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5 million to boost Australian fusion research plan
The Australian fusion science community was well pleased with the government announcement mid-May of much-needed upgrade funding of approximately 5 million Australian dollars for the H-1 National Plasma Fusion Research Facility at the Australian National University. The funding will enable replacement of aging heating systems, allow improvements in plasma performance, and ensure continuity of plasma research activities on the H-1 helical axis stellarator (R=1m, a=0.25m, l=1, m=3) until 2015.
A significant driver for this positive outcome has been the promotional and awareness-raising activities of the Australian ITER Forum. The Forum is a collection of over 100 Australian scientists and engineers who have been lobbying government for an expansion of Australian fusion science, with a view towards an engagement with ITER. Matthew Hole, who is chair of the Forum, stated that "this is a significant endorsement of Australian fusion science, but much still remains to be done to attain our long-term goal."
The plasma physics community aims to build on this success by seeking additional funding from other schemes to develop and demonstrate ITER-relevant diagnostic systems. It is hoped that this new funding boost signals government willingness to embrace a larger-scale engagement with international fusion science, and in particular, the ITER Project.
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