Federal Cuts to Force Closure of Fusion Project at MIT

A long-running research experiment at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that explores nuclear fusion as a possible source of energy will close after a series of cuts in its federal financing, resulting in layoffs for 70 employees unless Congress moves to avert the shutdown. The closure will leave two fusion experiments in the United States. The U.S. Department of Energy is increasing its support of fusion research, though money is being shifted to an international project, known as ITER, that is being built in France. Another fusion-energy experiment, at Princeton University, was terminated in 2008.

Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research, said the loss of the program will hurt the country’s position in a critical field — one that won’t be producing energy in the short term, but could be critical in helping to diversify energy production over the next two decades.The European project is “terribly behind schedule and egregiously over budget, and they’re being rewarded,” Zuber said.“I think as a country, we need to be worried about the risk of losing our preeminence in this area and our technical expertise.”Already, one faculty member is planning to leave for a job in Europe.

Read more at:

Return to Top