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Fusion issue of "Europhysics News"

16 Dec 2016

Europhysics News has produced a special issue on nuclear fusion and plasma physics (Volume 47/No 5-6, September-December 2016).

The issue describes the state of fusion research in Europe, how ITER fits into the long-terms goals,and plans for the demonstration reactor after ITER (DEMO).

Highlights include contributions by the head ITER Organization's Science & Operations Department, David Campbell; EUROfusion's Tonny Donné;L.D. Horton from the JET tokamak; and Thomas Klinger from the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator program.

The full issue is available for download on the Europhysics News website.

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Excellence in Fusion Engineering Award

16 Dec 2016

Stefan Gerhardt (left), principal research physicist and head of experimental operations on the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U) at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) in the US, has won the Fusion Power Associates 2016 Excellence in Fusion Engineering Award.

The honour, given by directors of the research and educational foundation, recognizes "persons in the relatively early part of their careers who have shown both technical accomplishment and potential to become exceptionally influential leaders in the fusion field." The award was presented on 13 December at the 37thannual meeting of the Fusion Power Associates.

The group's board of directors cited Gerhardt's "many scientific contributions," including his "recent work on predicting plasma disruptions, which will provide major benefit to ITER and other major fusion experiments, and the leadership you provided and are providing."

Read the full announcement on the PPPL website.

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Rehearsing for the big performance at JET

12 Dec 2016

Even the greatest performers need rehearsals ... and JET is no exception. Scientists and engineers at the world's largest operating tokamak have been preparing for JET's next starring role — a run of tests using the high-power fuel mixture of deuterium and tritium (D-T).

The deuterium-tritium combination is the one that will be used to gain maximum fusion output in ITER and in the first fusion power stations that will follow it. JET is the only present-day fusion machine that can use tritium and therefore has a vital role in preparing for ITER operations.

As a radioactive substance, and one that is in short supply, tritium is not used very often at JET. Most research is carried out with deuterium only (the last operations with tritium were in 2003). However new campaigns of both T-T and D-T experiments are planned in 2018 and 2019 to give the best simulation yet of how fusion plasmas will perform in ITER.

The D-T rehearsal at JET during this summer and autumn aimed to simulate the operating environment for the tritium campaigns. With 13 years since the last tritium experiments, many of the systems and the people working on them have changed. The rehearsal was an ideal opportunity to test procedures for using tritium, train staff and iron out any flaws ahead of the real thing.

See video interviews on the rehearsal experience at CCFE (Culham Centre for Fusion Energy).

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FOM to tame the flame

12 Dec 2016

The FOM Institute DIFFER, in the Netherlands, is starting a large research programto investigate one of the most fundamental difficulties in designing the fusion reactors of the future—how to protect the solid vessel from the intense heat and neutron bombardment of the reaction, especially in the divertor region which "exhausts" the plasma.

The research program "Taming the Flame" is supported by strategic funding from Foundation FOM (Fundamental research On Matter).

Nine new researchers (seven PhD positions and two postdoc positions) will be recruited to work in an integrated approach together with DIFFER's existing scientific staff.

"In a fusion power plant, even a sturdy metal wall with a high melting point will not be able to resist the plasma," says DIFFER's head of fusion research Marco de Baar. "In our research program, we want to already start managing the heat load inside the plasma, and bring the energy to the wall in a controlled way." The research will focus on controlling and diluting the plasma before it reaches the wall, and on the novel concept of a self-repairing exhaust wall, with a liquid metal layer flowing over and protecting the solid reactor wall.

A key experiment in the program is DIFFER's linear plasma generator Magnum-PSI, the only laboratory facility in the world capable of examining materials exposed to the intense plasma conditions at the walls of future fusion reactors. In addition, the team will test their research at existing fusion experiments in Germany, Switzerland and the UK.

Read the full press release on the DIFFER website.

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Basem*nt tanks on order for Tritium Plant

05 Dec 2016

The European Domestic Agency for ITER has awarded a contract to Equipos Nucleares SA (ENSA, Spain) for the supply of two holding tanks and two feeding tanks for ITER's water detritiation system. When manufactured and installedin the basem*nt of the Tritium Plant, they will join six othertanks, also supplied by Europe, that were installed earlier in the year.

The water detritiation system at ITER will remove tritium from process water during plant operation and recycle it as fuel.

See the news here.

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Walking through JET's vacuum vessel

05 Dec 2016

For the first time in twenty years, a tokamak will experiment with nuclear plasmas. Ian Chapman, the recently appointed UKAEA Chief Executive confirmed in a Newsline interviewthat "JET will be operating with tritium again in 2018, and then operating with a deuterium-tritium mix in 2019."

This video takes you into the innards of the European machine, which is presently the largest in the world.

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WEST in starting monoblocks

28 Nov 2016

After four years of non-stopwork, the French tokamak Tore Supra has nowbecome WEST,the tungsten (W) Environment Steady-state Tokamak. Equipped with an actively cooled tungsten divertor and additional power, experiments at WEST will provide precious data on operation in a tungsten environment in advance of ITER operation.

Considerable modification to the machine's internal elements has been carried out. New components have all been installed in the vacuum vessel (divertor coil windings, protection panels, antennas, diagnostics, tungsten plasma-facing components) and the chamber has now been closed for final commissioning before plasma operation.

The transformation mobilized more than one hundred people: staff from the Institute for Magnetic Fusion Research (CEA-IRFM) and also WEST partners, in particular Chinese and Indian on-site collaborators.

Following the upcoming divertor coil impregnation and integrated commissioning, WEST will embarkon its scientific life focused on the preparation of ITER divertor operation.

Photo © Christophe Roux-CEA

More on this story in theNovember issue of theWEST Newsletter.

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Well-earned pause in activity for the JET tokamak

28 Nov 2016

The 2015-2016 experimental campaign at the JET tokamak, Europe's flagship device, came to an end on 15 November with nearly all goals met, according to a recent article published on the EUROfusion website.

Highlights includedrehearsing the procedures for future tritium-tritium and deuterium-tritium experiments; running a hydrogen campaign during which physicists learned about the dependence of plasma parameters on the mass of the hydrogen fuel used; and the high-power deuterium campaign.

This success means that JET is right on track for thetritium-tritium and deuterium-tritium experiments planned for upcoming campaigns, which are expected to provide important results for the operation of ITER.

JET will restart operations in 2017.

Read the full article on the EUROfusion website.

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Quadrillions of calculations per second for fusion

21 Nov 2016

The Radiation Transport Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has won a prestigious award through the US DOE Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program for radiation shielding model for ITER.

The project, titled "Safe fusion energy: predictively modeling ITER radiation shielding," has been awarded80 million computer processor hourson the Titan Cray XK7, the most powerful supercomputer in the US for open science.

INCITEawards are given annuallyto projects that represent "the biggest challenges in science and engineering today, and can't be done anywhere else."

InvestigatorsSeth Johnson, Thomas Evans, and Stephen Wilson propose a radical solution for accurately modelling ITER's shielding design at an unprecedented level of detail and scale.

Read more about the INCITE program and the 2016 winners here.

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First deliveries for centralized piping procurement

14 Nov 2016

Less than one year ago, last December, the ITER Organization signed a large supply contract with W. Schulz GmbH in Germany for the procurement of piping materials. The scope covers up to 65 km (1,800 tonnes) of pipes and 43,000 units (250 tonnes) of fittings.

The first shipment of pipes and fittings under this contract was delivered late October to the ITER worksite. It was the inaugural delivery of a broad ITER Organization-Domestic Agency program for the centralized procurement of piping materialsfor the component (CCWS), chilled (CHWS), and tokamak cooling water systems, expected to play out over five years.

Thirty-three tonnes of material were delivered, including 450 metres of stainless steel seamless pipes and 350 stainless steel fittings such as tees, elbows and reducers. The material will be stored in ITER's largest warehouse on site until needed for installation.

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Plasma movement at 100,000 frames per second

14 Nov 2016

Some of the most detailed images ever of a hot plasma inside a tokamak have been captured at MAST, the spherical tokamak device at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) in the UK.

At 100,000 frames per second, the movies from the MAST device give a vivid illustration of how tokamaks keep fusion fuel trapped in a magnetic cage, with particles moving around magnetic field lines and resembling a large spinning ball of wool.

If only it were that simple; in reality, a magnetically-confined plasma is a highly complex system, and predicting how it behaves is key to making nuclear fusion a viable energy source. In particular, knowing how the hot fuel affects the cold walls of the machine is integral to ensuring that future reactors survive.

Turbulence in the magnetic field throws out wispy bunches of particles—known as filaments—from the plasma in a seemingly random fashion, ejecting fuel which touches the surfaces of the tokamak. Researchers are now working to unravel meaning within this randomness to understand this complex interaction with the machine walls, and videos such as these can give them pointers to what is happening.

Nick Walkden of CCFE's Theory & Modelling Department, who produced the videos, explains: "We believe that filaments are a vital part of the 'exhaust process' within a tokamak—how particles are expelled from the plasma. Seeing the MAST plasma at this unprecedented level of detail enables us to image individual filaments and measure their size, velocity and position within the plasma. It tells us a lot about their physics so we can find out how to predict their motion and, in future experiments, possibly learn to control them."

Read the full article at CCFE.

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Rich Hawryluk will chair the editorial board of "Nuclear Fusion"

14 Nov 2016

Physicist Richard Hawryluk ofthe Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has been namedchair of the board of editors of Nuclear Fusion.

Current head of the ITER and Tokamaks Department at PPPL and former Deputy Director-General of Administration at ITER, Hawryluk has been a member of the editorial board at Nuclear Fusion since 2009. In his new role as chair he will provide policy oversight and support to the journal's editor.

From 1991 to 1997 he headed the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) project,the only magnetic confinement fusion experiment in the US to have operated on a high-power mix of deuterium and tritium. He was also deputy director of PPPL lab from 1997 to 2009, before taking over the running of the ITER and Tokamaks Department.

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Members of the European Parliament at ITER

07 Nov 2016

Europe is responsible for the largest portion of ITER construction costs (45.6 percent); the remainder is shared equally by China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the US (9.1 percent each).

On 24 October, six Members of the Industry, Research and Energy Committee of the European Parliament spent the day at ITER, meeting the ITER Director-General, visiting the design offices and the construction site, and exchanging with staff and contractors from the European agency for ITER, Fusion for Energy on project progress and upcoming milestones.

Read the full article on the European Domestic Agency website.

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NSTX-U spherical tokamak: first results

07 Nov 2016

Following a four-year upgrade to double the magnetic field strength, plasma current and heating power capability of the NSTX spherical tokamak, located at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in the US, researchers reported on the first ten-week operational campaign at the recent IAEA Fusion Energy Conference in Kyoto, Japan.

Important results included increased pulse duration and maximum magnetic field strength; achievement of the optimum H-mode regime; success in reducing plasma instabilities through a second neutral beam injector; and commissioning all magnetic diagnostics.

Read the full report at PPPL.

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In memoriam: physicist Paul Vandenplas

02 Nov 2016

Professor Paul Vandenplas, emeritus professor of the Royal Military Academy in Brussels, Belgium and longtime proponent of nuclear fusion, has passed away at age 84.

In the course of his illustrious career he was director of the association "EURATOM-Belgian State" for controlled nuclear fusion; acted in the role ofpresident of theEURATOM Fusion programme committee and vice-president of its advisory committee; served on the governing board of the JET tokamak; and played a role in the site negotiations for the ITER Project. He was also the director/founder of the Laboaratory for Plasma Physics ERM/KMS

In 2014 he was honoured for his contributions to fusion research with the Minerva Prize (Förderverein Museum Jülich e.V.). Professor Vandenplas was also Grand officer of the Order of the Crown, Officer and Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold II, and Knight.

