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News & Media

Latest ITER Mag

Latest ITER Newsline

  • Cryoplant | First steps toward commissioning

    Every week since the beginning of November, a tube trailer filled with approximately 4,600 cubic metres (750 kg) of compressed gaseous helium delivers its load [...]

    Read more

  • Training | Seeking the next group of Monaco-ITER Fellows

    Recruitment opens for the next Monaco-ITER Postdoctoral Fellowship campaign on 17 January 2022. If your PhD was awarded after 1 January 2019—or you are about to [...]

    Read more

  • Contemporary art | Venet's "arcs" are as heavy as ITER coils

    A 'conceptual artist' among the most prominent on the art scene today, Bernar Venet is not impressed by massive towering steel structures like those in the ITER [...]

    Read more

  • Image of the week | Final activities on Europe's first sector

    The first vacuum vessel sector produced in Europe will arrive at ITER next year. Five of ITER's nine vacuum vessel sectors are the responsibility of Europe's AM [...]

    Read more

  • Vacuum vessel sector preparation | Lessons learned reduce work time by half

    In life as in the assembly of the ITER machine, 'lessons learned' are what makes progress possible. Gains in wisdom, time, skill, investment can be incremental; [...]

    Read more


Apply now for an ITER internship
01 Dec 2021
The ITER Organization has kicked off its 2022 internship program with the publication of 68 offers on the ITER website (visit Jobs/Internships here: https://www.iter.org/jobs/internships).

These opportunities are geared toward undergraduate and postgraduate students, with a broad array of topics across scientific, technical and support departments. Science, technology, systems engineering, business operations, and construction and installation are all represented in this year's batch of internship opportunities.

Positions are offered for up to six months; some categories are extendable to one year. Apply before 16 February 2022 (or 16 January 2022 for internships beginning in Q1 2022) through the online e-recruiting system. (Please note that internship opportunities are limited to nationals from countries participating in the ITER Project, i.e., China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russian Federation and the United States.)

Seeking the next group of Monaco-ITER Fellows
01 Dec 2021
Recruitment opens for the next Monaco-ITER Postdoctoral Fellowship campaign on 17 January 2022. If your PhD was awarded after 1 January 2019—or you are about to obtain one—and you are interested in participating in one of the great scientific and technical challenges of the 21st century, this may be an opportunity for you.

ITER is seek top candidates with an excellent track record of creativity and accomplishment. Research possibilities exist in many areas of fusion science and technology, including: control technology; plasma-facing materials and components; burning plasma physics (confinement, stability, plasma-wall interactions, control, energetic particle physics); heating and current drive physics and technology; fusion plasma diagnostics; superconducting magnet technology; electrical engineering; mechanical engineering/structural analysis; remote handling technology; vacuum technology and plasma fuelling technology; cryogenics; tokamak operations; tritium breeding and tritium handling technology; and thermohydraulics.

The 2022 campaign opens on 17 January 2022 and closes on 1 March 2022. Five researchers, selected from among applicants from the seven ITER Members or from the Principality of Monaco, will be recruited for two-year positions (all positions must be taken up by 31 December 2021).

For all information, see this ITER webpage.

Download the campaign poster here

French YouTuber releases video on ITER science
22 Nov 2021
Bertrand, creator of the YouTube channel J'm'énerve pas, j'explique ("I don't get mad, I explain"), manages to explain physics, astrophysics and cosmology in videos that blend detailed explanation, home-made graphics and humour. After producing popular videos on particle accelerators, the Large Hadron Collider, and the Higgs boson, he has turned to ITER science. In a 35-minute video release in November 2021 he covers nuclear fusion in the Sun, the history of fusion in the laboratory, and the ambition of the ITER Project. Why will ITER use hydrogen isotopes as fuel? How will the experiment create temperatures of 150 million degrees Celsius? How will materials survive inside of the plasma chamber? Why does the tokamak have to be so large?

You can watch it (in French) on the J'm'énerve pas, j'explique YouTube channel here

Understanding energy
15 Nov 2021
Who knows how much energy 1 joule represents? How much oil does it take to make a mobile phone? How much coal is used in the world? Despite all the debate about this crucial subject, most of us are in fact "energy blind." We often talk about energy without fully appreciating what it means today, or how central it is to all human evolution.

A new book by Greg De Temmerman—an energy physicist with a PhD in experimental physics, managing director at the think tank Zenon Research, and former scientific coordinator at ITER—provides the keys to understanding energy in a fun, short chronicle format.

Available for pre-order in English and French at Editions la Butineuse.

FuseNet Student Council: applicants wanted
15 Nov 2021
FuseNet is the European Fusion Education Network, formed to promote access to fusion education and build a network of people to make fusion a reality.

If you are a fusion enthusiast in the master's or doctoral phase of your education at one of FuseNet's affiliated member associations, you may be qualified to serve on the FuseNet Student Council.

The Student Council—one of the two permanent FuseNet advisory bodies—is charged with advising the Board of Governors on those matters that are of interest to students. The Council predominantly convenes digitally, but it also has at least one physical meeting each year. Members to the Student Council are appointed for one year, renewable once.

Should you wish to apply to become a member of the FuseNet Student Council, send a 400-word motivation letter and one-page curriculum vitae to student.council@fusenet.eu by 1 December 2021.

Read more about the FuseNet Student Council here.

Upcoming: IAEA webinar on fusion
15 Nov 2021
Scientists, engineers, policymakers, entrepreneurs and investors interested in fusion are invited to join the International Atomic Energy Agency's first fusion webinar on Monday, 22 November 2021. Among the planned talks on the potential of fusion as a carbon-free energy source and the technology needed to make it possible, Takayoshi Omae will present the "Way Forward for the Fusion Community" on behalf of the ITER Organization. The webinar will also include a panel discussion with chair Melanie Windridge (Fusion Industry Association), who will also welcome questions from participants.

This event, hosted by IAEA's Sehila M. Gonzalez de Vicente, begins at 17:00 CEST and closes at 19:15. Participation is free, but registration is required. Please visit the original announcement, here, for registration details and more information.

(Added on 30 November 2021: You can find the recording of the event here.)

COP26 replay: Looking to the future with fusion energy
15 Nov 2021
Fusion energy promises a step change in the way the world's future energy demands are met in a low-carbon, safe and sustainable way.

This was the message from scientists and engineers from the fusion energy community to world leaders on the final day of the COP26 conference in Glasgow, on Friday 12 November 2021.

The event, titled "Looking to the Future with Fusion Energy," featured a diverse range of international voices from the fusion community, with a spectrum of perspectives on fusion energy. The science and engineering challenges involved, the status of ITER, and emerging commercial ventures were all part of the discussion. Panel chair Bernard Bigot, ITER Director-General, was joined on stage by Aneeqa Khan, Research Fellow in Fusion at the University of Manchester and former Monaco-ITER Fellow; Sibylle Günter, head of the Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics; Amanda Quadling, Director of Materials at the UK Atomic Energy Authority; and Jane Hotchkiss, President of Energy for the Common Good.

Watch the one-hour panel discussion here.

UKAEA's Ian Chapman: Fusion requires "Covid-scale" investment
12 Nov 2021
The world needs to mount a "Covid-scale" investment worth hundreds of billions of pounds in green technologies if it is to tackle global warming, the head of Britain's nuclear fusion program Ian Chapman warned in an interview with i News on 11 November.

Speaking ahead of a forum on fusion power at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, the chief executive of  the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) warned that global leaders have not yet fully grasped the urgency and importance of fully funding existing and emerging technologies such as fusion, carbon capture and next generation solar power to provide a full portfolio of green energy sources.

"There are all sorts of things that we should be investing hundreds of billions into and we're not. Globally, we are spending hundreds of billions this year on extracting fossil fuels. As a [global] society, we don't have our priorities in the right place. We should realize that this is an existential problem and deal with it in the same way that we have approached Covid-19, where we have invested heavily in the technology that it going to get us out of the crisis. If we treated climate change in the same way, of course we would deal with it quicker."

Chapman argues that fusion has the potential to replace gas and coal as the source of "base load" continuous energy production to supplement weather-dependent sources of green power.

See the full interview at iNews.

Image credit: KSTAR

INFUSED: A clearinghouse for fusion education
10 Nov 2021
On "Youth and Public Empowerment Day" at COP26, ITER and a group of global partners launch INFUSED—the International Fusion Education Initiative. The program curates quality fusion education materials and makes them available to interested students, educators and members of the public. Lectures, MOOCs, videos, virtual tours, games, DIY projects ... see all materials on this ITER webpage: https://www.iter.org/education/infused

New US fusion energy website
10 Nov 2021
The U.S. Fusion Outreach Team, a grassroots organization in the fusion community focused on reducing barriers to outreach efforts, has launched a new centralized website to engage an expanding workforce, media, educators, and the public in the journey toward a world powered by fusion energy.

Steffi Diem and Arturo Dominguez, co-leaders of the U.S. Fusion Outreach Team, are coordinating this effort. "We're excited to launch the U.S. Fusion Energy website to provide resources and up-to-date news on our field," said Dominguez. Diem also added, "We hope that this website will engage the public to be part of the fusion movement, recruit a diverse workforce and to provide a community for U.S. fusioneers."

