U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Massachusetts State Senator Katherine Clark of Melrose paid separate visits on May 6 to the Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) to tour the Alcator C-Mod tokamak, MIT's fusion project.
Hosted by PSFC Director Miklos Porkolab, Alcator Project Head Earl Marmar, Associate Director Martin Greenwald and Assistant Professor Anne White (Nuclear Science and Engineering), the senators viewed the C-Mod control room and tokamak.
Since the Department of Energy last year announced plans to shut down MIT's National Fusion Research Facility, the Alcator C-Mod has received steady interest from members of Congress and other public officials, including former Senator John Kerry and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick. ITER, the International Tokamak Experimental Reactor being built in Cadarache, France, would potentially also be impacted. ITER's costs have increased steadily over the years, eating into the domestic fusion program, while the total funding for fusion has been held nearly constant due to the continuing resolution and sequestration.