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Australian Parliament: on Australia and ITER

26 Oct 2016

One month ago, on 30 September, the ITER Organization signed a technical Cooperation Agreement with Australia, as represented by the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO). ANSTO CEO Adi Paterson had the opportunity to report on the Agreement to the Australian Parliament on 20 October. See the official recording here (Senate Economics Legislation Committee, 15:07:00).

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Newsletter launched by Dutch research institute DIFFER

25 Oct 2016

At the Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER)research focuses on two major energy themes: fusion energy, and the conversion and storage of sustainable energy in solar fuels. In this first issue of the DIFFER newsletter EXPLORE,launched in October, read all about the differentexperiments underway.

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October flyover by drone

24 Oct 2016

The European Domestic Agency has published a short flyover of the ITER worksite that was filmed in early October.

Click here to see the latest progress on the Tokamak Complex and the work that is advancingon the ITER Cryoplant Building, the cooling tower area, and the Magnet Power Conversion Building area.

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Fusion Energy Conference opens in Kyoto

17 Oct 2016

The 26th IAEA Fusion Energy Conferencekicked off today in Kyoto, Japan.

The biennial rendezvous for fusion researchers from over 40 countries, the conference aimsto highlight worldwide advances in fusion theory, experimental results, technology, engineering, safety and socio-economics.

ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot spoke on the first day, presenting the progress in ITER construction, manufacturing and R&D to an audience of scientists, engineers, policy makers, and representatives of industry.

Over 1,000 visitors are expected during the six-day event, hosted this year by the Government of Japan and organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency in cooperation with the Japanese National Institute for Fusion Science (NIFS).

At the ITER stand, visitors will have the occasion to experience a virtual reality tour of the ITER construction site (Oculus Rift) and admire a Lego tokamak designed and built by students from Kyoto University.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano (here with ITER's Julie Marcillat) was one of the first visitors to the ITER stand on Monday 17 October.

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Gleaming beamlines for MAST Upgrade

17 Oct 2016

The Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak (MAST) facility at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) in the UK is undergoing a major upgrade that, once completed, will allow it to add to the knowledge base for ITER and experiment with candidate technological solutions for future fusion power reactors.

The upgrade will permit longer pulse lengths, improved neutral beam heating, and new features to improve plasma profile control and the study of plasma instabilities.

Recently, progress on the largest sub-system—neutral beam heating—was made as the internal components were installed into two neutral beam injector vacuum vessels. The team is now on schedule to have both beamlines finished by the end of the year.

More information here: CCFE

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Mockup deck tests successfully at high voltage lab

14 Oct 2016

At a specialized laboratory in Germany, electrical tests have been successfully performed on a 1/15th scale mockup of the high voltage deck planned for MITICA, the ITER-sized neutral beam injector that will be tested in advance of installation on ITER at the PRIMA neutral beam test facility inItaly.

Positioned on four large gas-insulated columns at six metres above the floor, the 4 x 4 x 4 metre mockup was subjected to high voltage testing in order to validate the design choices of the European Domestic Agency supplier SIEMENS AG.

In a 24-hour period, the mockup passed one long-duration test (5 hours at 1.2 million volts DC) and several short-duration tests (impulses of 50 micro-seconds at 2.1 million volts). The tests were designed to verify that the deck will sustain the different voltage levels that are expected during MITICA operation.

Read more about the high voltage tests on the European Domestic Agency website. For more on PRIMA, click here.

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Neutrons for DEMO

10 Oct 2016

Anew acronym is making its way into the fusion landscape: DONES, for DEMO Oriented Neutron Source.

In Europe, a roadmap* for the realization of fusion energy was published in 2012 that breaks down the quest to supply fusion electricity to the grid into eight missions. One of these is to investigate and select neutron-resistant materials for DEMO, the demonstration fusion reactor that—according to the European strategy—is the step between ITER and a commercial fusion power plant.

More powerful than ITER and connected to the grid, DEMO will require materials capable of withstanding a stronger flux of neutrons for longer periods.

Currently three R&D projects carried out with the framework of a scientific collaboration between Europe and Japan (the Broader Approach) are contributing to the design of DEMO. The engineering design and validation activities for the International Fusion Materials Irradiation Facility (IFMIF/EVEDA) are evolving successfully. But when its operation will come to an end, DONES, a future version of IFMIF, will take over and help the scientific community to perform tests and start collecting data.

Designed to mimic the conditions of neutron irradiation in DEMO, DONES would allow scientists to test materials and characterize candidate fusion materials.

Three European countries—Croatia, Poland and Spain—have expressed interest in hosting the facility. In September, the European Domestic Agency for ITER, which acts as a coordinator for the European activities of the Broader Approach, invited representatives from all three to a technical information session in Barcelona to explain the scope of DONES, outline preliminary technical specifications, and discuss the different steps leading to the submission of applications.

Read the full article on the European Domestic Agency website.

*The "Roadmap to the realisation of fusion energy" was published by EFDA (the European Fusion Development Agreement, superseded in 2014 by EUROfusion).

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Timelapse of coil manufacturing activities on site

10 Oct 2016

In the Poloidal Field Coil Winding Facility, on site at ITER,fabricationof a qualification mockup of poloidal field coil #5 (17 metres in diameter)began in September.

Click here to view a timelapse video produced by the European Domestic Agency for ITER. More information on the manufacturing processhere.

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The making of poloidal field coil #1

03 Oct 2016

At the Srednenevsky shipyard, on the Neva River near Saint Petersburg (Russia), manufacturing work is underway on ITER'spoloidal field coil, #1 (PF1).

Click here to view the different stages of fabrication of this 200-tonne component, the smallest of ITER's six ring-shaped magnets.(ITER Russia)

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ITER Japan makes book donation

03 Oct 2016

The Japanese Domestic Agency has delivered a large number of books and teaching materials to the Japanese section of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur International School (EIPACA), which caters to the families of ITER staff as well as to the regional population.

This is the third book donation made by ITER Japan to the Japanese language section and its pupils since the school opened in 2007. The school currently hosts six language sections (Chinese, English, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish), where teaching is divided between the host language (French) and the language of the section.

The books were presented in a ceremony on 30 September by the head of the ITER Japan Liaison Office, Katsumi Nakajima, to school director Bernard Fronsacq.

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Learn plasma physics, on line

03 Oct 2016

For the third year in a row, the Swiss Plasma Center is offering a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on plasma physics.

The popular class is divided into two parts--the basics of plasma physics, followed by applications of plasma physics(including fusion).Students can follow the segment sequentially, at their own pace, or begin with the more advanced course.

The class, which begins on 13 October, is given in English by plasma physicists from the Swiss Plasma Center.

More information here.

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Princeton lab director steps down

26 Sep 2016

Prof. Stewart Prager, a world-renowned plasma physicist and passionate voice for a future of clean, abundant and benign energy fueled by fusion, has stepped downfrom the directorship of the national laboratory he has headed for the last eight years. [...]

Prager, the sixth director in the 65-year history of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), joined the lab in the fall of 2008 after a long career at the University of Wisconsin. A pioneer in plasma physics, he is internationally known for experiments that contribute to the fundamental knowledge of fusion energy and the design of devices that will produce it.

Read the full article on the PPPL website.

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Last shipment for the cryostat base

26 Sep 2016

The last shipment of cryostat base segments (three segments/120 tonnes each) left Hazira, India on 2 September. Prior to being shipped, on 16 August, a flag-off ceremony was held at the Larsen & Toubro Ltd plant, where the cryostat segments are being manufactured. With this shipment, due to reach France after a month-long sea journey, India has completed shipment of all major pieces of the cryostat base(tier-1 and tier-2). Welding operations for Tier1 of the cryostat base have already begun on the ITER site.

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A computing powerhouse turns on in Italy

19 Sep 2016

Marconi-Fusion, the new high performance computerfor fusion applications, was inaugurated on 14 September 2016 at the CINECA headquarters in Bologna.

Supercomputing is an important aspect of nuclear fusion research as it plays a crucial role in the modelling of the plasma and materials, validating the experimental results of fusion devices and designing the next-generation fusion machine DEMO. Marconi Fusion should be capable of a total computational power of around 6 petaflop per second, thanks to the modern generation of Intel Xeon processors. A petaflop means 1015 operations per second... a total of a one quadrillion head-spinning calculations simutaneously.

The goal of this system will be to provide a common high performance computing platform for European fusion researchers.

In 2015 EUROfusion's highest decision-making body, the General Assembly, selected the Italian research unitENEAalong with CINECA, the largest Italian computing centre, to develop and run the new system.

The supercomputer was named after Guglielmo Giovanni Marconi, the inventor of wireless communication, who was born in Bologna in 1874.

Source: EUROfusion

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Summer school: diagnostics for ITER and DEMO

19 Sep 2016

From 28 April to 4 May 2017, the Ettore Majorana Foundation inErice, Sicily, willhostthe 16th edition of the International School of Fusion Reactor Technology (ISFRT16).

The course will cover areas of interest to the magnetic fusion confinement (tokamak, stellarators), inertial confinement, and plasma physics scientific communities, with particular focus on developments in diagnostics and technology in view of ITER and the machine that comes after ITER, DEMO.

ISFRT16 is open in particular to students and researchers wishing to enter this new field. Lectures will cover current developments in theory and experiments but are also intended to give the basics of the field. Poster sessions are planned to allow participants to show their work.

Registration ends on 28 February 2017. More information on the conference website.

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Manufacturing milestone in Russia

15 Sep 2016

At the Srednenevsky Shipbuilding Plant in Russia, technicians have completed the winding operations for the first poloidal field double pancake—one of eight double pancakes that will be stacked to form ITER's smallest ring magnet, poloidal field coil 1 (PF1).

During the next stage in the manufacturing process, the completed pancake will be impregnated with epoxy resin. The resin hardens the glass tape that is wrapped around theconductor to bind the double pancake into a rigid assembly. Following the successful manufacturing readiness review for the technique, called vacuum-pressure impregnation,impregnation activities on the first PF1 pancake will begin in October.

ITER's poloidal field coils are fabricated from niobium-titanium superconductor, which becomes superconducting at super-low temperatures.

Of ITER'ssix poloidal field coils,PF1is the firstto proceed to the impregnation stage of the fabricationprocess, which involveswinding and impregnating each double pancake before forming the final assembly.

More on the poloidal field magnets here.

Image: The winding table at the Srednenevsky Shipbuilding Plant.

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Steel to capture the sun

13 Sep 2016

Temperatures of over hundred million degrees centigrade and high energy neutrons and alpha particles that blast everything to shreds. What materials can withstand the harsh conditions in fusion reactors? TU Delft researcher Inês Carvalho set out to discover.

Follow thislink to the article.

Source:Technische Universiteit Delft.

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Crowd comes out for the 2016 ITER Games

12 Sep 2016

On Saturday 10 September, close to 450 participants met near ITER,in Vinon-sur-Verdon, for a number of sporting events designed tocreate and reinforce ties between people working on the ITER Project andneighbours from the surrounding villages. The 2016 edition of the ITER Gamesoffered a broad choice of sporting disciplines for all levels,including football, cross-country running, mountain biking, kayaking, tennis and petanque. The competitions were followed by a bucolic lunch andan afternoon of family activities.

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Massive transformers ready for shipment

12 Sep 2016

The last of three electrical transformers have successfully passed factory acceptance tests in China and are ready for shipment.

China is responsible for procuring ITER's pulsed power electrical network (PPEN), which will feed power to the heating and control systems during plasma pulses.

As part of the procurement package, three massive PPEN transformers (15 metres tall, 460 tonnes when completely fitted out) have been manufactured by supplier Baodin Tianwei. The first of these reached the ITER site in June 2016; now, following the successful completion of factory acceptance tests, the last two are ready for shipment.

