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Actu & Médias

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International Tokamak Physics Activity

ITPA meetings resume at ITER

After a hiatus of three years due to Covid, in-person meetings of experts from the International Tokamak Physics Activity (ITPA), supporting research for ITER, have resumed. On-site meetings at the ITER Organization or the nearby CEA research centre allow ITPA experts to witness progress in construction since their last visit to the ITER Organization in 2019.

ITPA Pedestal and Edge Physics Topical Group experts meet at ITER Headquarters. (Click to view larger version...)
ITPA Pedestal and Edge Physics Topical Group experts meet at ITER Headquarters.
The International Tokamak Physics Activity (ITPA), under the auspices of the ITER Organization, coordinates research among the ITER Members to develop the physics and operational basis of burning tokamak plasmas with specific focus on ITER. This includes the Physics Basis behind ITER's design as well as the optimization of its scientific exploitation (ITER Research Plan).

The ITPA research activities involve the execution of joint experiments and validation of models to improve the predictions for burning plasmas, in particular of ITER high-Q scenarios. The implementation of these activities frequently involves short-term exchanges of researchers among the participating institutions (under the IEA Technology Collaboration Programme on Tokamak Programmes). Research progress is reported at the bi-annual meetings of the corresponding ITPA Topical Group leading the activity.

Since March 2020, with the start of the Covid pandemic, travel restrictions have forced ITPA meetings and activities, such as joint experiments, to take place almost exclusively via remote participation. Remote participation and teleconference tools have been extensively used by the ITPA to maintain progress of research over the last years. However, these tools cannot fully substitute the scientific exchanges among experts during in-person participation in experiments and face-to-face discussions at meetings, which greatly contribute to the acceleration of research and the drawing of conclusions for ITER.

The easing of the Covid pandemic and of travel restrictions have allowed the organization of in-person meetings of the ITPA Topical Groups, which started in earnest this autumn after a three-year hiatus. The Diagnostics, Transport and Confinement, Pedestal and Edge Physics, Scrape-Off Layer and Divertor Topical Group experts met at the ITER Organization and CEA in October (up to three of them meeting simultaneously), while Integrated Operations Scenarios and Energetic Particle Physics Topical Group experts will meet in November also at ITER. Besides the more productive scientific discussions allowed by the in-person participation at these meetings, the ITPA experts are given the opportunity to witness the major progress in tokamak construction since their last visit to the ITER Organization in 2019.

The in-person meetings of the ITPA in 2022 will conclude with that of the Coordinating Committee in December during which progress on research in 2022 by the Topical Groups will be reviewed and the plans for 2023 will be discussed.

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