United States Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, the U.S. House Democratic Leader, visited the Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) on Oct. 31 to learn about MIT’s fusion experiment, Alcator C-Mod. The C-Mod tokamak has gained the interest of many members of Congress in the past several years as a result of fusion’s potential as a source of practically limitless source of clean energy.
Pelosi was welcomed by PSFC Director Prof. Miklos Porkolab, Alcator C-Mod Project Head Dr. Earl Marmar, PSFC Associate Director Dr. Martin Greenwald, and NSE Assistant Prof. Anne White. Also present were MIT Co-Director for the Office of Government and Community Relations Paul Parravano, and Vice President for Research Prof. Maria Zuber. The visit was arranged by MIT alumnus Reiner Beeuwkes '67, who also attended. C-Mod research and technical staff, as well as students, were at their stations in the control room during her visit.
Talking with staff and graduate students, Pelosi spent more than an hour learning about C-Mod’s decades-long research into understanding the physics of hot magnetically confined fusion plasmas, its potential for the future as the fuel for clean fusion energy, its meaning to the lives of those who have worked on it, and the most recent funding issues. The experiment is currently in “warm shutdown” status, with staff prepared to restart the experiment should funding became available based on Congressional action on the fiscal year 2014 budgets.