--ITER China

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China-Japan-Korea collaboration meeting

05 Sep 2016

For the third year in a row, representatives of the ITER Domestic Agencies of China, Japan and Korea met to report on progress in the procurement and manufacturing of ITER components and exchange on technical issues. Nearly 60 participants were present for the workshop which was held from 27 to 28 July at the Haeundae Grand Hotel in Busan, Korea.

Openings made by representatives from each government were followed by reports on manufacturing progress achieved since the last trilateral meeting, including progress on components for the ITER blanket, the divertor, the test blanket systems, magnets, the vacuum vessel and diagnostics. Focus discussions took place on forward-looking topics such as warranty after delivery, on-site installation work at ITER and the potential for further collaboration.

Participants also visited the Hyundai Heavy Industry workshop (pictured) in Ulsan, Korea, where manufacturing is underway on segments of the ITER vacuum vessel and toroidal field coil structures.

A fourth China-Japan-Korea trilateral workshop is planned next year in China.

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Princeton fusion lab goes EAST

05 Sep 2016

The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has been named principal investigator for a multi-institutional project to study plasma-materials interaction on the EAST tokamak in China. The experiments will be designed to test the ability of lithium to protect the EAST walls from the hot plasma and to prevent impurities from bouncing back into the core of the plasma and halting fusion reactions.

Success could point to a method for optimizing long-running plasmas.

PPPL will use devices called flowing liquid lithium limiters and granule injectors, as well as optimization of coating techniques, to protect the plasma-facing components. PPPL has experience with applying lithium to its National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX), which has recently been upgraded, and at the Lithium Tokamak Experiment (LTX), a small, short-pulse complementary experiment at the laboratory that explores the effect of a liquid-lithium boundary on the plasma.

See the full article on the PPPL website.

--Photo of the interior of EAST vacuum vessel.

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Chirping: not a desirable quality in plasmas

02 Sep 2016

"Chirp, chirp, chirp." The familiar sound of birds is also what researchers call a wave in plasma that breaks from a single note into rapidly changing notes. This behaviour can cause heat in the form of high energy particles—or fast ions—to leak from the core of plasma inside tokamaks.

Physicists want to prevent these waves from chirping because they may cause too many fast ions to escape, cooling the plasma. As the plasma cools, the atomic nuclei in the tokamak are less likely to come together and release energy and the fusion reactions will sputter to a halt.

"Chirping modes can be very harmful because they can steal energy from the fast ions in an extended region of the plasma," said Vinícius Duarte, a graduate student from the University of São Paulo. Duarte is at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) conducting research for his dissertation.

Chirping modes have been studied for decades as physicists seek to understand and eliminate them. In a recent theoretical study, Duarte discovered some conditions within plasma that can make the chirping of modes more likely. A paper he is preparing on this topic explains the phenomenon and may help to optimize the design of fusion energy plants in the future.

See the full article on the PPPL website.

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New books on magnetic fusion energy and plasma physics

30 Aug 2016

Magnetic fusion energy and the plasma physics that underlies it are the topics of ambitious new books by Hutch Neilson, head of the Advanced Projects Department at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (US), and Amitava Bhattacharjee, head of the Theory Department at the Laboratory.

The books describe where research on magnetic fusion energy comes from and where it is going, and provide a basic understanding of the physics of plasma, the fourth state of matter that makes up 99 percent of the visible universe.

The volume Magnetic Fusion Energy: From Experiments to Power Plants, edited by Neilson and published in June, introduces early career researchers to the current body of fusion work and points the way to breakthroughs still to be achieved. Bhattacharjee's book, the second edition of the text Introduction to Plasma Physics co-authored with Donald A. Gurnett of the University of Iowa, keeps pace with the fast- and ever-changing field. New topics in the book, which will be out this fall, range from tearing modes in fusion plasmas to particle acceleration by shocks to the magnetorotational instability in accretion disks that surround celestial bodies.

See the original announcement here.

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Quest Magazine: Here comes the Sun

03 Aug 2016

The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has just released the annual edition of Quest, the laboratory's research magazine. This fourth edition highlights research underway on the recently upgraded spherical tokamak experiment NSTX-U.

Download the summer 2016 edition here.

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Using plasmas to create nanomaterials

18 Jul 2016

Plasma—the hot ionized gas that fuels fusion reactions—can also create super-small particles used in everything from pharmaceuticals to tennis racquets. These nanoparticles, which measure billionths of a metre in size, can revolutionize fields from electronics to energy supply ... but scientists must first determine how best to produce them.

After more than two years of planning and construction, the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has commissioned a major new facility to explore ways to optimize plasma for the production of such particles. The collaborative facility, called the Laboratory for Plasma Nanosynthesis, is nearly three times the size of the original nanolab, which remains in operation, and launches a new era in PPPL research on plasma nanosynthesis. Experiments and simulations that could lead to new methods for creating high-quality nanomaterials at relatively low cost can now proceed at an accelerated pace.

Nanomaterials exhibit remarkable strength, flexibility and electrical conductivity. Carbon nanotubes, found in sporting goods, body armor, transistors and countless other products, are tens of thousands of times thinner than a human hair and stronger than steel on an ounce-for-ounce basis.

Plasma could serve as an ideal substance for synthesizing, or producing, nanomaterial. The new laboratory will study so-called low-temperature plasmas that are tens of thousands degrees hot, compared with fusion plasmas that are hotter than the 15-million-degree core of the sun. These low-temperature plasmas contain atoms and free-floating electrons and atomic nuclei, or ions, that can be shaped by magnetic fields to provide reliable, predictable and low-cost synthesis of tailored nanoparticles.

Read the full article at PPPL.

-- Photo: Elle Starkman/PPPL

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40 kgs of books for the International School

11 Jul 2016

A delegation led by Zhao Jing, deputy head of the Chinese Domestic Agency, delivered some 40 kgs of textbooks and teaching materialsto the Chinese section of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur International School on Friday 8 July.

Since its opening in September 2007, virtually all the children of ITER families and many local pupils of both European and non-European nationalities have attended the International School, which provides a bilingual curriculum.The school's pedagogical structure currently comprises six section languages (Chinese, English, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish), operating on the principle of parity (French language/section language). Furthermore, from the "collège" level (junior high school), the English speakers students can be enrolled in the English section of European teaching, where the courses are taught in English at 80%.

School director Bernard Fronsacq is pictured at centre.

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Call for EUROfusion grants

11 Jul 2016

The call to send in proposals for the next round of EUROfusion Researcher Grants is now out. The deadline is 8 September 2016. Detailed information about eligibility and the selection procedure is available for download here.

A core function of EUROfusion, which manages and funds the European research activities, is to coordinate the training and education activities for European fusion research. The aim is to invest in building a strong fusion community that will not only continue to advance fusion research but also play a vital role in the future when fusion energy is realized. EUROfusion supports PhD and pre-doctoral candidates working on fusion research and has established research and engineering grants to fund the training of fusion engineers and scientists every year.

Two types of grants are offered: EUROfusion Research Grants, which support about ten post-doctoral researcher or equivalent for up to two years; and EUROfusion Engineering Grants, which provide funding for around 20 engineers for a period of three years.

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Beryllium, from laboratory to practice

11 Jul 2016

The advanced technology that will be required in the pursuit of fusion energy will require the use of beryllium and other specialized, high-performance materials.

A few days before the 29th Symposium on Fusion Technology (SOFT 2016)opens in Prague this year, a group of specially chosen experts from the fields of science, technology, politics, economics, and media will gather in Berlin, Germany to discuss beryllium applications at BeYOND (Beryllium Opportunities for New Developments).

More information here.

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On fusion in Europe

04 Jul 2016

The latest edition of Fusion in Europe is now available from EUROfusion, the consortium of 29 research organization and universities from 26 European countries plus Switzerland. Updates on the operational campaigns of three European tokamaks and one stellarator, upgrades underway on fusion devices in the UK and France, news from the world of materials research and high performance computing for fusion ... all this and more can be found in the June issue.

Visit the EUROfusion website here.

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Cryoplant turbines ready

04 Jul 2016

Four turbines produced for ITER's liquid nitrogen (LN2) cryogenic plant have successfully passed factory acceptance testing and will be delivered to ITER this autumn.

One oil brake turbine and one turbine booster will be installed in each of the cold boxes of the LN2 plant, which is under European procurement.

The liquid nitrogen plant and auxiliary systems will cool down, process, store, transfer and recover the cryogenic fluids of the machine. Two nitrogen refrigerators will be delivered along with two 80 K helium loop boxes, warm and cold helium storage tanks, dryers, heaters and the helium purification system.

In spite of the small diameter of the turbines—not exceeding 15 cm—these tiny pieces of equipment will generate enough cooling power to keep the ITER thermal shields extremely cold. It tookAir Liquide contractor Cryostar (France) eight months to complete fabrication.

Image: One turbine booster,fully assembled for factory testing.

See the original article on the European Domestic Agency website.

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First Plasma in Costa Rica

04 Jul 2016

Latin America's first stellarator was officially inaugurated on 29 June 2016.

The small SRC-1 stellarator device was planned and built by the Plasma Laboratory for Fusion Energy and Applications, which belongs to the Costa Rica Institute of Technology (TEC) in Cartago.

The countdown for producing the first plasma was started by a high-ranking government representative from Costa Rica and the TEC President and was witnessed by guests from science and politics. Electronic congratulations had been sent by representatives of international stellarator research from Princeton (US) and IPP at Greifswald (Germany) to mark the advent of the new device.

"Our work is to serve future generations," stated Institute Director Iván Vargas. "If research like this continues to evolve, in the future this technology could be used at a power plant that would take alternative energy to our communities."

The Plasma Laboratory for Fusion Energy and Applications was founded six years ago. It covers the fields of plasma medicine, industrial plasma technology and fusion research. Work hitherto had been concentrated on the small MEDUSA-CR device (Madison Education Small Aspect ratio tokamak), which was taken over from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and on the preparation of the SCR-1 stellarator.

The investment costs for SCR-1 came to USD 500,000. The plasma vessel and modular coils were made in Costa Rica. The small device aims to attain plasma temperatures of 300,000 degrees Celsius. Latin America's first stellarator now joins the ranks of the stellarators in Australia, Germany, Japan, Spain and the USA.

Source: Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik, IPP

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Diagnostic meetings at the Budker Institute

27 Jun 2016

In June, the Budker Institute in Russia was host to two meetings on ITER diagnostics, with at least 70 international specialists attending.

The members of the Diagnostics Topical Group, ITPA (International Tokamak Physics Activity) met for the 30th time to discuss a range of internationally coordinated research areas that are important to the development of ITER and fusion diagnostic systems. Topics included progress on diagnostic mirrors, which must withstand conditions close to the high-temperature plasma; diagnostics for alpha particles; plasma wall reflections; and plasma control. In parallel, a meeting on port integration reunited several Russian organizations that are—like the Budker Institute—involved in the engineering integrationof diagnostics into the ITER port plugs.

In addition to diagnostic engineering, the Budker Institute plays a key part in the development of high-tech electron equipment, research into the investigation of high-temperature plasma on first-wall materials, and the development, manufacturing, and testing of equipment for the ITER machine.

Michal Walsh, head of the Port Plugs & Diagnostics Integration Division at ITER, toured the host facilities in the company of the ITPA members. "Given the technical potential of this research centre and our successful cooperation to date, I look forward to continued cooperation in the future."

-- Alla Skovorodina, Budker Institute

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Huge elements of the cryostat due this week

20 Jun 2016

Three additional ITER cryostatsegmentshave arrivedin the port of Fos-sur-Mer after a one-month voyagefrom India.

