The MIT Tech – Opinion: EDITORIAL: Continue funding C-Mod
23 March 2012
The Alcator C-Mod fusion reactor is one of the largest experiments at MIT. It plays a vital role in the scientific community at the Institute, and in the broader nuclear science community. But its future is in jeopardy — the White House’s 2013 federal budget proposes cutting all of the $18 million devoted to Alcator, shuttering the project. The Tech believes that C-Mod’s funding should not be cut and urges Congress to rethink the Department of Energy’s recommendation.
Why should the U.S. fund fusion research at MIT? As Derek Sutherland argued in a March 2 column, C-Mod is a critical component of a bigger research effort to harness fusion energy. For a mere $18 million, our government can continue to drive progress towards what might be, someday, an abundant, safe, and clean energy source. And the C-Mod experiment itself yields data useful to ITER — an international effort to build a more advanced fusion reactor in France. Indeed, the funding for C-Mod will be redirected to ITER under the DoE’s proposal — if the U.S. believes participation in ITER is important, it should still continue to fund domestic fusion research (especially when the two efforts are mutually beneficial).
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