To learn more, visit the website here.

Source: Phys.org

COP26 replay: Fusion Energy—the State of Art
09 Nov 2021
In the Action Hub amphitheatre at COP26, the ITER Organization was invited to present the status of fusion research—both in the south of France, where ITER is being assembled, and worldwide.

Follow the link below to take the Fusion World Tour as presented by Matteo Barbarino (IAEA), Aneeqa Khan (Research Fellow in Fusion at the University of Manchester and former Monaco-ITER Fellow), and Sabina Griffith (ITER Organization). 

Watch a replay of the 4 November 2021 event here

COP26 replay: Net Zero World/The Youth Perspective
08 Nov 2021
As part of Youth Day at United Nations Climate Change Conference, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) organized an event titled "Net Zero World: The Youth Perspective Today & The Future."

The second panel discussion programmed during the event focused on nuclear fusion's role in long-term sustainable energy and examined how international collaboration and innovation can be used to address technical and commercial challenges. "Nuclear Energy—Net Zero Beyond 2050" featured ITER Project Associate Nitendra Singh (nuclear safety engineer) and former Monaco-ITER Fellow Aneeqa Khan (current Research Fellow in Fusion at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom).

Watch a replay of the 5 November 2021 event here. (Forward to 1:14:15 for the start of the second panel discussion.) 

UKAEA Fusion Fellowships open
08 Nov 2021
Each year the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) aims to appoint outstanding scientists or engineers who have recently completed a doctorate to a two-year research fellowship in any field of fusion research conducted at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE). Candidates need to be highly motivated and show initiative.

The latest campaign is open for application through 17 December 2021

Applicants should possess a degree in physics, engineering, materials science or other relevant subject; a relevant PhD  (preferably in fusion research); a record of peer-reviewed publication in high-quality journals; a high degree of motivation and initiative; and good written and oral communication skills.

See all information on the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE/UKAEA) website.

--Photo credit: UKAEA

Tokamak Building: flat white
08 Nov 2021
All seven levels of the ITER Tokamak Building are now covered in smooth and shiny white paint. 

In a nuclear building, the coating on the floors, walls and ceilings must present a perfectly smooth surface in order to be decontaminated in case of an incident or accident. 

European Domestic Agency contractors used approximately 150 tonnes of resin, primer and paint to transform the raw concrete surfaces of the building into a pristine jewel box. Work continues in the nearby Tritium Building, Site Services Building, and Radio Frequency Building. 

See a recent article on the Fusion for Energy website for more information.

Calling applicants to the FUSION-EP 2022 program
25 Oct 2021
FUSION-EP, organized with the support of the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, was created in 2006 to train the next generation of fusion physicists and engineers. Students spend two years studying advanced fusion science and technology to earn a Master of Science in Nuclear Fusion and Engineering Physics.

Applications for the 2022 academic year are opening soon—on 15 November—and will close on 31 January 2022. FUSION-EP also awards scholarships to top-ranked students to cover the participation fee and offers a monthly allowance for two years. And though Aix-Marseille Université is the coordinating institution, there are participating universities all across Europe where students can pursue the FUSION-EP degree.

To learn more about the program, visit the FUSION-EP site here. To apply, see the application page here.

Coming up: virtual Open Doors Day at ITER
25 Oct 2021
The ITER Organization is organizing a virtual Open Doors Day on Wednesday, 27 October 2021.

The three-hour event will be offered in English (afternoon) and French (morning). "Visitors" who sign up through an on-line portal will have a chance to attend a general presentation on the ITER Project, take self-guided virtual visits through the main buildings on site, and browse through a virtual exhibition centre featuring some of ITER's manufacturing and construction partners.

A number of surprises are also planned ... think virtual reality, DIY, livestreams and we've even heard a rumour about a "plasmagician," but we have no more information at this time ... 

(Age recommendation: 7 and up). More than 1,000 people have signed up. Will you join them?

Follow the links to sign up in English or French.

French YouTuber hits 330K views first week with feature on ITER
19 Oct 2021
Dimitri Ferrière, alias Monsieur Bidouille, is a French maker and well known scientific populizer on YouTube whose curiosity takes him from the exploration of topics as varied as perpetual motion and energy, to the internet, space, and the climate. 

Bidouiller, which can be loosely translated as "tinkering,'' "fiddling around to fix," or "creating," is at the centre of his interest in DIY, fablab and alternative solutions.

In September 2021, he released a 50-minute video on ITER, based on a three-day visit to the project site in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance in April 2021. The video reached 330,000 views the first week.

You can watch it (in French) on Monsieur Bidouille's YouTube channel here.

Fusion PhDs to gather in November
18 Oct 2021
Join fellow fusion PhD candidates from all over Europe next month at the annual PhD Event organized by the European Fusion Education Network, FuseNet.

The event, held on line from 22 to 23 November 2021, will feature high-profile keynote speakers, a top-notch scientific program and the much anticipate PechaKucha contest, where students present their research in 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide. There will also be moments to "gather" thanks to creative on-line offerings through the event platform Gather.town.

Registration is open through 31 October 2021 here. See all information on the FuseNet website.

Coming up: virtual Open Doors Day at ITER
11 Oct 2021
The ITER Organization is organizing a virtual Open Doors Day on Wednesday, 27 October 2021.

The three-hour event will be offered in English (afternoon) and French (morning). "Visitors" who sign up through an on-line portal will have a chance to attend a general presentation on the ITER Project, take self-guided virtual visits through the main buildings on site, and browse through a virtual exhibition centre featuring some of ITER's manufacturing and construction partners.

A number of surprises are also planned ... think virtual reality, DIY, livestreams and we've even heard a rumour about a "plasmagician," but we have no more information at this time ... 

(Age recommendation: 7 and up).

Follow the links to sign up in English or French.

Towards a "hydrogen economy"
11 Oct 2021
Whether burning in a fuel cell or engine, or "fusing" in a tokamak, hydrogen will play a major role in clean energy production and consumption. In a recent article in the The European Files, ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot explores the potential benefits of a (near) future "hydrogen economy" that would include fusion as a "highly concentrated baseload energy source" and as a technology that could "produce clean hydrogen" to, among different uses, power transport vehicles.

"Like electricity, hydrogen is not a primary fuel," writes the ITER Director-General. It is produced using different energy sources, fossil fuels among them. Therefore, the environmental impact of this "grey hydrogen" is far from being neutral.

"To make the hydrogen economy truly green," he argues, "we will need a clean source of concentrated baseload energy." Hydrogen fusion has all the characteristics to fill that requirement.

Read the full article here.

Global engineering opportunities in big science
11 Oct 2021
The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the European Space Agency (ESA), ITER and the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO) came together to host an online career event on 5 October 2021. The information session was designed to inform participants of the many diverse options available for engineers interested in science, technology and space. Four speakers represented the four organizations involved in the event:

Anna Cook from CERN

Elena Saenz from ESA

Deirdre Boilson from ITER

Maria Gracia Labarte from SKAO

These four representatives discussed not only what their organizations do, but also explained what the working culture is like and what they love about their jobs. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to apply, they agreed. Passion is most important.

Though the event was held via livestream, a recording is available on YouTube here.

Power to the People: a new travelling exhibition by EUROfusion
08 Oct 2021
The European Consortium for the Development of Fusion Energy, EUROfusion, is premiering a travelling exhibition on fusion energy that aims to be both educational and participatory.

Fusion, Power to the People, which opens on 8 October in Marseille, France, combines science, art and technology to make a complex topic accessible to all kinds of audiences. The exhibition looks to the past, present and future to help visitors understand what powers the Sun and stars, and show the efforts being made to harness that potential as a new source of clean, abundant and safe energy. Visitors will have the opportunity to download a mobile application for a truly interactive experience.

The exhibition is open, free of charge, in Marseille from 8 October through 19 December. (See information in English and French.) After Marseille, Fusion, Power to the People will travel across Europe.

Manchester Festival of Climate Action
05 Oct 2021
The University of Manchester is hosting a virtual event on the challenges of and possible solutions to climate change from 11-14 October 2021. Over these four days, the festival will use presentations and discussion panels to share four goals: mitigation, adaptation, finance and collaboration. Each day of the event focuses on a different goal and a different question, as posed by the University of Manchester:

11 October: Mitigation

How do we secure global net zero?

12 October: Adaptation

How can we protect our communities and natural habitats?

13 October: Finance

How do we finance change?

14 October: Collaboration

How can we turn ambition into reality?

To answer that final question, ITER will be part of a panel called "Turning fusion from a dream to a reality." Sabina Griffith, Communications Officer, will represent ITER in this panel to discuss the potential of nuclear fusion as a sustainable source of energy. This panel will take place from 18-19:00 CEST, and the entire event is free and open to anyone who would like to attend.

Registration and a full schedule of events may be found at the original announcement here.

IAEA fusion webinar
04 Oct 2021
Scientists, engineers, policymakers, entrepreneurs and investors interested in fusion are invited to join the International Atomic Energy Agency's first fusion webinar on Monday, 22 November 2021. Among the planned talks on the potential of fusion as a carbon-free energy source and the technology needed to make it possible, Takayoshi Omae will present "Way Forward for the Fusion Community" on behalf of the ITER Organization. The webinar will also include a panel discussion with chair Melanie Windridge (Fusion Industry Association), who will also welcome questions from participants.