The60° segments make up half ofTier 2 of the cryostat base (three other Tier 2 segments are due at a later date).The 120-tonne components have been unloaded in Fos in preparation for their deliveryto the ITER site this week (weather permitting) along the ITER Itinerary.

Each 96-wheel transport trailer will carry a protected load that is just over 14 metres long and six metres wide.

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Of space shuttles and divertors

20 Jun 2016

In a tokamak fusion reactor, the plasma causes intense heating of the divertor, similar to that encountered by a space shuttle when it re-enters the Earth's atmosphere. The belly of the shuttle must be protected by special heat tiles. In the same way, the divertor surface is made of small tungsten tiles that are tilted at a grazing angle with respect to the plasma stream. The edges of the tiles, like the nose and wings of the shuttle, are subject to very intense heat flux...

Read more on the shaping of the plasma-facing components, and many other subjects, in issue #13 of the WEST Newsletter.

At Cadarache (south of France), the Institute for Magnetic Fusion Research (CEA/DSM/IRFM) is modifying the Tore Supra plasma facilityto become a test platform open to all ITER partners. WEST stands for W (tungsten) Environment in Steady-state Tokamak.

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"A slice of the Sun": ITER on BBC Horizons

20 Jun 2016

"The proponents of fusion power have for years been promising us a plentiful and relatively safe form of new energy. Well here, at ITER in France,they are starting to make good on that promise."

So begins the 30-minute documentary film on ITER and fusion that aired this past weekend on BBC Horizons.

Presenter Adam Shaw visits ITER in the south of France as well aslabs around the world (Germany, US and Canada) to learn more about the "tantalizing possibility" of fusion and its chance at transforming the world's relationship with energy.

From outside the UK view the program here(inside the UK, watch here).

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A home for the Sun

13 Jun 2016

With transparent skies and 300 days of sunshine a year, the tiny Alpine village of Saint-Véran (alt: 2,042 metres) offers a unique viewpoint on our own familiar fusion furnace. In the 1970s professional astronomers from the Observatoire de Paris used it to observe the Sun's corona with instruments they eventually donated to the village.

Walking in the scientists' footsteps, the local population soon developed a passion for solar astronomy—an amateur club was created, more instruments were acquired through donations and the municipality soon decided to capitalize on its privileged relationship with the Sun.

La Maison du Soleil was inaugurated on Thursday 9 June in the presence of French Vice-Minister for Higher Education and Research, Thierry Mandon, and of ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot.

Designed for the general public, La Maison du Soleil will organize exhibits, conferences and solar observations. Nuclear fusion and ITER are of course part of the permanent exhibit, with posters, panels ... and even a conductor sample provided by the ITER Magnets Division.

Saint-Véran is located in the heart of the Queyras Regional Park, two-and-a-half hours north of ITER.

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Reference textbook on plasma physics re-edited

13 Jun 2016

The third edition ofIntroduction to Plasma Physics and ControlledFusion by author Francis F. Chen isnow available fromSpringer (follow this link). In addition to updates in all chapters, the2016 releaseincludes new chapters on special plasmas and plasma applications.

Arecent Chinese version of the 1973 edition of the book isalsoavailablehere.

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What spin-offs from fusion research?

10 Jun 2016

While the fusion community continues its quest to harness fusion for energy needs, numerous spin-off benefits are resulting from the research carried out all over the world.

Given its complex, multidisciplinary nature, it should be no surprise that fusion research has driven advances in disciplines ranging from medical technology and environment to astrophysics and material sciences. EUROfusion, the European Consortium for the Development of Fusion Energy, has identified some of these spin-offs and put together a non-exhaustive list that demonstrates the short-term benefits of fusion research on the way to fusion electricity.

Read more about themon the EUROfusionwebsite or downloadan infographic.

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Tiny cameras for remote handling

10 Jun 2016

Two types of cameras will be needed inside of the ITER vacuum vessel to support inspection and maintenance operations—oversight cameras that give engineers a broad view inside the vacuum vessel, and cameras embedded on tooling or robotics for a view inside tightly confined spaces.

The European Domestic Agency for ITER is working with industry to develop purpose-built equipment small enough to fit into tight space constraints and capable of withstanding the harsh conditions close to the plasma.

In a project called FURHIS (for FUsion for Energy Radiation Hard Imaging System), Europe is collaborating with Oxford Technologies (UK) to produce mockups of sub-systems that will soon be tested in a radiation environment. Working with French laboratories ISAE (image sensors), CEA (LED illumination system), and Université Jean Monnet (optic system), a 15 mm mockup—small enough to fit inside a one euro coin—has been developed.

The FURHIS sub-systems will now be tested at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre SCK•CEN.

Read the original story on the European Domestic Agency website.

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Loss of a pioneering plasma physicist

06 Jun 2016

Ronald C. Davidson, a pioneering plasma physicist for 50 years who directed the US Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) during a crucial period of its history and was a founding director of the Plasma Fusion Center at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), passed away on 19 May at his home in Cranbury, New Jersey. He was 74.

"Ron was an anchor for the Laboratory both through his science and through his wisdom," said Stewart Prager, director of PPPL. "His prodigious contributions not just to PPPL's science but also to plasma physics writ large are clear and widely known. Within the Laboratory, he was a mentor and a guide to people young and old. His impact within the Laboratory was enormous."

The physicist won numerous honours in his lifetime, including the prestigious James Clerk Maxwell Prize in Plasma Physics in 2008, the highest national honour in plasma physics. He was a fellow of both the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Davidson was known as a prolific researcher, writer and academic.

Read the full-length obituary on the PPPL website.

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Of cold boxes and presidents

06 Jun 2016

On the last day of her state visit to France, South Korea's President Park Geun-hye stopped in Grenoble, a city in the French Alps where she studied in the mid-1970s after graduating from South Korea's Sogang University.

Nostalgia wasn't the only reason for this last stop, however. The South Korean President wished to visit the Air Liquide plant in Sassenage, where hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are being developed in cooperation with the Korean automaker Hyundai Motor Co.

Also of interest to President Park were the ITER cold boxes that are currently being equipped with internal componentsbefore integration into the ITER cryoplant.

One of the three ITER cold boxes (21 metres long, 4.2 metres in diameter) provided a spectacular background to the presentation of the company's activities by Xavier Vigor, Air Liquide advanced Technologies CEO. Also present were Benoît Potier, Air LiquideChairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Pierre-Etienne Franc, Vice President of Advanced Business & Technologies.

It was the second time the ITER cold boxes were in presidential company: in August 2015 French President Hollande also made a stop at the Air Liquide plant and even signed cryoplant cold box number two ...

--Photo courtesy of Air Liquide

Click here for an article in the Korea Times and here to watch a video on French public TV.

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Simulations support alternative plasma start technique

06 Jun 2016

New computer simulations at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) indicate that an innovate start-up technique for tokamaks, called coaxial helicity injection (CHI), may support a strong electric current without a traditional solenoid magnet.

In tokamaks, a complex web of magnetic fields control the superhot plasma. In addition to large D-shaped magnets surrounding the vacuum vessel, a central electromagnet known as a solenoid participates in creating the twisting vortex that prevents the plasma from touching the tokamak's walls.

Compact spherical tokamaks, like the NSTX-U recently dedicated at PPPL, as well as future tokamaks may not have room for solenoids. During CHI, magnetic field lines, or loops, are inserted into the tokamak's vessel through openings in the vessel floor. The field lines then expand to fill the vessel space, like a balloon inflating with air, until the loops undergo a process known as magnetic reconnection and snap closed. The newly formed closed field lines then induce current in the plasma.

"Can we create and sustain a big enough magnetic bubble in a tokamak to support a strong electric current without a solenoid?" asks Physicist Fatima Ebrahimi, who performed the computer simulations. "The findings indicate that 'yes, we can do it.'"

Read the full article on the PPPL website.

--Image: Physicist Fatima Ebrahimi

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Tokamak upgrade project: moving the MAST vessel

06 Jun 2016

In line witha First Plasma in 2017, the 41-tonne vacuum vessel of the MAST Upgrade project was returned to its concrete-shielded home in late May, where it can now be refitted with its components and systems before commissioning.

The upgraded MAST tokamak will help to add to the knowledge base for ITER by experimenting with key plasma physics issues.

Watch a short video of the milestone on the website of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (UK).

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Calling for nominations: 2016 Fusion Technology Award

30 May 2016

During the next Symposium on Fusion Engineering (SOFE June 2017), Fusion Technology Awards will be presented for the years 2016 and 2017 to individuals who have made outstanding and innovative contributions to research and development in the field of fusion technology.

TheAwards each consist of a USD 3,000 cash prize and a plaque. Any person, regardless of nationality or Society affiliation, is eligible for theaward, with the exception that no current member of the IEEE/NPSS Standing Committee on Fusion Technology may be considered. The nomination package should be sent to IEEE Senior Member Martin Nieto-Perez(, and it should consist of a nomination letter describing the technical and/or leadership contributions on which the nomination is recommended and a resume from the candidate.

The nomination deadlinefor the 2016 Award is15 June 2016.

For more detailed information on eligibility, basis for judging, nomination process and a list of pastAwardrecipients, please visit IEEE_NPSS.organd go to the "Fusion TechnologyAwards" section.

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US in ITER "is in the best interest of the nation"

27 May 2016

In a report to the US Congress released on 26 May, the Department of Energy (DOE) recommends "that the US remain a partner in the ITER project through Fiscal Year 2018," at which time the country's participation in the project will need to be reassessed.

"At this time, our continued participation [...] is in the best interest of the nation," writes Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in the introductory message to the report.

The 17-page report notes that "the management of the ITER Organization and the performance of the project have improved substantially" under Bernard Bigot's leadership. "The project is now being well-run."

However, "the improvements and performance, while promising, still require additional time to determine if they will be sustained and lead to the long-term success of the project."

Despite the accumulated delays "ITER remains the fastest path for the study of burning plasma," concludes the report.

Photo: Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz

Download theDOE report on US participation in ITERhere.

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ITER @ Atoms for the Future

26 May 2016

The ITER Organization will participate in this year's international symposium Atoms for the Future—the annual meeting of students and young professionals from the nuclear field (more information here). ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot will be among the speakers on 27 June 2016, and two days later students will have the possibility to visit the ITER site in southern France.

Registration for Atoms for the Future also gives you access to the World Nuclear Exhibition (28-30 June 2016) where the ITER Organization will be also be present.

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Launch of newest US fusion experiment, NSTX-U

23 May 2016

US Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz dedicated the most powerful spherical torus fusion facility in the world on 20 May 2016. The $94-million upgrade to the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX-U), funded by the DOE Office of Science, is a spherical tokamak fusion device that explores the creation of high-performance plasmas at 100-million degree temperatures.

NSTX-U at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) will allow researchers around the world to explore fusion reactions [...] "The vastly expanded capabilities of this spherical tokamak will enable us to explore new physics regimes and tackle the major engineering problems for fusion energy," Moniz said.

NSTX-U draws on a 65-year-old legacy of fusion energy research at Princeton University's Plasma Physics Laboratory where, in the 1950s, physicist Lyman Spitzer created a machine he called a stellarator to produce energy the same way as the Sun. Experimental stellarators and tokamaks, the two most prominent fusion reactor designs, now dot the globe.

"This is exciting new territory, and we're thrilled to embark on the next frontier of fusion research. This device could transform the world by showing us the way to a pilot plant design for the generation of power from fusion energy for use by all," said Stewart Prager, director, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

Read the full article on the PPPL website.

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30 companies on site for latest Industrial Info Day

23 May 2016

During an Industrial Info Day on 20 May, the ITER Organization presented an upcoming tender for electrical, cabling, instrumentation and control installation works to the representatives of 30 companies (48 participants).

The ITER Organization will now pre-qualify interested companies before launching the tender.

