The Impact of International Cooperation in DOE's Magnetic Confinement Fusion Program

RCED-84-74: Published: Feb 17, 1984. Publicly Released: Feb 17, 1984.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed issues relating to international cooperation in fusion energy development as part of its review of fusion energy.

GAO noted that the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Fusion Energy directs the fusion research and development program on which over $3.5 billion has been spent since fiscal year 1950. GAO found that DOE policy on international cooperation is to participate in those scientific and technical programs which benefit the United States. DOE coordinates with the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Department of State to ensure that the projects are in conformance with the administration's energy research policy and are politically and diplomatically acceptable. Fusion scientists and program officials participate in activities with other countries which are conducting major fusion research and development programs. It is the opinion of fusion scientists that the United States is the world leader in fusion energy research and that this position is not adversely affected by international cooperation. American industry's role in international fusion cooperative projects is limited by cost and risk factors. The private sector is generally involved in only constructing facilities and fabricating components for DOE, in contrast to other countries where industry plays a more active role.

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