This event, hosted by IAEA's Sehila M. Gonzalez de Vicente, begins at 17:00 CEST and closes at 19:15. Participation is free, but registration is required. Please visit the original announcement, here, for registration details and more information.

Announcing the Nordic ITER Business Forum
04 Oct 2021
The European Commission and the Industry Liaison Officers of Denmark, Sweden and Finland have organized an event to inform regional businesses about the ITER Project. Both the ITER Organization and Fusion for Energy will present during the forum, and there will also be opportunities for businesses to meet and network.

Depending on how the COVID-19 situation develops in the coming months, the Nordic ITER Business Forum may be held virtually or in-person at the Technical University of Denmark in Copenhagen. The event will take place from 19 to 20 January 2022, starting at noon CEST and ending at noon the following day.

Registration is open nowplease visit the original announcement here to register.

ITER Talks | Magnet System
04 Oct 2021
Neil Mitchell hosts the third ITER Talks video, now available to watch on ITER's YouTube channel. The former Head of the Magnet Division gives viewers a closer look at how magnets contain and control plasma inside the tokamak.

In his presentation, Neil explains how the superconducting magnetic coils are created and used. Even minor changes within the coils can cause a shift in the magnetic field, and Neil highlights the great need for precision and care as experts work on the coils.

Future installments in the ITER Talks series will focus on other aspects of the ITER Project. Watch the third episode in the series here.

ITER @ IAEA 2021
27 Sep 2021
Each year, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) holds a General Conference to discuss topics of nuclear science and technology as well as budgetary and administrative issues. The 65th annual conference took place from 20-24 September 2021 at the Vienna International Centre in Austria, where a number of projects and organizations, including ITER, joined to share their progress with the world.

ITER was represented by Laban Coblentz, head of Communication. In his statement, delivered on behalf of ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot, he emphasized the benefits of the relationship between ITER and the IAEA. As ITER creates the first reactor-scale fusion device, the IAEA has the opportunity to take this blueprint and develop guidelines for fusion around the world. He also reported on ITER's assembly progress and the project's impact on the fusion community.

"Above all, the ITER Project is a tangible demonstration that multinational collaboration is possible at a practical level with countries that are not always aligned on all items," Coblentz said. "But at ITER we are working hand-in-hand toward a common goal: to leave a better legacy with regard to clean energy supply for our children and future generations."

For more information on the 2021 General Conference, see the IAEA site here.

Apply now: SOFT Innovation Prize
27 Sep 2021
The pursuit of fusion has led to many promising advancements in physics and technology. To highlight excellence in fusion research and innovation, and to stimulate the fusion research community to strengthen innovation and foster an entrepreneurial culture, the European Commission is offering to reward three fusion innovation proposals.

The SOFT Innovation Prize is open to researchers, research teams and industry players who would like to propose devices or methods that have been developed in magnetic confinement fusion research. Each proposal will be judged on its market potential and replicability as well as its originality.

The contest opened on 15 September 2021 and will close on 18 January 2022 at 17:00 CEST. After the proposals have been reviewed, prizes will be awarded at the 32nd Symposium on Fusion Technology (SOFT) in September 2022.

To learn more or submit a proposal, see the original announcement here.

FuseNet Master Event
20 Sep 2021
From 5-6 October, FuseNet is hosting a virtual event for students pursuing their master's degree at a European university in fusion-related fields. The program will mix educational and social events so students can meet and network while learning about the industry and science of fusion. Speakers will present on different aspects of fusion to the whole group or in smaller side sessions.

On the second day of the event, there will be a Fusion Power Pitch competition that invites attendees to present for 180 seconds on a fusion topic of interest. However, due to the limited time of the event, only 15-20 presentations will be selected and FuseNet asks applicants to add a short pitch to their registration form if they would like to participate in the Fusion Power Pitch.

The event starts on 5 October at 9:00 CEST and ends the following day at 18:00. To learn more, please see the original announcement on FuseNet's site here. (Registration is still possible, but participation in all events cannot be guaranteed.)

Open call for non-fusion applications of fusion technologies
20 Sep 2021
Until 15 October, the European agency Fusion for Energy is holding an open call for European companies and organizations to send in applications for proposals of non-fusion applications of fusion technologies and processes. Fusion has brought new advances in science and technology, and some of these innovations may be useful in other contexts outside of fusion.

This open call encourages applicants to think creatively and practically; Fusion for Energy will evaluate applications based on their feasibility, their innovation potential and their socio-economic impact on the company and ecosystem. Once the open call ends, Fusion for Energy will select one application to receive EUR 35,000 in funding. The results will be announced around January 2022.

On 21 September, there will be an information and Q&A session so interested parties may learn more. The event will start at 11:00 CEST and will run until noon, allowing for presentations from Fusion for Energy and for audience questions. Registration for the information session may be found here.

For more details about the open call and how to submit an application, visit the original announcement by Fusion for Energy here.

ITER Talks | Blanket System
13 Sep 2021
The ITER Talks series was introduced over the summer as a new outlet to educate viewers on the ITER Organization and fusion science. The first video, available for viewing here, was hosted by Laban Coblentz, head of Communications, and served as a general introduction to ITER.

The second instalment, just released, delves into one of the major machine components: the blanket. René Raffray, ITER's Blanket Section leader, presents the many functions of the blanket system and the process of its construction.

René also recounts the history of blanket design, as it adapted to new knowledge uncovered over the years. The current design is complex, with many smaller pieces that must come together before the blanket is ready to be installed. Once the blanket is complete, it will act as a shield to protect the vacuum vessel from the energy produced by the fusion reaction.

Watch the second episode of the ITER Talks here.

Podcast | Building stars on Earth
07 Sep 2021
Friday, 3 September, Climate Now released a podcast and video episode featuring Aneeqa Khan, Research Fellow in Nuclear Fusion at the University of Manchester (and former Monaco-ITER Postdoctoral Fellow), and Sir Steven Cowley, director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. These experts discussed the current engineering hurdles in developing a sustainable fusion reaction and the future of fusion as a competitive energy source.

Climate Now is a multimedia resource that explains the key scientific ideas, technologies and policies relevant to the global climate crisis. Their mission is to provide policy makers, business leaders, investors and journalists with the scientific and economic context necessary to make good decisions about policy formulation, capital allocation and narrative focus.

Listen to the podcast here, or watch the video here.

European Fusion Teacher Day 2021: 1 October
06 Sep 2021
The European Fusion Education Network, FuseNet, is organizing its second annual European Fusion Teacher Day on 1 October 2021. Open to all secondary school science and physics teachers in Europe, the virtual event aims to introduce educators to nuclear fusion and exchange about how the subject can be taught in school. The ultimate goal is to increase exposure of students to the subject at the secondary level in order to spark interest and enthusiasm in the field.

Because the event is open to educators across Europe, the half-day program begins with local sessions via Zoom. After the local sessions, participants will come together for a global livestream from 15.00-17.00 CEST before returning to a local follow-up session. The ITER Organization is one of the featured participants during the global livestream. 

Participation is free and registration is open now. See this page to learn more.

Three hundred teachers participated in last year's event. Read more about the first European Fusion Teacher Day here.

Fusion-based intellectual property filings on the rise
06 Sep 2021
The journal Fusion Engineering and Design has published an article reporting research done by George Washington University's Business School on the growth of fusion patent filings. This paper, written by Elias G. Carayannis and John Draper, and entitled "The growth of intellectual property ownership in the private-sector fusion industry," examines the increase in applications for fusion-related patents over the past several years.

In particular, Carayannis and Draper focus on the patents of Fusion Industry Association (FIA) members. FIA is a US-based trade association and brings together private-sector fusion energy companies. This paper not only examines how many patents these FIA members have introduced, but also organizes the patents by type to show the variety of technology being created and protected as intellectual property. Most of these patents have not yet been granted, but the increase of filing activity highlights the rapid expansion of fusion projects and technology in recent years.

See the full article here. (Elias G. Carayannis, John Draper (2021), The growth of intellectual property ownership in the private-sector fusion industry, Fusion Engineering and Design, Volume 173, 112815, ISSN 0920-3796.)

ITER participates in Russian Science Marathon
23 Aug 2021
On Friday, 20 August, the Homo-Science Marathon took place in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. The event was organized by Rosatom and the Znaniye Foundation for the purpose of discussing recent scientific accomplishments and building a bridge between fundamental and applied research.

The Marathon was opened by Rosatom CEO Alexey Likhachev. ITER Senior Advisor Alexander Alekseev presented the ITER fusion project and Lei Chen, one of the ITER-Monaco postdoctoral researchers, talked about her personal motivation in pursuing a career in fusion science.

See this link to the event: https://homo-science.ru/

UKAEA Contest: "The Art of Fusion"
27 Jul 2021
The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) holds an annual art competition, "The Art of Fusion," so residents of the United Kingdom can display their artistic skills while highlighting the beauty and complexity of fusion science. This year, the theme of the contest shifts specifically to sustainability and the role of fusion as a sustainable source of energy. Entrants are encouraged to recycle materials for their artwork and get creative with the theme of sustainability.