Industrial Info Days like this one are organized to inform industry about the scope of installation work to be performed under individual contracts and to encourage companies to participate in the tender. Companies have a chance to meet potential partners in Business-to-Business (B2B) meetings, with the aim of building betterconsortia in order to respond to the scale and challenges of the task.Info Days are also an opportunity for the ITER Organization to listen to industry and to get feedback on its strategy.

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Princeton University produces a "distillate" on fusion

23 May 2016

A new energy technology "distillate" has been published by Princeton University's Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment on magnetic confinement fusion, a technology with "enormous promise" as a global energy source, according to the authors.

The paper presents some of the basic science relevant to fusion energy and the central technical challenges before addressing the economic prospects for commercial fusion, the differences between fusion and fission, and the politics and progress in the global effort to develop nuclear fusion.

Andlinger Center distillates aim to provide succinct yet substantive information to a non-specialist audienceon emerging topics in energy and the environment that combine technological, economic, and policy considerations. This is the third in the series so far.

The full distillate can be downloaded here.

--Photo: a plasma in the Chinese tokamak EAST

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Vacuum piping contract signed

23 May 2016

On 28 April, the ITER Organization signed a contract with the European consortium GNMS for the procurement of approximately 10 km of vacuum pipework, ranging in diameter from DN 25 to DN 250.

The ITER vacuum system will be one of the largest in the world. Vacuum pumping is required prior to starting the fusion reaction to eliminate all sources of organic molecules and to create low density—about one million times lower than the density of air. The network of pipework will form one of the most extensive distributed systems in ITER, alongside cryogenic and water cooling systems.

The contract signature marks a significant step forward for the ITERvacuum system.

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Wanted: university grads from Europe

18 May 2016

Are you a university graduate who wants to gain international professional experience and contribute to the work of the European Domestic Agency for ITER? Or who is curious about ITER and simply wants to be part of one of the most ambitious energy projects in the world today? The European Domestic Agency for ITER is looking forgraduates in engineering, physics, law, human resources, finance and communication for four to nine months beginning 1 October 2016.

The traineeship program is open to university graduates who are nationals of one of the Member States of the European Union or Switzerland, who have at least a three-yearuniversity degree obtained within the last three years, anda very good knowledge of English.Traineeships are offered in Barcelona (Spain), Garching (Germany) and at the ITER site in France.

The deadline to apply is 31 May 2016. Please find all information here.

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BBC Radio explores fusion and ITER

13 May 2016

If new energy sources offer cheap, plentiful power to everyone, how will the planet cope? FutureProofing examines a new method of power generation promising clean, limitless power for everyone. Can it work, what are the consequences, and is there a viable alternative?

Fusion has long-promised cheap, clean and limitless power, but over half a century of effort this technology has still not delivered an operational power plant. Now hopes are high that a vast project in the south of France will finally crack the problems and deliver a working model that can be replicated around the world. FutureProofing presenters Timandra Harkness and Leo Johnson travel to Provence to find out what the prospects are for a scheme costing upwards of £10 billion which could transform the energy supply for us all and with it global geopolitics and the environment for centuries to come.

The program explores what viable alternatives there could be to generate power at the same scale for billions of people across the world, and whether such an alternative is a better route to achieving the goal of cheap, plentiful and clean energy for the future. (Producer: Jonathan Brunert)

Follow this link to the 42-minute broadcast.

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Liquid lithium to protect tokamak walls?

13 May 2016

--ByJohn Greenwald

A promising experiment that encloses hot, magnetically confined plasma in a full wall of liquid lithium is undergoing a $2 million upgrade at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). Engineers are installing a powerful neutral beam injector in the laboratory's Lithium Tokamak Experiment (LTX), an innovative device used to test the liquid metal as a first wall that enhances plasma performance. The first wall material faces the plasma.

"This will bring us one step closer to demonstrating this particular approach to fusion," said Dick Majeski, principal investigator of the LTX. The experiment is a collaborative effort that includes researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, UCLA, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Princeton University, as well as PPPL.Funding comes from the DOE Office of Science.

The neutral beam injector, a Russian-built device on loan from the Tri Alpha fusion firm in California, will shoot energetic beams into the small spherical tokamak to fuel the core of the plasma and increase its temperature and density—key factors in fusion reactions. "The beams will maintain the density and raise the temperature to a more fusion-relevant level," said Philip Efthimion, PPPL head of the Plasma Science and Technology Department that includes the LTX.

The experiment recently became the first device in the world to produce flat temperatures in a magnetically confined plasma. Such flatness reduces the loss of heat from the plasma that can halt fusion reactions. The LTX also has provided the first experimental evidence that coating a large area of walls with liquid lithium can produce high-performance plasmas.

However, without fuelling from the neutral beam the density of an LTX plasma tends to drop off fast. The beam upgrade will keep the density from dropping, and test whether the liquid lithium coating can continue to maintain flat temperatures in much hotter plasmas.

Read the full story on the PPPL website.

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Human-robot teams to operate inside fusion device

09 May 2016

Watch humans and robots work together inside the JET mockup at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) in the UK.

Video via Tom Scott/CCFE

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Improving predictions of the "bootstrap current"

09 May 2016

Researchers at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have challenged the understanding of a key element in fusion plasmas. At issue has been an accurate prediction of the size of the "bootstrap current"—a self-generating electric current—and an understanding of what carries the current at the edge of plasmas in doughnut-shaped facilities called tokamaks. This bootstrap-generated current combines with the current in the core of the plasma to produce a magnetic field to hold the hot gas together during experiments, and can produce stability at the edge of the plasma.

The recent work, published in the April issue of the journal Physics of Plasmas, focuses on the region at the edge in which the temperature and density drop off sharply. In this steep gradient region—or pedestal—the bootstrap current is large, enhancing the confining magnetic field but also triggering instability in some conditions.

The bootstrap current appears in a plasma when the pressure is raised. [...] Physics understanding and accurate prediction of the size of the current at the edge of the plasma is essential for predicting its effect on instabilities that can diminish the performance of fusion reactors.

--Illustration: Simulation shows trapped electrons at left and passing electron at right that are carried in the bootstrap current of a tokamak. Credit: Kwan Liu-Ma, University of California, Davis.

Read the full article on thePPPL website.

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India delivers power supply components to testbed

09 May 2016

Another shipment of in-kind components from India has arrived at thePRIMA neutral beam test facility in Padua, Italy. At PRIMA, ITER's most powerful heating system—neutral beam injection—will be tested in advance ofoperation.

The SPIDER test bed is a 1:1-scale ion source that will be used to develop the technology for the production of negative ions. India already delivered the beam dumpin late 2014; this time, 13 trucks carried the components of the 100 kV power supply.

Read more about the lastest shipment here.

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Journal "Nature Physics" produces an Insight on nuclear fusion

09 May 2016

In its May 2016 issue, Nature Physics has produced an Insight on Nuclear Fusion that features an interview with ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot,a commentary by Steven Cowley (current Chief Executive Officer of the UK Atomic Energy Agency and Head of the EURATOM/CCFE Fusion Association), and a review of the fascinating physics that lies at the heart of nuclear fusion.

A full list of content is available at this link. (Content may be accessed through a subscription to Nature Physics or rental/purchase.)

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Using fusion gyrotrons to drill rock?

02 May 2016

A senior researcher at MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) in the US is using a gyrotron, a specialized radio-frequency (RF) wave generator developed for fusion research, to explore how millimetre RF waves can open holes through hard rock by melting or vaporizing it.

Penetrating deep into rock is necessary to access virtually limitless geothermal energy resources, to mine precious metals or explore new options for nuclear waste storage. But it is a difficult and expensive process, and today's mechanical drilling technology has limitations. Woskov believes that powerful millimetre-wave sources could increase deep hard rock penetration rates by more than ten times at lower cost over current mechanical drilling systems, while providing other practical benefits.

"There is plenty of heat beneath our feet," he says, "something like 20 billion times the energy the world uses in one year." But, Woskov notes, most studies of the accessibility of geothermal energy are based on current mechanical technology and its limitations. They do not consider that a breakthrough advance in drilling technology could make possible deeper, less expensive penetration, opening into what Woskov calls "an enormous reserve of energy, second only to fusion: base energy, available 24/7."

Current rotary technology is a mechanical grinding process, limited by rock hardness, deep pressures, and high temperatures. Specially designed "drilling mud," pumped through the hollow drill pipe interior, is used to enable deep drilling and to remove the excess cuttings, returning them to the surface via the ring-shaped space between the drill pipe and borehole wall. The pressure of the mud also keeps the hole from collapsing, sealing and strengthening the hole in the process. But there is a limit to the pressures such a borehole can withstand, and typically holes cannot be drilled beyond 30,000 feet (9km).

Woskov asks, "What if you could drill beyond this limit? What if you could drill over ten kilometers into the earth's crust?" With his proposed gyrotron technology this is theoretically possible.

Continue reading on the PSFCwebsite.

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Promising experiments on ASDEX Upgrade

02 May 2016

The ASDEX-Upgrade team at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Garching, Germany is experimenting with a new mode of tokamak operation.

In recent experimental results, an operational mode described as offering "stable plasma, high plasma pressure and good confinement properties in a parameter range in which future power plants are to be working" has been achieved almost without the transformer, or solenoid, that is typically used to induce the strong current in the plasma that contributes to creating the magnetic cage of tokamaks like ITER and ASDEX-Upgrade.

In its place, microwaves and particle beams injected close to the plasma core were used to prolong the plasma pulse.

This type of "advanced tokamak operation" was the object of investigation for IPP scientist Alexander Bock, who details the advantages that continuous operation would have over pulsed operation as part of his PhD thesis. Advantages included better control of the plasma current profile in the plasma, longer pulses, and decreased turbulence.

Read the IPP press release in English or in German.

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"Fusion in Europe" seeks writers for a special summer issue

26 Apr 2016

EUROfusion, the coordinating body for fusion research activities in Europe, is seeking student writers to contribute to the summer issue of Fusion in Europe.

If you possess strong writing skills, are curious, and can explain complex science with compelling metaphors, please send in your writing samples to this addressby 16 May 2016.

Find out more about the program here.

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ITER Project on stage in China

25 Apr 2016

On April 6, 2016, the largest-scale nuclear industry exhibition in China opened its doors and the ITER Project was there.

For four days, the actors of the global nuclear industry gathered in theNational Convention Center in Beijing for the 14th China International Nuclear Industry Exhibition. One of the themes of the conference was "Fusion & Plasma Technology Applications."

The Chinese Domestic Agency for ITER (ITER China) was invited to participate by one of the sponsors of the event, the Chinese Nuclear Society. At its 36 m² stand, complete with graphic display boards, model exhibits and promotional videos, the public was given a comprehensive introduction to the ITER Project, the status of domestic fusion research and development, and the specific contribution of China to ITER.

The Director-General of the ITER Organization, Bernard Bigot, and the head of the Korean Domestic Agency, Kijung Jung, both visited the ITER stand, as well as representatives from institutes, universities, and suppliers involved with fusion at home and abroad.

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Princeton scientists help test innovative device to improve tokamak efficiency

11 Apr 2016

--By Raphael Rosen

Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have helped design and test a component that could improve the performance of doughnut-shaped fusion facilities known as tokamaks.

Called a "liquid lithium limiter," the device has circulated the protective liquid metal within the walls of China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) and kept the plasma from cooling down and halting fusion reactions. The journal Nuclear Fusion published results of the experiment in March 2016.

This system reduces the production of impurities that typically are created when the plasma reaches other components of the vessel. Moreover, plasmas tolerate higher amounts of lithium impurities, compared with the impurities from other materials, because the low atomic number of lithium produces very low amounts of plasma radiation that typically cools the plasma core.

