ITER Research Program
Research Needs Workshop Sponsored by DOE FES

Chair: Chuck Greenfield, General Atomics
Co-Chair: Cami Collins, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Click here to view a PDF of the charge.

Purpose of Workshop / Charge

As ITER construction nears completion with more than 70% of the machine complete for First Plasma, it is timely for the U.S. to plan its participation during the subsequent operation phase of this high gain burning plasma experiment. The Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) program within the DOE’s Office of Science is initiating ITER research planning activities to both maximize the return of the U.S. investment in ITER’s construction and operation and to ensure U.S. research priorities on ITER strengthen the domestic program to aim at the development of a fusion pilot plant.

In FY 2022, a Basic Research Needs workshop will be held to engage the U.S. fusion community in the elaboration of a plan describing the formation, organization, and research objectives of a national ITER research team. Workshop participants should adopt a long-term, comprehensive perspective on the U.S. engagement in ITER research by considering: (1) the present period of ITER hardware commissioning activities up to and including first plasma; (2) the period between ITER First Plasma and the end of Pre-Fusion Power Operation-1 (PFPO-1); (3) the PFPO-2 phase; (4) the Fusion Power Operation (FPO) phase, as described in the 2018 ITER Research Plan within the Staged Approach developed by the ITER Organization (IO); and (5) any upgrade program.

This workshop should address issues relating to two major areas:


  • Areas of research that offer the most opportunities for U.S. leadership in ITER and contribute to its success, while bringing back to the U.S. the necessary experience for accelerating the development of a domestic fusion energy source.

  • The essential ITER research products needed to strengthen the domestic program to aim at the development of a fusion pilot plant.

  • Capabilities that need to be strengthened and gaps that need to be bridged in the U.S. fusion program to maximize the success rate of experimental proposals submitted by U.S. researchers during the anticipated highly competitive review process for conducting experiments on ITER.

  • The role of and opportunities for the U.S. fusion community during the commissioning and operational planning for ITER.

  • Areas of facility maintenance where U.S. participation could develop the necessary experience for sustaining fusion systems in a nuclear environment.


  • Organization, structure, and modes of operation for flexible, agile, and impactful exploitation of the ITER facility by U.S. participants.

  • Balance between on-site presence and remote participation as well as coordination between these two modes of operation, and any potential resources that would facilitate cooperation, communication, data exchange, and data analysis.

  • Coordination across FES programs and activities and the ITER research team, including research on domestic facilities, theory and simulation, technology, and international collaborations outside ITER.

  • New opportunities for engagement with the private sector to enable a two-way exchange of scientific research and technological development between ITER and existing U.S. commercial fusion endeavors.

  • Workforce development issues, including transparent mechanisms for broad participation and membership in the ITER research team. Opportunities to conduct ITER research should be guided by the principles of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

In carrying out this study, the committee should take into consideration:

The findings of this workshop will be summarized in a report that should be submitted to FES within a month after the meeting.