The winners and runners-up of the competition will be invited to tour the Culham Science Centre in South Oxfordshire. The winners' artwork will be showcased on the UKAEA website and printed on postcards to be used at UKAEA events.

The competition opened on 22 July and will close on 16 September. Judging is split into three age categories: 7-12 years, 13-17 years, and 18 years and older. Entries are accepted via the UKAEA's website, and further details on the competition can be found there as well.

FuseNet Master Event
23 Jul 2021
Are you currently a fusion or plasma physics master student, or are you starting next academic year? Looking for an opportunity to meet the community and learn more about this fascinating subject?

On 5 and 6 October 2021, FuseNet (the European Fusion Education Network) is organizing its first-ever Master Event. All master students in fusion-related fields are welcome to join the online event. The event will be interesting to both students who are just getting started in fusion, and to students who are graduating. In two days, you will learn about state-of-the-art fusion topics and the role of industry in interactive lectures.

During the casual social events you will meet fusion students from all over the world, and create a network of future colleagues.

To register, see this page.

JT-60SA: The latest on integrated commissioning
22 Jul 2021
The JT-60SA tokamak—a joint program of fusion research and development agreed and co-financed by the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the government of Japan—entered its integrated commissioning phase in late 2020, after a six-year project to modify and modernize the existing JT-60U tokamak at the Naka Fusion Institute in Japan.

During the step-by-step integrated commissioning process, the air was first evacuated from the vacuum vessel and surrounding cryostat before the device's superconducting magnets were slowly cooled to the temperature of 4 K (- 269 °C). Next, the vacuum vessel was "baked" to 200 °C to rid it of moisture and any possible residual contaminants. Finally the magnets were energized—first independently and then as a full group.

In March 2021, during the coil energization test of poloidal field coil EF1, feeder joints were damaged. Experts from both Japan and Europe investigated the cause of the damage and determined that the joints of the EF1 feeders needed to be reinforced with greater insulation.

Repairs will be carried out on the incriminated joints and others to prevent recurrence of the incident. Once the repairs and improvements are completed, EF1 will undergo further testing to determine that it can withstand even worst-case conditions and ensure that it is ready for operation.

JT-60SA integrated commissioning is expected to resume in February 2022.

Find out more on the JT-60SA website.

News from the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator
13 Jul 2021
Thanks to a newly-installed actively-cooled exhaust, the German stellarator Wendelstein 7-X at IPP Greifswald will be able to maintain its fusion plasma for up to 30 minutes—a fusion milestone.

On Friday 18 June 2021, the last of a total of 60 divertor modules was installed in the Wendelstein 7-X plasma vessel. With this, an extremely important technical milestone was reached and, after 20 months of assembly time, all actively-cooled divertor target modules have now been successfully integrated. 

The current engineering shutdown will continue throughout the year so that a new and improved W7-X can restart its fusion experiments in 2022. According to the current plan, the assembly of the remaining vessel installations, including rework, can be completed by 9 December 2021.

Read the original story here.

Japanese-language webinar on ITER
08 Jul 2021
On 29 July 2021, join the Head of the Japanese Domestic Agency, Makoto Sugimoto, and ITER Chief Strategist, Takayoshi Omae, for a Japanese-language webinar on the ITER Project. 

The webinar is open to all and is free of charge. The panelists will introduce nuclear fusion, give the latest updates on the ITER Project, and take questions from participants.

See all information at this link.

European Fusion Teacher Day 2021: 1 October
06 Jul 2021
The European Fusion Education Network, FuseNet, is organizing the second annual European Fusion Teacher Day on 1 October 2021. Open to all secondary school science and physics teachers in Europe, the virtual event aims to introduce educators to nuclear fusion and exchange about how the subject can be taught in school. The ultimate goal is to increase exposure of students to the subject at the secondary level in order to spark interest and enthusiasm in the field.

Because the event is open to educators across Europe, the half-day program begins with local sessions via Zoom. After the local sessions, participants will come together for a global livestream from 15.00-17.00 CEST before returning to a local follow-up session. The ITER Organization is one of the featured speakers during the global livestream; other representatives of the international fusion community will be announced soon. 

Participation is free and registration is open now. See this page to learn more.

Three hundred teachers participated in last year's event. Read more about the first European Fusion Teacher Day here.

IAEA Technical Meeting on Fusion Data Processing announced
24 Jun 2021
IAEA Technical Meeting on Fusion Data Processing, Validation and Analysis will take place from 30 November to 3 December 2021 in Chengdu, China, with both in-person and remote participation foreseen.

The objective of the meeting is to provide a forum for discussing topics of relevance to fusion data processing, validation and analysis with a view to addressing the needs of next-step fusion devices such as ITER. The validation and analysis of experimental data obtained from diagnostics used to characterize fusion plasmas are crucial for a knowledge-based understanding of the physical processes governing the dynamics of these plasmas. The meeting aims, in particular, at fostering discussions about research and development advancements in these topics made in the current major fusion confinement devices. A special focus will be placed upon data analysis for ITER and DEMO, with particular attention paid to opportunities for the use of Artificial Intelligence for control activities.

More details, including how to contribute, can be found here.

ITER's history of diplomacy
17 Jun 2021
An article published in History and Technology on 1 June 2021 explores ITER's history of diplomatic negotiations. A project of such magnitude, author Anna Åberg points out, requires collaboration and compromise as people from vastly different backgrounds come together to create a complex machine.

"This is true not only for the top-level politicians," Åberg writes, "[but also] all the way down to the work site itself where German welders may work under Indian supervision following French nuclear-safety protocols."

Collaboration within ITER has changed over time as the project becomes more complex and participants face a variety of new challenges. The realization of the ITER machine is only possible when everyone is willing to compromise and come together to solve evolving issues.

Read the original article here.

"Super-H Mode" shows growing promise at DIII-D
14 Jun 2021
A high-performance fusion regime called Super-H mode is being used on the DIII-D tokamak (US) to test methods to control heat and particle flow at the edge of the fusion plasma. 

The theoretical model for Super-H Mode was developed several years ago by researchers at General Atomics (which operates DIII-D for the US Department of Energy's Office of Science), the University of York (UK), and the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (UK). It works by increasing temperature and pressure in the outer region of the plasma, called the pedestal. Higher pressures and temperatures at the pedestal lead to much higher fusion performance in the core.

The new approach uses advanced control algorithms and optimized methods of cooling the edge of the plasma without excessively degrading reactions in the core. The results identify a pathway for increased performance at ITER and the fusion power plants that will follow.

Read the full press release here.

-- Image courtesy of General Atomics.

Now available: virtual visits of ITER
07 Jun 2021
The ITER Organization has added a permanent virtual visit option to its visit program.

Developed in reply to the COVID-19 pandemic and the necessary restrictions to in-person visiting, the virtual visit now co-exists alongside other options, including individual and group visits, on the ITER webpage dedicated to visitors.

The virtual visit option will remain available to the public even after COVID-related restrictions end, allowing fusion aficionados from around the globe a chance to better appreciate the progress on the ITER construction site.

What can you expect from a virtual visit? In approximately 90 minutes, the ITER visit team will introduce you to the world of fusion, before explaining the ITER Project in detail. Highlights include a video shot by drone and a tour of all the main buildings on site through immersive 360° images.  

If you are interested in booking a virtual visit of ITER, please see the Visits page of the ITER website and click on "Virtual Visits." The calendar indicates the open slots for group or individual virtual visits in either English or French.  

Come and join us. We look forward to welcoming you (virtually) to ITER!

--The ITER Visits team

"Fusioneers" unite in Denmark
31 May 2021
Four Danish universities have collaborated to create DANfusion, a government-funded consortium allowing researchers to work together and share resources as they study fusion physics and engineering. DANfusion includes research groups from the Technical University of Denmark, Aarhus University, Aalborg University, and the University of Southern Denmark.

Through DANfusion funding, researchers will have the opportunity to visit national and international fusion experiments to gain greater knowledge in their field, and to accumulate hands-on experience through fusion-relevant summer schools and resources like the Technical University of Denmark's NORTH tokamak.

The overarching goal of DANfusion is to strengthen the bond among national scientific communities through shared knowledge and united research efforts.

Read the EUROfusion announcement here.

Webinar: Mobilizing Investment into Fusion Energy
28 May 2021
The Stellar Energy Foundation and co-host Fusion Industry Association are holding a webinar, entitled "Mobilizing Investment into Fusion Energy," on 24 June 2021.

The event features Ralph Izzo, the Chairman, President and CEO of Public Service Enterprise Group Incorporated (PSEG), and Paul Dabbar, former Under Secretary for Science with the U.S. Department of Energy. The moderator, Chris Gadomski, is the Head of Research, Nuclear at BloombergNEF.

The webinar will take place from 22:00-23:00 CEST. There is no fee to attend, but please contact kfortini@stellarenergyfoundation.org to be added to the invitation database.

Read the original event announcement here.

A video recording of the webinar is available here.

ITER International School: new dates
26 May 2021
The ITER Organization plans a regular, one-week ITER International School for young scientists and engineers around a specific theme. The School locations alternate between France and one of the seven ITER Members. 