Serving as the main point of contact with plasma enables the lithium to absorb the hot deuterium ions that drift from the centre of the plasma, and keeps them from striking the interior walls of the tokamak and cooling down. Limiting the amount of cool deuterium at the edge of the plasma reduces the difference in temperature between the hot plasma centre and the cooler edge, and reduces turbulence. As a side note, however, contact with the ions was found to slightly damage the thin stainless steel foil surface of the limiter device, prompting work on an improved design.

Read the full report on the PPPL website.

Photo of the white-hot limiter glowing in contact with the plasma during an EAST discharge.

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First WEST Experiment Planning Meeting

04 Apr 2016

WEST's international call for modelling and experimental proposals was successfully completed on 15 March 2016 with more than 150 proposals received from the ITER Organization, Europe, USA, China, Japan, India, Korea and Russia. All the contributionscan be viewed on theWEST wiki pages.

The first WEST Experiment Planning Meeting will be held on 18-20 April 2016 at CEA Cadarache to discuss the prioritization of experimental and modelling proposals and to define a timeline for the 2016-2017 WEST experimental campaigns.

Click here to read WEST's Newsletter #12

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An award for ITER security head

04 Apr 2016

At the first edition of the Security Meetings exhibitionin Cannes, France, on 22-24 March 2016,ITER Head ofSecurity, Health & Safety Christophe Ramu was awarded the title of "Security Director of the Year."

A first of its kind, the exhibition brought together more than 120 participants from prestigious organizations such as CEA, Aéroport de Paris, Airbus, Air France, Banque de France, Bolloré, Bouygues, Capgemini, Cartier, City of Marseille, Engie, Gendarmerie Nationale, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Lafarge, Razel-bec, Saint-Gobain, Suez, Orange, DHL and Musée du Louvres.

During the event, four security awards were also attributed to reward outstanding initiatives in security approach.

In the category "Security Director of the Year," Christophe Ramu was recognized for his professionalism and innovation in the exercise of his profession. Christophe, who joined ITER in 2012 after serving for 20 years at Marseille's Marine Fire Battalion, is managing—among many other tasks—the evolution in the implementation of a pre-enrolment system for accessing the ITER site.

This system will enable on-site contracting companies, once they are accredited by the ITER Organization, to manage access requests for their own personnel. The system, which will be fully operational in the second half of 2016, will also improve the monitoring activity of personnel presence and localization on the ITER site.

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A view from industry

03 Apr 2016

Cooling 10,000 tons of superconducting magnets thatwill confine the energy-generating plasmais indispensableto the proper working of the ITER Tokamak. The cryogenic plant, whose design phase began in 2013, has now entered the fabrication phase at the Air Liquide factory near Grenoble, France.

This impressive centralizedcryogenic refrigeration system will be composed of helium(He) and nitrogen (N2) refrigeration units and dedicatedstorage, operating in a closed loop. Helium, at a temperature of close to the absolutezero (-269°C, or 4.5K), will be used to cool magnets,vacuum pumps and certain diagnostic systems.

Nitrogen,whose temperature (-196°C, or 77K) is not quite as low,will contribute among other things to the coolingof the heat shield and to the pre-cooling of the heliumrefrigeration unit and the helium loops. The site's threehelium units (LHe) will occupy 3,000 m2 of the 5,400 m2set aside for the ITER cryogenic unit. LHe is composedof several compression stations and three large cold boxes,which weigh 135 tons each, measure 21 metres in length,and have a diameter of 4.2 metres.

On average, the helium refrigeration units will providea global cooling capacity of 75kW to 4.5K, which translatesinto a maximum liquefaction rate of 12,300 liters/hour.They will be completed by two nitrogen units (LN2).The 11 helium and nitrogen gas storage units—with a totalcapacity of 3,700 m3 (of which 3,300 m3 for the helium)—will help to optimize the recovery of fluids in the variousoperational phases of the tokamak.

View the special issue on ITER in Cryoscope,a magazine from Air Liquide.

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Highly realistic ITER in Lego form

01 Apr 2016

For Lego enthusiasts the ITER Tokamak is an endless source of inspiration. In June 2012, Newslinereportedon Japanese artist Sachiko Akinaga who had created an 8,000-piece tokamak assembly scene using standard Lego bricks.

Two years later an American videogame designer, Andrew Clark, tried to convince the Lego company to bring his model of the ITER Tokamak into commercial production; unfortunately, the proposal never gathered the 10,000 "votes of support" required to turn the project into an official set.

At the University of Kyoto in Japan, another Lego venture is taking shape. A group of students in fusion materials and reactor engineering (Konishi Laboratory, Dr Kasada's group) has built a highly realistic version of the ITER Tokamak with all major components in place—coils, ports, heating systems, and Test Blanket Modules are all identified by a different colour. The students even managed to insert a waveguide into the vacuum vessel wall...

An achievement in terms of both realism and poetry, the ITER-LEGO project will be used for the promotion of fusion energy in exhibitions and conferences.

Click here to view a video of the ITER-LEGO.

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Physicist models lithium erosion in tokamaks

28 Mar 2016

By Raphael Rosen

The world of fusion energy is a world of extremes. For instance, the center of the ultrahot plasma contained within the walls of doughnut-shaped fusion machines known as tokamaks can reach temperatures well above the 15 million degrees Celsius core of the sun. And even though the portion of the plasma closer to the tokamak's inner walls is 10 to 20 times cooler, it still has enough energy to erode the layer of liquid lithium that may be used to coat components that face the plasma in future tokamaks. Scientists thus seek to know how to prevent hot plasma particles from eroding the protective lithium coating.

Physicist Tyler Abrams has led experiments on a facility in the Netherlands called Magnum-PSI that could provide an answer. The research, published in Nuclear Fusion in December 2015, found that combining lithium with the hydrogen isotope deuterium substantially reduced the erosion. Abrams conducted the research as a doctoral student in the Princeton Program in Plasma Physics substantially based at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). He currently is a postdoctoral research fellow at General Atomics. The research was funded by the DOE Office of Science.

Read the full article on thePPPL website.

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Predicting the behaviour of each bolt

28 Mar 2016

The European Domestic Agency has developed a new numerical model that represents ITER's 18 toroidal field magnets withremarkabledetail. The model will be used to compute the magnetic fields produced by the coils and the resulting electromagnetic forces on the magnet system, which are the result of the interaction between electrical currents and the magnetic field.

"It's the first time we have a complete model of the entire ITER toroidal field system to such a level of detail," says Gabriele D'Amico, the technical support officer responsible for the development of the model. "The level of complexity of the tool is outstanding. For example there are more than 1,500 bolts connecting the different pieces of the toroidal field magnet system, and the model allows us to predict the behaviour of each one during operations."

The model, which took six months to develop, will allow the European Domestic Agency and the ITER Organization to simulate different scenarios using an approach that integrates the 18 coils and all major subsystems. Scientists will be able to study the occurrence of an electrical fault during operation, for example, or the impact of possible misalignment in the assembly of the coils on the behaviour of the whole system.

Read the full article on the European Domestic Agency website.

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MAST tokamak on schedule for 2017

20 Mar 2016

Progress on the MAST Upgrade project at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) took another step forward from the "page" to completion, asthe tokamak's bottom plate was lowered into place in the machine area last week.

Positioning of the11-tonne bottom plate, which contains intricately-engineered magnetic coils assembled over many months,went smoothly. The team hopes to have the device ready for commissioning at the end of 2016.

See a video of the operation on the CCFE website.

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Seven-layered winding pack produced in Europe

20 Mar 2016

European Domestic Agency contractors have made significant progress in thefabrication of the first toroidal field winding pack—the 110-ton inner core of ITER's D-shaped superconducting magnets known as toroidal field coils.

Following sophisticated, multi-stage winding operations, seven layers of coiled superconducting cable (double pancakes) have now been successfully stacked and electrically insulated. After vacuum-pressure insulation and testing, the winding pack will be inserted into a massive stainless steel case to form a final assembly that measures 9 x 17 metres and weighs 310 tons.

Eighteen D-shaped toroidal field coils—each made up of a winding pack and stainless steel coil case—will be responsible for magnetically confining the ITER plasma. Europe has the responsibility for half the coils plus one spare; Japan is producing another 9. The 19 stainless steel coil cases will be procured by Japan.

Beginning with the first manufacturing steps for the niobium-tin (Nb3Sn) superconducting wire in 2008, Europe estimates that over 600 people from at least 26 companies have contributed to this milestone.

Read the full report on the European Domestic Agency website.

--Europe's A. Bonito-Oliva, project manager for magnets, and R. Harrison, technical officer for magnets, stand in front of the first toroidal field coil winding pack at ASG Superconductors (La Spezia, Italy).

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Tritium to give cue on Big Bang neutrinos

20 Mar 2016

By John Greenwald

Big Bang neutrinos are believed to be everywhere in the universe but have never been seen. The expansion of the universe has stretched them and they are thought to be billions of times colder than neutrinos that stream from the sun.As the oldest known witnesses or "relics" of the early universe, they could shed new light on the birth of the cosmos if scientists could pin them down. That's a tall order since these ghostly particles can speed through planets as if they were empty space.

Now Princeton University physicist Chris Tully is readying a facility to detect these information-rich relics that appeared one second after the Big Bang, during the onset of the epoch that fused protons and neutrons to create all the light elements in the universe.Tully runs a prototype lab in the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) that draws on the fact that neutrinos can be captured by tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, and provide a tiny boost of energy to the electrons emitted in tritium decay.

--Princeton physicist Chris Tully in the PTOLEMY laboratory. Behind him are powerful superconducting magnets on either side of the vacuum chamber. Photo Elle Starkman/PPPL

Read the whole article on thePPPL website.

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SOFT innovation prize

15 Mar 2016

The deadline is fast approaching to submit a proposal to the 2016 SOFT Innovation Prize, launched by the European Commission late last year for award at the 29th SOFT (Symposium on Fusion Technology)international conference in Prague in September.

Proposals are requested forphysics or technology innovations related to magnetic confinement fusion research that havea potential for further exploitation.

Three prizes will be awarded: EUR 50,000 (1st prize), EUR 25,000 (2nd prize)and EUR 12,500 (3rd prize).The deadline for submission is 7 April 2016.

For more information on eligibility, exclusion and award criteria please see Europe's Horizon 2020 website.

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Cryoplant: inner tank passes leak test

11 Mar 2016

ITER will use extensive cryogenic technologyto create and maintain low-temperature conditions for the magnet, thermal shielding and vacuum pumping systems. The ITER cryoplant will be the largest concentrated cryogenic system in the world (one plant location) and second only to CERN in terms of total cooling power.

On the ITER platform, work is progressing on the foundations of the plant building while—following successive design phases—the procurement ofcryoplant components is now underwayby Europe (liquid nitrogen plant and auxiliary systems), the ITER Organization (helium plant) and India (cryolines and cryodistribution components).

In February, as part of Europe's procurement package, a 23-metre-long storage tank for liquid helium successfully passed leak detection tests. Responsible for keeping liquid helium at a steady -269 °C, the stainless-steel inner tank has multi-layer insulation to minimize thermal losses and will be assembled with exterior thermal shielding. The examination of 500 metres of linear welds was successfully performed by the manufacturer, opening the way to the delivery of the equipment at ITER before the end of the year.

The storage tank was manufactured by CryoAB (Sweden) as part of the contract signed between the European Domestic Agency and Air Liquide Global and EC Solutions and Fusion for Energy.

Read the original news item on the European Domestic Agency website.

-- Part of ITER's cryoplant, the 190 m³ stainless-steel tank will store liquid helium at -269 °C.

