Open Letter on Fusion

Sep 23, 2013 | Funding, Government, International Collaboration

Open letter on fusion

We, the undersigned scientists, urge that the United States, the European Union and Japan fund a much broader fusion energy research effort, expanding the program to include a large number of promising devices and fusion fuels in order to maximize the chances of getting economical fusion power as soon as possible.

The present international fusion effort is focused almost exclusively on a single device, the tokamak, and a single version of that device, the ITER experiment. We believe that near-exclusive focus is a mistake. We do not yet know if ITER will lead to an economical fusion generator. We do not yet know which of the many fusion devices now being researched will work, which will be fastest to achieve or which will produce the most economical energy. So a focus on a single experiment is not the surest and fastest way to fusion power.

There are now many fusion devices, both other approaches to tokamaks, and entirely different devices, funded primarily by private companies, universities or other governments, that have produced very promising results. All of them are either cheaper or faster to develop than ITER, or promise more economical power generation, or both.  In addition, there are fusion fuels other than the deuterium-tritium fuel to be used in ITER. Aneutronic fuels, such as hydrogen-boron, which produce no neutrons, could potentially produce energy cheaper than any existing energy source and have other advantages in safety and materials. In some ways these fuels are more challenging, but we do not yet know if they or DT fuels are the fastest overall route to commercial generators.

The benefits of achieving practical fusion power generation are immense. Such an energy source would eliminate the threat of climate change as well as the many environmental drawbacks of other energy sources. Fusion power could ultimately save trillions of dollars in energy and environmental costs. By contrast, an increase of fusion research funding to include alternative devices and fuels would cost only an additional $300 million per year—30 cents per year per person. This is a tiny amount of money considering the benefits.

We therefore strongly urge the US Congress and the European and Japanese parliaments to immediately hold hearings on the direction of the international  fusion program, looking at the wisdom of a much broader-based program. Such hearings could be the first step to legislation allocating an additional at least $300 million per year to research on alternative fusion approaches, devices and fuels.

To sign this letter, please send your name and institutional affiliation to us at with a note saying you want to sign this letter (with “sign fusion petition” as the subject). When we have 100 signatures from scientists, we will seek to publish this letter prominently. If you are not a scientist and want to sign, please send us a note, too. We will have a separate list of non-scientist supporters.

Scientist Signers (institutions for identification only) :


Eric Lerner, Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, Inc. (USA)

Pavel Kubes, Czech Technical University Prague

Alireza Talebitaher, National Technical University Singapore

Alain Bernard, French Atomic Commission (ret.)

Igor Garkusha, Kharkov Institute of Physics and Technology

Helmut Schmidt, University of Stuttgart, (ret.)

Marek Sadowski, Institute of Plasma Physics and Laser Microfusion (Poland)

Pawel Nadvowski, Institute of Plasma Physics and Laser Microfusion (Poland)

Alexander Blagoev, Sofia University

Wlodzimier Stepniewski, Institute of Plasma Physics and Laser Microfusion (Poland)

Ryazawd Miklaszewska, Institute of Plasma Physics and Laser Microfusion (Poland)

Vyaeheslav Krayz, Kurchatov Institute, Moscow

Ondres Sila, Czech Technical University

Jiri Kortanek, Czech Technical University

Jakub Cikhardt, Czech Technical University

Balzhima Batobolotova, Czech Technical University

Karel Kolacek, Czech Institute of Plasma Physics

Tomas Lindén, Helsinki Institute of Physics

Ron Balsys, School of Engineering & Technology, Central Queensland University

Maurizio Samuelli, Italian National. Agency for New Technology

Hamid Reza Yousefi, I.Azad University (Iran)

Takayuki Haruki, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, University of Toyama (Japan)

Robert Steinhaus , Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (USA,Retired)

Brendan McNamara, UKAEA Culham

Timothy E. Eastman, Plasmas International (USA)

Andrew Dodson, University of Arkansas(USA)

Luiz Fernando Loureiro Legey, Energy Planning, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

Michael R. Himes, Nano Spire, Inc (USA)

James Robinson, Centre for Fusion Space and Astrophysics, University of Warwick (UK)

Timothy R Klein, TAK Industries (USA)

Gregory Benford, University of California-Irvine (USA)

Jay Kesner, MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center (USA)

George H. Miley, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL (USA)

Javier Lopez, Pulsotron SL (USA)

Toon Weyens, Unversidad Carlos III de Madrid

Carol Crom, E-Systems (USA, retired)

Emil Ruskov, University of California-Irvine (USA)

Xiaochao Zheng, University of Virginia(USA)

Vahid Damideh, Plasma Physics Research Center (Iran)

Syed Hassan, Purdue University (USA)

Salim Hassani, CDTA (Algeria)

Chin Oi Hoong, University of Malaya

Heman Bhuyan, PUC ( Chile)

Ali E. Abdou, Zewail City(Egypt)

R.S. Rawat, NIE, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)

Alexey Goncharov, Institute of Physics NAS of Ukraine

Leonard Garcia, Wyle Information Systems (USA)

Dieter Bilitza, George Mason University (USA)

Kirk Borne, George Mason University (USA)

Lou Mayo, ARIES Scientific (USA)

Manfred Philipp, City University of New York

Sergei V. Ryzhkov, Bauman Moscow State Technical University

Alexander Oreshko, Moscow Aviation Institute

Andrew Stan Podgorski, ASR Technologies





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