A Department of Energy internal review committee has concluded that the US share of ITER, the international project to build a fusion test reactor in Cadarache, France, could cost as much as $6.5 billion—$2.6 billion more than is estimated by DOE’s ITER project office. At the insistence of congressional appropriators who requested the figures, the Obama administration is now reviewing ongoing US participation in ITER. A possible shift in policy would be included in the department’s fiscal year 2015 budget request, the release of which reportedly has been delayed by at least one month from the first Monday in February date set by statute.

The US contribution to ITER consists mainly of components for the giant tokamak. A small fraction, though, would be in cash to pay for the US share of assembly costs and central office administration. Originally expected to cost €5 billion ($6.8 billion), ITER currently has no...

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