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On key discoveries in the quest for fusion

11 Mar 2016

The path to creating sustainable fusion energy as a clean, abundant and affordable source of electric energy has been filled with "aha moments" that have led to a point in history when the ITERfusion experiment is poised to produce more fusion energy than it uses when it is completed in 15 to 20 years, said Ed Synakowski, associate director of Science for Fusion Energy Sciences at the US Department of Energy (DOE).

Synakowski spoke as part ofthe Ronald E. Hatcher "Science on Saturday" lecture seriesat the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL).

Read the full reporton the PPPL website.

-- Ed Synakowski is pictured at the Monaco-ITER International Fusion Energy Days (2013).

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In the realm of ultra-hot temperatures

07 Mar 2016

How to sustain and measure temperature in a fusion plasma? This challenging task requires different heating systems and diagnostic tools. Information on the spatial distribution of temperature is one of the key elements for improving and controlling plasma performance.

In a recently published Nature Physicsarticle, Didier Mazon, Christel Fenzi and Roland Sabot, of CEA's Research Institute on Magnetic Fusion (IRFM) explore the fascinating realm of ultra-hot temperatures.

Illustration of a new X2D diagnostic: spectroscopy for ion temperature measurement in theWEST tokamak.

Click here to read the whole article in Nature Physics.

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JT-60SA's coil gets a first taste of superconductivity

07 Mar 2016

At the CEA Saclay's Cold Test Facility, near Paris, JT-60SA's first toroidal field coil has completed its round of tests at cryogenic temperature (4.5 K). "The coil became superconductive and reached its full current (25.7kA) without any problem," said Pietro Barabaschi, Home Team Project Manager for Europe's contribution to the Broader Approachproject.

A ceremony will be organized at CEA Saclay on 6 April prior to shipping the coil to Japan.

Read the story on the European Domestic Agency's website.

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53rd edition of the Culham Summer School

29 Feb 2016

The 53rd edition of the Culham Summer School will take place from 18 to 29July 2016.

The school provides an introduction to the fundamental principles of plasma physics, together with a broad understanding of its fields of application. Topics cover magnetic and laser confinement fusion, space and astrophysical plasmas and low temperature plasmas. Lecturers are drawn from Culham Centre for Fusion Energy and leading laboratories and university groups from the UK and abroad. All are renowned experts in their fields.

Reduced rate 'early bird' registration is open until 1 May.

For more information and to book your place, follow this link.

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JT-60 SA torus complete (for a moment)

22 Feb 2016

Assembly operations are progressing on JT-60 SA. In December 2015, the final 20° Vacuum Vessel sector was inserted into the opening of the 340° torus to measure the gaps between the 340° and 20° sectors for the later welding. The operation provided with a brief vision of the completed donut-shaped 360° Vacuum Vessel.

JT-60SA is a fusion experiment designed to support the operation of ITER and to investigate how best to optimize the operation of fusion power plants that are built after ITER. It is a joint international research and development project involving Japan and Europe, using infrastructure of the existing JT-60 Upgrade experiment. SA stands for "super, advanced", since the experiment will have superconducting coils and study advanced modes of plasma operation.

This satellite tokamak program was established in 1997 as one of three joint projects between Europe and Japan within theBroader ApproachAgreement.

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First experiments in Culham's new Materials Research Facility

22 Feb 2016

Construction of the Materials Research Facility (MRF)at Culham is complete and the building has alreadyhosted its first experiments.

The MRF has been established to analyse material properties in support of both fission and fusion research.It will benefit university and industry users working on micro-characterisation of nuclear materials.It is part of the National Nuclear User Facility (NNUF) initiative,launched by the Government and funded by EPSRC, to set up a multi-site facility giving UK academia and industry access to internationally-leading experimental equipment

On Friday 12 February, the keys to the building were formally handed over by David Wilde, construction site manager for contractors E G Carter, to Martin O'Brien and James Treadgold of the UK Atomic Energy Authority.

Read more on CCFE website.

Read here: "Why is metallurgy so important for fusion's future?"

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Towards a global network of Industrial Liaison Officers

22 Feb 2016

Interaction with industry is essential to ITER success. In 2008, the European Domestic Agency established a network of Industrial Liaison Officers (ILOs) entrusted with a strategic mission: to raise industry awareness aboutITER work packages,needsand tender procedures.

For the past seven years, the 20-person-strong European ILO network has also played a key role in fostering partnershipsbetween industrial companies in order to make strongtechnical and commercial bidsadapted to the project's specific demands.

In 2015, a propositionto extend the ILO concept to the other ITER Members resulted in an invitation toDomestic Agency Headstonominate an ILO.

Japan was among the first to answer the call. Earlier this month, Yoshihiko Nunoya, an engineer with the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, took up his duties as the first non-European ILO.

It is expected that a global ILO network will be fully established by the end of the year.

From left to right: Setsuko Moriyama, ITER Project Integration and Support Group; Yoshinori Kusama, Head of the Japanese Domestic Agency; Jennifer Hayashi, ITER Project Management Group, JAEA;Takashi Inoue, Deputy Head, ITER Project division, JAEAand Yoshihiko Nunoya, Group leader of JAEA;s ITER Project Management Group and recently appointed Industrial Liaison Officer.

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A heart in fusion

12 Feb 2016

This heart-shaped dust particle was captured by ion microbam scan on a divertor tile in the JET tokamak.

A team of researchers from the Croatian Fusion Research Unit—Stjepko Fazinić, Ivan Sudić and Tonči Tadić (Ruđer Bošković Institute)—in cooperation with their colleague Per Petersson from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden "caught" a fusion heart during an experiment at JET in December 2015.

Measuring 100 by 120 micrometres, the dust particle is made mainly of tungsten, nickel, chromium, molybdenum and iron, with traces of beryllium, aluminium, copper and sodium.

The Joint European Torus is currently the world's largest operational magnetic confinement plasma physics experiment, located atthe Culham Centre for Fusion Energyin Oxfordshire, UK. As a joint venture, JET is collectively used by more than 40 European laboratories. The European Consortium for the Development of Fusion Energy EUROfusion provides the work platform to exploit JET in an efficient and focused way. As a consequence more than 350 scientists and engineers from all over Europe currently contribute to the JET program.

Read the original story on the Ruđer Bošković Institute website.

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International collaboration on cryoplant manufacturing

12 Feb 2016

As work on the foundations of the ITER cryoplant advances on site, industrial partners around the world are making progress on the different manufactured elements of what will be the largest concentrated cryogenic system in the world.

The ITER cryoplant is composed of helium and nitrogen refrigerators combined with a 80 K helium loop. Three helium refrigerators supply the required cooling power via an interconnection box providing the interface to the cryodistribution system; two nitrogen refrigerators provide cooling power for the thermal shields and the 80 K pre-cooling of the helium refrigerators. The ITER cryogenic system will be capable of providing cooling power at three different temperature levels: 4 K, 50K and 80K.

The cryoplant is also a wide international collaboration, with Europe procuring the Liquid Nitrogen Facility (LN2) and auxiliary systems, India procuring the interconnecting lines and cryodistribution equipment, and the ITER Organization directly procuring the Liquid Helium (LHe) plant.

Under contract to Air Liquide Global E&C Solutions France, chosen by the European Domestic Agency to manufacture the LN2 plant, the Indian company Flowserve has produced six valvesthat will control the helium flow from the 80K loop boxes to the thermal shields and cryopumps of the ITER machine. These valves are nearly five times bigger than the average cryogenic valve found on a standard helium liquefier, measuring 2.5 metres in height and weighing more than 1.5 metric tons. Maximum flow-through attains 4.4 kg/second, more than twice what is normally released through a helium valve in even the biggest helium liquefiers.

The ITER Organization coordinated the inspection of the valves, which are now on their way to China to be assembled with other equipment.

Read the original story on the European Domestic Agency website.

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European Commission reaffirms importance of JET tokamak

12 Feb 2016

The European Commission had established a panel of independent high-level experts to evaluate the Euratom research program comprising fission and fusion research. The findings, which were recently published, are more than a pat on the back for Europe's fusion research activities, especially with regard to EUROfusion's flagship device the Joint European Torus (JET) and the Roadmap to the realisation of fusion energy.

The panel's findings place JET firmly at the heart of Europe's fusion research activities and underline its role as the device that is crucial to the developments at ITER. JET is currently the largest operating tokamak in Europe and also the only machine that is capable of carrying out experiments using the deuterium-tritium (D-T) fuel. And because D-T is the fuel of choice for a fusion reactor, results from the upcoming D-T experiments in JET will provide the know-how pertinent to ITER experiments. In addition, JET's ITER-like plasma-facing wall, its tungsten divertors, and its highly sophisticated remote-handling systems are all features that will lend invaluable knowledge and experience relevant to ITER.

Another facet the panel recognized as important is the European Fusion Roadmap which looks to steer the fusion program from being solely laboratory-based and science-driven to include industry and technology in its fold. The roadmap, which has been put together with inputs from all the EUROfusion consortium members, looks to solidify collaboration with industry in areas ranging from standardization of parts to plant design and integration and materials development. Also featuring prominently in the Fusion Roadmap is the role of JET as the testing ground for ITER operation— an aspect that is completely aligned with the panel's findings.

The independent panel's evaluation strongly backs this endorsem*nt stating that "the decision to extend the use of JET to support the development of ITER was not only correct but essential." It further goes on to say that "high priority should be given to keeping JET operating until the design for ITER has been finalized and ITER has been successfully commissioned."

Read the original story at EUROfusion.

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Downloadable ITER posters

08 Feb 2016

A new series of five downloadable posters isavailable in the ITER on-line Publication Centre (/posters). Designed for A1 printing, they are sized for classrooms, offices and labs.

This first series features the ITER machine, several of its principal components (the cryostat and the divertor), assembly tooling and ITER construction. A second series is planned.

ITER aficionados to your printers!

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Expert in fusion honoured by China

08 Feb 2016

China has conferred its annual International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Award on a figure closely associated with the ITER Project—Academician Evgeny Velikhov, who helped to initiate the project at the highest political level in the mid-1980s and who served as ITER Council Chair during the technical design phase for ITER and again at the start of ITER construction from 2010-2012.

Currently director of the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, Academician Velikhov was recognized by the Chinese government for his long-term contribution to Chinese-Russian fusion cooperation. He initiated bilateral cooperation between the Kurchatov and ASIPP (Institute of Plasma Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences), helping China in the successful development of a superconducting tokamak. He has visited China multiple times in recent years as an international advisor and has made valuable suggestions on the conceptual design of China's next-phase device, the ChinaFusion Engineering Test Reactor (CFETR).

The International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Award is the most prestigious honour in China for foreigners or foreign organizations "who make outstanding contributions to science and technology development in China."

Read the full story in ASIPP's January newsletter, below.

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Fusion education network meets on site

08 Feb 2016

During its fifth General Assembly held at ITER on 4 February, the European Fusion Education Network FuseNet approved a work plan for the period 2016-2017.

The FuseNet Associationwas founded in December 2010 as a platform for stimulating, supporting and coordinating fusion education in Europe, with the aim to the aim of attracting good students and providing them challenging education in fusion science and technology, developing educational tools, encouraging student mobility, and acting as matchmaker between industry and research labs/academia for student internships and vacancies.

FuseNet members are made up of universities with programs in fusion as well as research institutes and industry involved in ITER and/or fusion technology. Membership is not restricted to European organizations.

For more information, visit the FuseNet website.

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Korean program news

04 Feb 2016

In the latest issue of NFRI NewsKorea'sNational Fusion Research Institute reportsthe latestKSTAR experimental campaign. Ten overseas research institutes and nine Korean institutes collaborated on this eighth campaign, which ended in December 2015.

The January issuealso announces the 2015 NFRI Award was attributed to Hyeongon Lee, the Deputy Director General of ITER Korea. The awardrecognizes Prof. Lee's leading work onnon-destructive testing technology for ITER and the validation of analysis relating to the ITER thermal shield and assembly tooling.