Before the global pandemic made travel and gathering impossible, a 2020 ITER International School, co-organized with Aix-Marseille University (France), was planned on the topic of "The Impact and Consequences of Energetic Particles in Fusion Plasmas." First pushed back to 2021, the decision has now been made to hold this School in summer 2023. More details will be provided on the re-scheduled IIS 2020 in autumn 2022 on this ITER webpage.

In the interim, a summer 2022 ITER International School will be hosted by the US Burning Plasma Organization. Further details will be published about IIS 2022 on the ITER website in autumn 2021.

The FEC goes to London in 2023
21 May 2021
The 29th biennial IAEA Fusion Energy Conference will be held in London in October 2023, hosted by the UK Atomic Energy Authority's Culham Centre for Fusion Energy. Further details on the event will be shared as information becomes available.

Watch the original announcement by UKAEA here

Fusion research: social scientists and humanities scholars weigh in
21 May 2021
A virtual symposium on fusion research will take place on Friday, 18 June, from 1:30-6:00 p.m. CEST.

This event is organized by PhD students Richelle Boone (Leiden University) and Michiel Bron (Maastricht University), and aims to explore fusion from the perspectives of social sciences and the humanities. The symposium will feature seven sessions with experts presenting the historical, philosophical, sociological, economic and political aspects of fusion.

The symposium is free to attend, but registration is required.

See the event page here.

(P.S. The event was recorded and can be viewed back through this link.)

IAEA Bulletin: Fusion Energy
20 May 2021
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) publishes a quarterly Bulletin dedicated to educating readers on nuclear technology and its peaceful uses. The latest volume of the Bulletin explores the possibilities of fusion.

The Bulletin contains thirteen articles that explain the mechanics of fusion and highlight a few of the fusion projects currently developing around the world, including the ITER project. An article written by Wolfgang Picot, entitled "ITER: The World's Largest Fusion Experiment," offers a snapshot of ITER's progress in making fusion a reality.

The IAEA Bulletin, both current and past, is free to browse online. Find the latest issue on fusion here.

Students of fusion: design a book cover for the IAEA
05 May 2021
The International Atomic Energy Agency, supported by the European Fusion Education Network FuseNet, is about to release a new textbook on fusion technology. The publication is a follow-up to the IAEA textbook on fusion physics, which is consultable here

All Bachelor, Masters and Doctoral students of fusion are invited to submit a cover design proposal, in a Book Cover Contest that ends on Wednesday 30 June 2021. 

See all information and instructions on the FuseNet website.

PhDiaFusion 2021 announced
04 May 2021
Organized every two years by CEA Cadarache (France) and the Institute of Nuclear Physics PAN (Poland), the PhDiaFusion Summer School of Plasma Diagnostics is designed for graduate students and their tutors in the spirit of a "master and apprentice" approach.

The next edition will be held from 20 to 24 September 2021 on the topic of "Neutron diagnostics development for ITER, DEMO and IFMIF-DONES." 

For all information visit this page.

Reminder: One week to FEC 2020
03 May 2021
The 28th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2020) kicks off in just one week on 10 May 2021. For anyone who would like to join as an observer, you must register through this link by 7 May 2021. (Please note: observers can watch all presentations, but will not have access to the Q&A feature of the virtual platform or be able to interact.)

The biennial Fusion Energy Conference is the premier gathering for the international fusion science community. It fosters the exchange of scientific and technical results in nuclear fusion research and development and provides a forum for the discussion of key physics and technology issues as well as innovative concepts of direct relevance to the use of nuclear fusion as a future source of energy.

The 28th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference will be held as a virtual web congress from 10 to 15 May 2021. Organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is supported by the Government of France through the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and the ITER Organization.

To learn more about the six-day event, please visit the conference website: https://fec2020.fr/ 

58th Culham Plasma Physics Summer School
29 Apr 2021
The 58h Culham Plasma Physics Summer School, planned in person from 6 to 17 September 2021, is open for applications.

The aim of the Summer School is to provide an introduction to the fundamental principles of plasma physics, together with a broad understanding of its fields of application. The organizers of the School assume no previous knowledge of the subject, but familiarity with electromagnetism and applied mathematics at first degree level would be helpful. Lecturers are drawn from the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL), and leading European universities. All are renowned experts in their fields.

The deadline for applications is 30 July.

For more details please visit: https://culhamsummerschool.org.uk/

Fusion CDT: Autumn 2021 applications open now
29 Apr 2021
The EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in the Science and Technology of Fusion Energy is accepting applications for Autumn 2021 entry (plasma strand).

Potential projects are listed on this Fusion CDT webpage

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the main UK government agency for funding research and training in engineering and the physical sciences. Students undertake a 4 year PhD, where the first year allows students to explore the research area and build strong expertise in their "home" discipline while developing the skills and knowledge to cross disciplinary boundaries effectively. Students also undertake a formal programme of taught coursework to develop and enhance technical knowledge across a range of appropriate disciplines, as well as enhancing skills.

Qualified overseas applicants are welcome to apply; however, the availability of fully funded positions is limited.

For all application information see this page on the Fusion CDT website.

IAEA webinar: Careers for women in fusion (14 April)
08 Apr 2021
Are you a female student or a young professional in the field of nuclear physics or nuclear engineering? Are you wondering in which area to specialize, or what the right next step in your career is? Then this IAEA webinar featuring careers for women in fusion science and technology might be the right one for you!

Five renowned female fusion experts will highlight their own career paths and what motivated them to start working and stay in this field. They will discuss the role of women in fusion science and technology, what is needed to increase the representation of female experts in this field and why fusion offers a promising career for women. 

Date: 15:00 CET on 14 April 2021
Register for the event here: https://bit.ly/2Phnggv
Password for the event: fusion1!

Document deadlines for the Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2020)
31 Mar 2021
The 28th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2020) will take place on line from 10 to 15 May 2021. Deadlines are fast approaching for the submittal of documents:

Deadline for submitting manuscripts and other materials (presentations, summary slides, posters, journal articles): 9 April 2021

Deadline for submitting recorded presentations: 15 April 2021 

See the IAEA FEC 2020 website for guidelines and uploading instructions. To register as an observer complete Form A here (right margin). Potential sponsors and journalists should consult the local organizer website here.

A new design for a compact fusion reactor in the United States
30 Mar 2021
Scientists at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego, California, have released a new design for a compact fusion reactor that can generate electricity and help define the technology necessary for commercial fusion power. The approach is based on the "Advanced Tokamak" concept pioneered by the DIII-D program, which enables a higher-performance, self-sustaining configuration that holds energy more efficiently than in typical pulsed configurations, allowing it to be built at a reduced scale and cost.

"The key to our approach is to raise the pressure inside the tokamak," said project lead Dr. Richard Buttery. "This makes more fusion occur, allowing us to reduce the current, which in turn makes the plasma easier to sustain and more stable. Our simulations show that by carefully shaping the plasma and moving the current toward its edge, we can suppress turbulent heat losses and support higher pressures at lower currents, to reach a state where the plasma sustains itself. This enables a device that can simply be turned on, generating electricity continuously in a steady state."

Read the General Atomics press release here.

Inside an ITER vacuum vessel factory
30 Mar 2021
A new video issued by Fusion for Energy, the European Domestic Agency, takes us onto the shop floor at Walter Tosto where three ITER vacuum vessel sectors are in various stages of fabrication.

Each 440-tonne sector is formed from four segments, and each segment requires the same step-by-step fabrication route: contractors form and weld the inner shell, attach inner ribs and support housings, install in-wall shielding blocks, and—in the final activity to complete the segments—fit and weld the outer shell.

Europe—responsible for delivering five sectors to ITER—is working with the AMW Consortium (Ansaldo Nucleare, Mangiarotti, Walter Tosto) and an extensive network of European subcontractors. At Walter Tosto, in Chieti, Italy, teams are currently finalizing dimension checks on the sub-parts of sector #5, and completing welding on the segments of sectors #4 and #9.

Watch the two-minute video here.

A promising pathway for high-performance fusion plasmas?
15 Mar 2021
Cooperative research between the DIII-D National Fusion Facility in USA and the Institute of Plasma Physics (ASIPP) of the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science (HFIPS) in China has identified a key approach to creating plasma conditions that will be necessary for steady-state operation of ITER. This new approach shows promise in avoiding potential edge instabilities in the plasma that can pose increased plasma-material interaction challenges.

Plasma instabilities known as edge-localized modes (ELMs) are a challenge to stable operation of fusion reactors. Effective ELM control is particularly important in high-confinement, steady-state fusion plasmas such as ITER. The research at DIII-D and EAST found that maintaining high density at the edge of the plasma and a high density ratio between the pedestal bottom and top can reduce the severity of ELMs.

"Combining ELM control with high fusion performance will be critical for efficient operation of ITER and the power plants that come after it," said XU Guosheng. "These results are an important step toward practical fusion energy."

One approach to ELM control has been creating plasma conditions in which ELMs may occur, but are much smaller. Known as "grassy" ELMs, these conditions have been achieved on other devices, but often under parameters that are not suitable for large, long pulse devices like ITER. Experiments on DIII-D demonstrated a grassy ELM regime at an ITER-relevant parameters.

Read the full press release here.

Register for the Remote ITER Business Meeting
15 Mar 2021
In lieu of an in-person ITER Business Forum this year, the ITER Organization is planning a two-day Remote ITER Business Meeting, from 6 to 7 April 2021.

