The United States is spending $124 million for the ITER fusion reactor in Cadarache, France, and roughly $279 million on domestic research programs this year.
Physicist John Holdren, who began his career in fusion, is calling for more. At yesterday's energy forum at MIT, Representative Edward Markey (D–MA) asked the Obama science adviser to say "what you believe is possible technologically if we get the policies right in terms of solving this problem." After mentioning the merits of a number of climate/energy technologies, Holdren replied:
"We need to develop and deploy approaches to nuclear energy that can minimize the liabilities that have inhibited expansion of that carbon-free energy source up until now. We need to see if we can make fusion work. This is a quest in which I've been engaged since 1965. Again, I started [my work at MIT] in that domain. At that time, people thought fusion was 15 years away. Now people think it's 40 or 50 years away. We need to shrink that time scale again by increasing the investment for making that domain."