Read the January issue ofNFRI News here.

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Paint it black

01 Feb 2016

TheMAST Upgradevacuum vessel is getting a paint job — and its new look will ensure the experiment produces top-quality plasma physics data when it starts operating next year.

While it's a shame to cover up the gleaming stainless steel surfaces, science must take precedence over aesthetic considerations. A number of key measuring systems — diagnostics — on MAST-U will rely on accurate readings of light from the plasma. With uncovered steel, the light bounces off the vessel surfaces, playing havoc with the measurements. Reflected light also makes it more difficult to examine images of the plasma for physics phenomena such as ELM instabilities. Applying graphite-based paint to the walls greatly reduces these reflections, giving physicists much better results to work with.

Read the whole article at CCFE.

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Text books for Chinese section at Int'l School

01 Feb 2016

The delegation from the Chinese Ministry of Science & Technology (MOST) that was received at ITER on 26 January also paid a visit to the International School in the neighbouring town of Manosque. Headed by Luo Delong, head of the Chinese Domestic Agency for ITER,andSun Yuming, Deputy Director-General of the Executive Office at MOST, the delegation had a gift for the students in the Chinese section: four boxes of textbooks for primary school classes and picture books for pre-schoolers.

Of the 34 students in the Chinese section 21 are "ITER children"; the others are French nationals learning Chinese as second foreign language.

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New finding may explain fusion reactor heat loss

28 Jan 2016

One of the biggest obstacles to making fusion power practical—and realizing its promise of virtually limitless and relatively clean energy—has been that computer models have been unable to predict how the hot, electrically charged gas inside a fusion reactor behaves under the intense heat and pressure required to make atoms stick together.

The key to making fusion work—that is, getting atoms of a heavy form of hydrogen called deuterium to stick together to form helium, releasing a huge amount of energy in the process—is to maintain a sufficiently high temperature and pressure to enable the atoms overcome their resistance to each other. But various kinds of turbulence can stir up this hot soup of particles and dissipate some of the intense heat, and a major problem has been to understand and predict exactly how this turbulence works, and thus how to overcome it.

A long-standing discrepancy between predictions and observed results in test reactors has been called "the great unsolved problem" in understanding the turbulence that leads to a loss of heat in fusion reactors. Solving this discrepancy is critical for predicting the performance of new fusion reactors such as the huge international collaborative project called ITER, under construction in France.

Now, researchers at MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center, in collaboration with others at the University of California at San Diego, General Atomics, and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, say that they have found the key. In a result so surprising that the researchers themselves found it hard to believe their own results at first, it turns out that interactions between turbulence at the tiniest scale, that of electrons, and turbulence at a scale 60 times larger, that of ions, can account for the mysterious mismatch between theory and experimental results.

The new findings are detailed in a pair of papers published in the journalsNuclear FusionandAIP Physics of Plasmas, by MIT research scientist Nathan Howard, doctoral student Juan Ruiz Ruiz, Cecil and Ida Green Associate Professor in Engineering Anne White, and 12 collaborators.

See the original story on MIT News.

Photo courtesy of the researchers.

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Kudowa Summer School

28 Jan 2016

The Kudowa Summer School "Towards Fusion Energy" takes place every two yearsin Kudowa Zdrój, Poland.

Organizedby the Institute of Plasma Physics and Laser Microfusion (IPPLM)and the International Centre for Dense Magnetised Plasma (ICDMP), the summer program is geared toward a multinational audience, principally PhD students but also Master's students and young scientists from all over Europe.

Courses focus on various aspects of fusion energy, plasma experiments, plasma modelling and technology for young scientists from different countries. The subject of the Kudowa Summer School in 2016 is: Power Exhaust in Fusion Plasmas.

The 2016 Kudowa Summer School will take place from 13 to 17 June 2016 (registration deadline 20 March). For more information, visit the dedicated website.

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MIIFED-IBF 2016: Sign up now!

25 Jan 2016

From 8 to 11 February, the Monaco-ITER International Fusion Energy Days (MIIFED) will combine with the ITER Business Forum (IBF) to create a single event dedicated to ITER progress and upcoming business opportunities.

Over 400 participants from 200 companies have already registered for MIIFED-IBF 2016, which will be the sole event dedicated to industrial opportunities at ITER in 2016. The three-day conference will also feature an industrial and R&D exhibition.

It is still possible to schedule one-to-one meetings (B2B and B2C). These networking opportunities facilitate the exploration of partnership opportunities in the context of the technological challenges that lie ahead for ITER. To schedule a one-to-one meeting or to ask for business appointments (based on company profiles), please consult the pages dedicated to registered participantshere.

In combining ITER Business Forum with the MIIFED international event, the MIIFED-IBF2016 Conference is specifically designed to support enhanced communication with industry and ensure that ITER procurement practices will be efficient and supportive of its industrial partners. It also aims to facilitate productive interaction between industry and fusion laboratories from the seven ITER Members and to foster collaboration between those actors, especially in technical areas where strong cooperation is required.

See the conferencewebsitefor more information or to register now.

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Mira supercomputer gives new "edge" to fusion research

21 Jan 2016

Using Mira, physicists from Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have uncovered a new understanding about electron behaviour in edge plasma. Based on this discovery, improvements were made to a well-known analytical formula that could enhance predictions of and, ultimately, increase fusion power efficiency.

Principal investigator C.S. Chang, head of the U.S. SciDAC-3 Partnership for Edge Physics Simulation headquartered at PPPL, and co-investigator Robert Hager recently gained new insight into the properties of a self-generating electrical current that boosts power in a tokamak fusion reactor, based on simulations run on the 10-petaflop IBM Blue Gene/Q supercomputer Mira located at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility in the US.

To develop the best predictive tools for ITER (and, by extension, other experimental fusion reactors), research teams are using high-performance computing to resolve the behaviours of fusion plasma across the many spatial scales that impact reactor efficiency and plasma stability.

Running on more than 260,000 Mira processing cores with excellent scalability, the latest XGCa plasma edge simulations revealed electron behaviours related to edge bootstrap current that are not accurately predicted for present-day tokamak geometry by the well-known Sauter formula, which is used to calculate values for the bootstrap current.

"Mira allows running simulations of larger tokamaks at ITER's scale, and modeling at much higher particle counts more accurately represents the electron populations in the plasma," said Tim Williams, Argonne computational scientist.

Read the full article on the website of the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility.

Image: Based on a series of high-resolution simulations of bootstrap current in present-day tokamak geometries, researchers have modified a well-known formula that calculates the value of bootstrap current in order to improve the prediction of fusion efficiency in tokamak reactors. Credit:Kwan Liu-Ma, University of California, Davis.

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African officials get the fusion infusion

18 Jan 2016

What should have been a standard two-hour visit turned out to be a four-hour crash course in fusion. For the first time in the history of the ITER Project, a 29-person delegation from the African continent came to visit ITER this week. Taking part in a conference in Marseille on public-private partnerships in the energy sector, the lawyers, engineers and ministry representatives from Cameroun, Burkina Faso, Congo, Togo, Senegal, Kenya, the Ivory Coast, Maurice, Mali and Uganda seized the opportunity to spend an afternoon at ITER Headquarters, with a visit to the site and presentations on fusion science and technology and the organization of the world's largest International scientific collaboration. "What you are doing here is really amazing," Tarek Toko, from the West African Development Bank, said on the way back to the bus. "You must succeed!"

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EU will update roadmap to fusion power

18 Jan 2016

The organization charged with overseeing and coordinating the European Union's quest for fusion power, EUROfusion, plans to update during 2016 theEuropean Union's 2012 strategic plan to put fusion electricity on the grid by 2050, according to Xavier Litaudon speaking at the annual meeting of the Fusion Power Associates on 16-17 December in Washington, DC.

ITER remains "the key facility of the roadmap" but the update will incorporate the impact of slippage in the ITER construction schedule. A new ITER schedule is expected to be approved by the ITER Council by mid-2016 according to ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot, who also spoke at the meeting.

The European Union's strategic plan reflects a collaboration with Japan on the "Broader Approach" to fusion that was a part of the ITER siting decision process. According to EUROfusion, in the course of the roadmap implementation the fusion program will move "from being laboratory-based and science-driven towards an industry- and technology-driven venture."

To ensure minimal delay to DEMO, the next step after ITER, the European Union has initiated a conceptual design system engineering approach that will address such issues as safety, tritium breeding, power exhaust, remote handling, component lifetime and plant availability, according to Litaudon. Experience gained from continued operation and "internationalization" of the JET tokamak and from devices JT-60SA (Japan), WEST (France) and Wendelstein 7-X (Germany) are also important elements of the plan.

Ed Synakowski, head of the US fusion program, told the audience that the US had recently completed the US fusion Strategic Plan requested by Congress in 2014. Permission from Congress was needed before the Plan could be released to the public, he said.

All talks from the Fusion Power Associates annual meeting, Strategies to Fusion Power, are posted at the FIRE website.

Source:Fusion Power Associates

Open call for technology transfer proposals (111)

Impending storm or false alarm?

11 Jan 2016

Among the most feared events in space physics are solar eruptions, massive explosions that hurl millions of tons of plasma gas and radiation into space. These outbursts can be deadly: if the first moon-landing mission had encountered one, the intense radiation could have been fatal to the astronauts. And when eruptions reach the magnetic field that surrounds the Earth, the contact can create geomagnetic storms that disrupt cell phone service, damage satellites and knock out power grids.

NASA is eager to know when an eruption is coming and when what looks like the start of an outburst is just a false alarm. Knowing the difference could affect the timing of future space missions such as journeys to Mars, and show when steps to protect satellites, power systems and other equipment need to be taken.

(Photo NASA)

Read the whole article on thePPPL website.

Open call for technology transfer proposals (112)

MAST tokamak: a year of progress in three minutes (video)

08 Jan 2016

Momentum is building on the MAST Upgrade project at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) in the UK.

When completed,the upgrade of the Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak (MAST) will enable scientists to test the spherical tokamak design as a candidate for a Component Test Facility that will trial technology and materials in advance of the next-step machine; add to the knowledge base for ITER on key plasma physics issues; and test a high-power exhaust system known as a Super-X divertor.

The final phase of assembly will take place in 2016.

See the three-minute video on the CCFE website.

Open call for technology transfer proposals (113)

How to start a tokamak without a solenoid?

08 Jan 2016

Scientists at the US Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have produced self-consistent computer simulations that capture the evolution of an electric current inside fusion plasma without using a central electromagnet, or solenoid.

The simulations of the process, known as non-inductive current ramp-up, were performed using TRANSP, the gold-standard code developed at PPPL. The results were published in October 2015 in Nuclear Fusion. The research was supported by the DOE Office of Science.

In traditional donut-shaped tokamaks, a large solenoid runs down the centre of the reactor. By varying the electrical current in the solenoid scientists induce a current in the plasma. This current starts up the plasma and creates a second magnetic field that completes the forces that hold the hot, charged gas together.

But spherical tokamaks, a compact variety of fusion reactor that produces high plasma pressure with relatively low magnetic fields, have little room for solenoids. Spherical tokamaks look like cored apples and have a smaller central hole for the solenoid than conventional tokamaks do. Physicists, therefore, have been trying to find alternative methods for producing the current that starts the plasma and completes the magnetic field in spherical tokamaks.

One such method is known as coaxial helicity injection (CHI). During CHI, researchers switch on an electric coil that runs beneath the tokamak. Above this coil is a gap that opens into the tokamak's vacuum vessel and circles the tokamak's floor. The switched-on electrical current produces a magnetic field that connects metal plates on either side of the gap.

Read more on the PPPL website.

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