The purpose is the same: to inform the business community about upcoming contract opportunities at ITER and to create the opportunity for businesses to meet and plan together through B2B meetings.

It will also be possible to meet project specialists in one-to-one Skype sessions on a variety of topics, including how to set up a business in the south of France with the Welcome Around ITER network and specific contract opportunities (Hot Cell, maintenance services, Tritium Plant, remote maintenance, and European contract opportunities through Fusion for Energy).  

To participate, fill out your pre-registration form on this website: https://www.iter.org/ribm2021. The deadline is 6 April 2021.

EUROfusion awards 16 research grants
11 Mar 2021
The EUROfusion consortium has announced the award of 16 fusion energy research grants across Europe for the development of innovative new ideas and techniques.

EUROfusion makes grants available on behalf of the European Commission's Euratom program. In its meeting on 3 March 2021, the General Assembly of EUROfusion selected 16 out of 72 Enabling Research proposals based on the recommendations of the scientific boards in four research categories. EUROfusion will invest a total of € 20.1 million in these projects, of which € 9.9 million comes as a contribution from the consortium.

The four research categories are: materials, theory and modelling, technology and systems, and inertial fusion. 

View the list of the recipients and their projects on the EUROfusion website.

JT-60SA: full energization of toroidal field magnets
03 Mar 2021
The 18 toroidal field magnets of the JT-60SA tokamak in Japan are now fully energized at a current of 25.7kA. Reaching the full design magnetic field for this coil set is another step of the commissioning activities underway on this collaborative project, financed and executed jointly by Europe and Japan. 

Each of the 18 coils is 7.5 metres high and 4.5 metres wide; together they weigh 370 tonnes. They produce a magnetic field running around the torus that has a strength of 2.25T at the centre of its cross section. This field is fundamental to confining the superheated plasma of the tokamak.

The successful generation of the toroidal field demonstrates the simultaneous operation of numerous tokamak systems, in particular the cryoplant, cryodistribution, the cryostat, the thermal shields, power supply, instrumentation, and central control. The commissioning phase will culminate with first plasma later this year. 

More information here.

JET: A crucial "dress rehearsal"
01 Mar 2021
An article published on 22 February 2021 in Nature highlights the importance of the upcoming campaign on the JET tokamak (UK) for ITER.

"Nuclear fusion experiments with deuterium and tritium at the Joint European Torus are a crucial dress rehearsal for the mega-experiment," writes author Elizabeth Gibney. "JET's experiments will help scientists to predict how the plasma in the ITER tokamak will behave and to craft the mega-experiment's operating settings."

Chief ITER scientist Tim Luce agrees. "It's the closest we can get to achieving ITER conditions in present-day machines."

JET will be running experiments with hydrogen isotopes tritium and deuterium—the very fuel mix that ITER will use. Some experiments will use just tritium; others will combine deuterium and tritium in equal proportions. Both types of experiment are important, the author explains, because a key goal is to understand the effect of tritium's larger mass on plasma behaviour (tritium has two neutrons in its nucleus, whereas deuterium has one and hydrogen has none). That will help in predicting the impact of using different isotopes in ITER.

Read the full article here.

Nuclear News: "A good time for fusion"
18 Feb 2021
"A [US] fusion plant is still years away, but it is definitely getting closer."

So concludes the Editor-in-Chief of Nuclear News, the American Nuclear Society's flagship publication, in the preface to the January 2021 issue. Nuclear News dedicates more than 50 pages to fusion energy, at a time when there is an increasing groundswell of interest in fusion in the United States and coalescence around the idea of constructing a fusion pilot plant

Highlights include a major contribution by ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot on the role of ITER; an article on public/private partnerships as the ideal way of advancing technology; features on fusion safety and the regulatory environment; input from startups looking to commercialize fusion energy; and an editorial by US ITER Project Office Director Kathy McCarthy, Associate Laboratory Director for Fusion and Fission Energy and Science at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

See a preview of the issue, or subscribe on the American Nuclear Society's website.

Bringing Fusion to the U.S. Grid: Concensus Report
18 Feb 2021
The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine has released a report calling for the construction in the US of a 50-megawatt pilot fusion power plant.

At the request of the US Department of Energy (DOE), a committee of 12 scientists has written Bringing Fusion to the U.S. Grid, with the aim of providing guidance on the key goals and innovation needed to build an electricity-producing fusion power plant at lowest possible capital cost.

This is the third major US report on fusion in 24 months.

  • - In 2019, the National Academies published the Final Report of the Committee on a Strategic Plan for U.S. Burning Plasma Research, recommending 1) that the US remain a partner in ITER "as the most cost-effective way to gain experience with a burning plasma at the scale of a power plant," and 2) that the US start a "national program of accompanying research and technology leading to the construction of a compact pilot plant." (Read more here.)
  • - In March 2020, hundreds of scientists representing a broad range of national labs, universities, and private ventures released A Community Plan for Fusion Energy and Discovery Plasma Sciences. It offers a consensus view of the bold steps to take nationally to deliver fusion energy and advance plasma science in the United States, including maintaining participation in ITER. (See more here.)
The new publication builds on both reports.

"Fusion energy offers the prospect of addressing the nation's energy needs and contributing to the transition to a low-carbon emission electrical generation infrastructure. Technology and research results from U.S. investments in the major fusion burning plasma experiment known as ITER, coupled with a strong foundation of research funded by the Department of Energy, position the United States to begin planning for its first fusion pilot plant. Strong interest from the private sector is an additional motivating factor, as the process of decarbonizing and modernizing the nation's electric infrastructure accelerates and companies seek to lead the way."

Read the full report here.

Or view the slides from a recent webinar on the report.

A new website for JT-60SA
16 Feb 2021
The JT-60SA tokamak—just a few months from its first plasma as the updated "Super Advanced" satellite for ITER—has launched a new website.

The site features updated content and style, and aims to provide a wide audience, including students, the press, researchers and members of the general public, with information and regular status updates on JT-60SA.

Since the completion of assembly, the Japanese and European joint team is now preparing the device for first plasma, which is planned for spring 2021. Integrated commissioning is underway, including cooldown and progressive coil energization. 

Read all about it on the new JT-60SA website.

Material testing for fusion
15 Feb 2021
Because the mechanical and thermal properties of materials can change substantially under neutron irradiation, one of the major challenges for the demonstration of fusion electricity is to develop neutron-resistant materials.

As part of the EUROfusion Roadmap to the Realisation of Fusion Energy (here), the Belgian nuclear research lab SCK CEN tested ITER baseline structural materials like tungsten, copper and steel during a lengthy regimen of high heat and intense neutron radiation flux. Inside SCK CEN's fission research reactor BR2, the material samples spent two years facing a temperature of up to 1200 degrees Celsius in a hail of neutrons from uranium fission.

SCK CEN will now partner with other European research labs to investigate how the high speed neutrons have impacted the thermo-mechanical properties of the irradiated samples.

Read the full report on the EUROfusion website.

--Image: A basic plasma-facing unit consisting of a tungsten block and a copper cooling water pipe. Source: SCK CEN

Fusion? A superfast way of exploring the solar system and beyond
08 Feb 2021
Harnessing fusion energy will provide humankind with a virtually unlimited, clean and safe energy source. It might also open the way to a new, superfast way of exploring the solar system and beyond.

Using the power of fusion to propel rockets to velocities otherwise unattainable, and hence dramatically shortening the duration of space travel, is not a new idea: at space agencies throughout the world, nuclear fusion propulsion has been on the agenda for decades.

The latest news in the field, however, does not come from a space agency but from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), one of the major plasma research institutions worldwide. A few years ago, Fatima Ebrahimi, a principal research physicist there, began thinking about "the similarities between a car's exhaust and the high-velocity exhaust particles created by PPPL's National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX)." During operation, she reflected, "NSTX produces magnetic bubbles called plasmoids that move at around 20 kilometres per second, which seemed to me a lot like thrust."

Ebrahimi nurtured and streamlined the concept for a few years and, in December 2020, introduced it in the Journal of Plasma Physics. The title ("An Alfvenic reconnecting plasmoid thruster"*) was rather austere but the content quite mind-boggling: according to simulations, Ebrahimi's plasma thruster could eject particles at velocities of up to 1,500 kilometres per second. All of sudden, Mars and the moon of Jupiter are appearing much closer.

Read a detailed article on the PPPL website.

*Ebrahimi, F. (2020). An Alfvenic reconnecting plasmoid thruster. Journal of Plasma Physics, 86(6), 905860614. doi:10.1017/S0022377820001476


Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2020) goes virtual
01 Feb 2021
Due to Covid-19 pandemic and related global restrictions, the Local Organizing Committee of the 28th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference (FEC2020) has decided, in collaboration with the IAEA, to hold the conference on a virtual platform with the same dates maintained, from 10- 15 May 2021.

In addition to a full program, which will be available globally in appropriate time zones for each audience, we will also ensure opportunities for sponsoring and networking. If you are a potential sponsor and interested in finding out more about these opportunities, you can contact us at sponsor@fec2020.fr

Consult the FEC 2020 scientific program here.

Registration opens on 1 March 2021; more information at https://fec2020.fr/.


