy Sciences on Long-Pulse International Stellarator Facilities,” is to be found on the FES funding opportunities page.