ITPA now under ITER auspices
The International Tokamak Physics Activity (ITPA), a framework for internationally-coordinated fusion research activities, has been invited to operate under the auspices of ITER. Since its inception in July 2001, the ITPA has been operating under the auspices of the International Fusion Research Council of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The ITPA continues the tokamak physics R&D activities that have been conducted on an international level for many years resulting in the achievement of a broad physics basis essential for the ITER design and useful for all fusion programs and for progress toward fusion energy generally.
ITER will develop into the major research facility within the International fusion program as well as the key step in demonstrating the scientific feasibility of fusion energy production. To ensure the scientific success of the project and to exploit ITER's potential as a major international scientific research facility, "it is essential to provide the instruments required to address the project's major scientific needs and to develop a scientific community around the project in preparation for the operation and exploitation phases," a sentiment endorsed by the ITER Council.
The Participants in the ITPA are the Members of ITER. The organizational structure consists of one Coordinating Committee and seven Topical Physics Groups as defined in its new Charter. The ITPA Coordinating Committee is composed of three representatives from each Participant and the ITER Organization — the ITER representatives are Valery Chuyanov, David Campbell and Michiya Shimada of ITER Fusion Science & Technology Department.
Last week, the new Coordination Committee met for the fist time in Aix-en-Provence. "This meeting marks a transition, with the ITPA operating under the auspices of ITER to provide a framework for internationally-coordinated research," Ron Stambaugh, Chairman of the Coordination Committee, said.
The ITPA will provide support to ITER in the fulfillment of its mission by helping to create and coordinate a common international research programme and — as ITER is the only burning plasma experiment on the horizon — to advance the physics basis for burning plasma operation in ITER. Each ITPA Topical Groups will therefore be putting together an R&D program in its own areas of expertise which addresses key issues that need to be resolved in developing the ITER scientific program. Integration of experimental results from the international tokamak program will be essential, as will the development of validated models of burning plasma behaviour.
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