Register now for the Remote ITER Business Meeting
25 Jan 2021
The detailed program for the ITER Organization's Remote ITER Business Meeting is now available at the following address.
Over the two-day remote meeting on 7 - 8 April 2021, experts from the ITER Organization will be presenting information about upcoming contracts and procurement needs including the ITER Hot Cell Complex, the Tritium Plant, and maintenance services, among others. Experts will be also available for one-to-one meetings with industry representatives.
The conference is free of charge but advance registration is required. You can register now through 6 April 2021 at this address.
Watch Japan's Annual Symposium on ITER and Broader Approach activities
19 Jan 2021
On 22 December 2020, the Fusion Energy Forum of Japan (FEFJ) held its annual Symposium on the ITER Project and Broader Approach* activities. Featuring speakers from government, business, academia, and science, the 3.5-hour event covered fusion energy policy in Japan, progress in domestic and international fusion projects (including ITER and the Broader Approach), frontiers of research, and industrial applications.

See all speakers and presentations at this link

Watch the event on YouTube in Japanese or with a voiceover in English.  

* The Broader Approach activities, financed by Europe and Japan, aim to accelerate the realization of fusion energy. Find out more here.

Europe: new fusion technology transfer award
18 Jan 2021
The European Domestic Agency for ITER, Fusion for Energy, has opened a contest to reward companies for the commercial use of fusion technologies in non-fusion markets. 

Open to all European companies and organizations, the Technology Transfer Award competition aims to encourage and promote projects where a fusion technology or know-how is used or is planned to be used outside of fusion applications.

Applications will be evaluated according to the resources and efforts deployed by the candidate to achieve commercial use of the technology in a non-fusion market, as well as the socio-economic impact of the project on the market. The selected project will receive a sole prize of €10,000.

Applications are open from 18 January 2021 to 18 March 2021 at this link.

Coil energization begins at JT-60SA
14 Jan 2021
As part of its countdown to first plasma, the JT-60SA tokamak has entered the coil energization phase. Superconducting coil EF2 has been supplied with up to 1 kA of power. 

This major commissioning milestone comes after the recent completion of the cooldown of the magnet system to 4.5 K and the completion of power supply testing. In the next days the current supplied to EF2 will be gradually increased as the quench detection circuits and the power supply controllers are tuned.

JT-60SA is a collaborative project, financed and executed jointly by Europe and Japan under the Broader Approach agreement. Following a six-year upgrade program, the teams expect to begin experiments imminently.

Read more about the project here.

Russian-language film on ITER
13 Jan 2021
ITER Russia (ROSATOM) has teamed with documentary film makers to create a 38-minute feature on fusion and ITER called "On the Way to the Sun" (На пути к Солнцу). 

In 2021, the film makers will present it at leading international and domestic festivals.

You can view it free of charge on YouTube (in Russian) at this address.

European DEMO moves to conceptual design phase
13 Jan 2021
From 19 to 25 November 2020, an independent expert panel reviewed EUROfusion's R&D and design work on DEMO, Europe's future demonstration fusion power plant. Following this in-depth review, the next step of the European Roadmap to Fusion Energy, the conceptual design phase, can begin.

EUROfusion is taking a staged approach to designing DEMO, with industry-standard review practices including a gate review process. Each project phase is reviewed by a panel of independent experts before the project can advance to the next phase. This allows the DEMO team to learn from the experience of ITER and guarantees that DEMO has the support and involvement of the European fusion community and the companies that will design and construct it.

Read more about the DEMO gate review on the EUROfusion website.


IAEA: Fusion Crowdsourcing Challenge Launched
13 Jan 2021
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the European Fusion Education Network (FuseNet) are calling on fusion enthusiasts around the world to review scientific literature and online resources to find as many zero-dimensional, or independent, design parameters as possible for active fusion tokamak and stellarator experimental reactors in the IAEA's interactive Fusion Device Information System (FusDIS) database. The data collected through the challenge, which is aimed at students and young professionals with an understanding of fusion without being experts, will prove useful for simulations, modelling and design studies to advance fusion research.

The challenge is looking for submissions that include the following parameters: radii, plasma current, magnetic field strength, material composition of device wall and divertor, plasma shape, elongation and triangularity.

Participants have until 31 January 2021 to submit their answers here.

Click to see the IAEA and FuseNet announcements.

New documentary on fusion energy: Engineering the Future
13 Jan 2021
A new fusion documentary follows the efforts underway at ITER, JET, and First Light Fusion to realize "the ultimate energy solution."

Produced by Bigger Bang Communications (UK) and narrated by actor Patrick Stewart (known for his distinct voice), the 60-minute film is part of a six-part series called Engineering the Future. "A global industrial revolution is underway, driven by passionate, dedicated individuals intent on shaping a new world. A cleaner world. A greener world. Together, they are pushing engineering to its limits to create extraordinary machines that can protect our planet for the future."

The episode on fusion can be viewed on Curiosity Stream and HBO Max (paywalls).

A detailed and realistic 360° MCNP model of ITER
11 Jan 2021
In a paper published this month in Nature Energy, a team from the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED, Spain) offers the scientific community a "full and heterogeneous model of the ITER Tokamak" for comprehensive nuclear analyses.

"Nuclear analysis is a core discipline in support of the design, commissioning and operation of the machine. To date, it has been conducted with increasingly detailed partial models, which represented toroidal segments of the tokamak. However, the limitations of this methodology became evident as estimates of quantities relevant to design, safety and operation showed unquantifiable uncertainties, which is a risk. [...] Thanks to increasing high-performance computing capabilities and improvements in the memory management by the codes over the years, it is now feasible to take an important step forward. In this work, we present a 360° heterogeneous and detailed MCNP model of the ITER tokamak, which we call E-lite. It can be used to determine all the quantities relevant to the ITER's nuclear operations without the aforementioned uncertainties."

The main authors—Rafael Juarez, an associate professor at UNED, and Gabriel Pedroche, a PhD student in the same research team—worked closely with colleagues from ITER and the European Domestic Agency (Fusion for Energy). Key contributions came from Michael Loughlin, Eduard Polunovskiy and Yannick Le Tonqueze from the ITER Organization, and Raul Pampin and Marco Fabbri from Fusion for Energy.

Follow the link below to consult the article:

Juarez, R., Pedroche, G., Loughlin, M.J. et al. A full and heterogeneous model of the ITER tokamak for comprehensive nuclear analyses. Nat Energy (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-020-00753-x 

 See a related report by Fusion for Energy.

Spanish YouTuber passes 375K views with feature on ITER
08 Jan 2021
Javier Santaolalla is a Spanish engineer and doctor in particle physics who has worked at CIEMAT, CERN and the French National Centre for Space Studies. On YouTube you can look him up as a scientific popularizer with a number of well-followed channels that tackle physics, explaining concepts like black holes, the Higgs boson and the second law of thermodynamics in an entertaining and informative way.
In December, he released a 16-minute feature on ITER (ITER: Así será el mayor reactor nuclear del planeta) that has reached 375,000 views.
You can watch it (in Spanish) here.
'Star power' meets star power
07 Jan 2021
The Japanese ICT company NTT has made a short video in promotion of fusion and ITER with the famous Japanese baseball player Ichirō Suzuki, an American League All Star who played for the New York Yankees as well as the Seattle Mariners and the Miami Marlins in the course of his nearly 30-year career. In the short film Ichirō is introduced to fusion and ITER as promising paths forward to energy sustainability.
You can see the promotional film on YouTube here.
Fusion and the climate: webinar 13 January
06 Jan 2021
On Wednesday 13 January 2021, the Stellar Energy Foundation and Pegasus Fusion Strategies are co-hosting a webinar-style workshop titled "Energy, Environment, Innovation: Fusion's Promise for our Climate."

Join featured speakers Laban Coblentz, Head of Communication at ITER, and Dennis Whyte, Director of the MIT Plasma Science & Fusion Center and Hitachi American Professor of Engineering at MIT, for a thought-provoking discussion of the state of energy supply and demand today, the effort to mitigate atmospheric CO2, and the possible role of fusion energy.

Is fusion power a realistic green energy option for combating climate change? Should private sector fusion projects be given priority over large multinational projects such as ITER? Can we rely on renewables like wind and solar to avoid climate change?

The 90-minute webinar (11:30 a.m. — 1:00 p.m. US Eastern time) will be moderated by Chris Gadomski from BloombergNEF.

Update 18 January 2021: The recording of the webinar can be found at this link.


Neighbours and traditions
07 Dec 2020
This month, the ITER community respected time-honoured Provencal traditions by installing a crèche and a Christmas tree in the lobby of ITER Headquarters. The new mayor of Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, André Gomez, and deputy-mayor in charge of communication, Elise Placé, were by Director-General Bernard Bigot's side for the tree lighting on 1 December. (The tree was offered by the village of Saint-Paul.)

Fusion world | First plasma for China's HL-2M
07 Dec 2020
China has announced that the HL-2M tokamak produced its first plasma discharge on 4 December 2020.
HL-2M is a medium-sized copper-conductor tokamak located at the Southwestern Institute of Physics (SWIP) in Chengdu, China. It is a totally new machine, with some systems upgraded from the HL-2A tokamak that had been in operation since 2002. HL-2M is designed to have 3MA plasma current, and over 100 million degree Celsius ion temperature.
With a flexible divertor, a new set of toroidal field coils, and a shaped plasma with improved stability. HL-2M will contribute to establishing the scientific and technical basis for optimizing the tokamak approach to fusion energy and prepare important scaling information for ITER operation.
--Photo: China Atomic Energy Authority
Thailand's TINT to house a research tokamak
07 Dec 2020
The Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology has started the construction of the building that will house the country's first tokamak and ancillary systems.

The Thai Tokamak-1, or TT-1, will be developed from HT-6M—a device developed at the Chinese Institute of Plasma Physics (ASIPP) in the 1980s and donated to Thailand in 2018. It will be used to train a new generation of students in magnetic confinement fusion.

Thailand made its first steps into fusion research in 2015 when a series of conferences was organized in Bangkok by specialists from the French Institute for Magnetic Fusion Research (IRFM). In December 2018, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, visited ITER with TINT specialists, and a Cooperation Agreement was signed to promote cooperation and educational exchange between the two institutions.

Construction of the TINT Tokamak Workshop Building will be completed in 2022.

See this article from the Bangkok Post. 
Disruption mitigation | A new test centre to characterize icy pellets
30 Nov 2020
Researchers at the Centre for Energy Research, Hungary, will test key elements of the ITER disruption mitigation system in a dedicated support laboratory.

The technology group, led by Uron Kruezi, of the ITER Disruption Mitigation Task Force has awarded a multi-year contract to the Centre for Energy Research (EK), together with several Hungarian companies, for the development of a laboratory to test key components of ITER's disruption mitigation system (DMS). The DMS will use a technique called shattered pellet injection that creates small ice fragments by shattering a single large cryogenic pellet of hydrogen and neon. These fragments will then enter the plasma to protect the in-vessel components from the large heat fluxes generated during disruptions. One of the lab's first tasks will be to study the pellet fragmentation process, and to design a pellet shattering unit that produces those fragment sizes that are most effective in mitigating disruptions.

The studies carried out under this contract are part of a wider technology program that ITER carries out with its partners. This program addresses for example the optimization of the pellet formation process, the development of an optical pellet diagnostic to measure pellet velocity and integrity, as well as technology development for accelerating the pellet towards the plasma.

Click here to see the press release issued by the Centre for Energy Research on the contract award.

--Conceptual design of the test stand to study the pellet shattering process.

April 2021: Remote ITER Business Meeting
30 Nov 2020
The 2021 ITER Business Forum (IBF/21), originally planned in Marseille, France, from 6 to 8 April 2021, has been postponed to April 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ITER Organization will be organizing a smaller-scale remote event called the "Remote ITER Business Meeting" in April 2021.
During the two-day remote meeting on 7 and 8 April 2021, experts from the ITER Organization will be presenting specific information about contracts and procurement needs for the next years. They will be also available for one-to-one meetings with industry representatives.

The conference is free of charge but advance registration is required. Registrations will open in early January 2021 at this address.
Apply now: 100+ ITER internship opportunities
16 Nov 2020
The ITER Organization has kicked off its 2021 internship program with the publication of 116 offers on the ITER website (visit Jobs/Internships here: https://www.iter.org/jobs/internships).

These opportunities are geared toward undergraduate and postgraduate students, with a broad array of topics across scientific, technical and support departments. Control and data acquisition, systems engineering, business operations, construction and installation, safety and security, and science and technology are all represented in this year's batch of internship opportunities.

Positions are offered for up to six months; some categories are extendable to one year. Apply before 28 February 2021 through the online e-recruiting system. (Please note that internship opportunities are limited to nationals from countries participating in the ITER Project, i.e., China, the European Union plus Switzerland, India, Japan, Korea, Russian Federation and the United States.)

JT-60SA tokamak enters cooldown
16 Nov 2020
The JT-60SA fusion experiment in Naka, Japan, has entered its integrated commissioning phase—one of the last steps before first plasma. This collaborative project, financed and executed jointly by Europe and Japan under the Broader Approach agreement, will soon be running experiments to support the operation of ITER and to investigate how best to optimize the design and operation of fusion power plants built after ITER.

Preparing the newly upgraded device for its first plasma is step-by-step operation that began with the evacuation of all air from the vacuum vessel and surrounding cryostat, and was followed by the current phase of slowly cooling down the device's superconducting magnets to the temperature of 4 K (- 269 °C). This phase started on 10 October 2020 and is expected to last several weeks. (You can follow the progression of cooldown here.) 

Once the magnets reach the desired temperature, the team will heat up the vacuum vessel to 200 °C to rid it of moisture and any possible residual contaminants. Energizing the magnets come next, first each magnet separately before the full group together. The final step, before injecting hydrogen for making a plasma, is to test the electron cyclotron resonance heating.

Read more at Fusion for Energy.

ITER makes world's "most influential projects" list
16 Nov 2020
The ITER Project has been selected as one of the world's most influential projects by the Project Management Institute in its 2020 ratings, released in November.

The professional organization's Top 50 list singles out "compelling efforts across industries and around the world that have achieved significant milestones" during the year. "In a time of uncertainty and upheaval, bold projects are paving the way to a new future." Each effort is "a distinct masterclass in how to navigate change and deliver results."

The ITER Project is #34 overall and #3 in the Top 10 list for projects in the domain of energy, recognized for "boldly exploring next-gen nuclear energy."

Find out more here: https://www.pmi.org/most-influential-projects.

Available now: ITER Technical Reports
02 Nov 2020
The list of ITER Technical Reports available on the public website continues to grow.

These reports, freely downloadable, aim to make the results of scientific and technical activities carried out under the ITER Agreement widely available.

Typically, they are versions of internal reports that have been deemed of interest for the wider scientific and technical community, but that have not been submitted for conventional publication in scientific journals or books.

View the growing list here : https://www.iter.org/technical-reports

Fusion Energy Conference update (FEC 2020)
02 Nov 2020
Whether in person or virtual, the world's largest fusion conference will forge ahead: FEC 2020 will be maintained for 10-15 May 2021 with the now-finalized scientific program.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), together with the Local Organizing Committee, is currently reviewing the evolving COVID-19 situation and its impact on the conference. 

A decision whether to maintain a physical conference or move to a virtual event will be taken in early 2021. You will be kept informed.

So be ready to join us at the 28th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2020) whatever its format, as the fusion show must go on. We look forward to seeing you there!

For more information about the conference and updates regarding the program, please visit the website.

Johannes Schwemmer renewed as Fusion for Energy Director
05 Oct 2020
The Governing Board of the European Domestic Agency for ITER, Fusion for Energy, announced on 29 September that it has extended the contract of the current Director, Johannes Schwemmer, through 31 December 2023. Mr. Schwemmer has led Fusion for Energy since 1 January 2016.

"This unanimous decision shows that Mr Schwemmer has the full support of the Governing Board to continue to lead Fusion for Energy," said Chair Beatrix Vierkorn-Rudolph. Massimo Garribba, Deputy Director-General of the European Commission Directorate-General for Energy and Euratom's representative to Fusion for Energy's Governing Board, "[...] looks forward to his continued dedication to this international flagship project."

Read the full news article on the Fusion for Energy website.

In memory of David Swain
05 Oct 2020
The international fusion community lost a major contributor when Dr. David Swain passed away last month. His contributions to the advancement of experimental and theoretical plasma physics and technology spanned more than half a century during which he produced over 150 scientific papers.

For much of his career, Swain's research focused on confining and heating high density plasmas, largely with high power radiowaves. He received his PhD in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1969, after receiving a Bachelor of Science from North Carolina State University in 1963. He became a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1985.

His professional career began in 1969 at Sandia Laboratories; in 1975, he joined Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a member of the ORMAK tokamak team. He played a leading role in radiofrequency development activities for TFTR at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and Tore Supra in France, plus other ion cyclotron systems for devices around the world including NSTX and KSTAR. Swain was also an early and critical member of the international team that designed ITER's ion cyclotron heating system. He retired from ORNL in 2017, but continued to contribute as a consultant, helping US ITER and the ITER Organization.

In his professional and personal life, Swain possessed a generosity of spirit, good-natured friendliness, and a dry sense of humour that made it a pleasure to work and travel with him. His folksy sayings, rooted in his rural North Carolina upbringing, were legendary. The global ITER community will miss his character and his contributions.

-- US ITER and the ITER Organization

New IAEA interactive map identifies fusion devices across the world
28 Sep 2020
The fusion team at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has introduced a worldwide tracking and information system for fusion devices, located within the IAEA's Fusion Portal.

The Fusion Device Information System (FusDIS), developed and maintained by the IAEA, focuses on experimental fusion research devices worldwide. FusDIS contains information on fusion devices public or private that are currently in operation, under construction, closed or being planned. All information is collected by the IAEA and undergoes a process of review involving the International Fusion Research Council.

It currently lists 62 tokamaks, 12 stellarators/heliotrons, 7 laser fusion devices, and 31 innovative/alternate fusion concepts.

The IAEA fusion team is interested in feedback on FusDIS. Please send comments to: Fusion-Physics@iaea.org

Fusion history | TFTR designated "Nuclear Historic Landmark"
28 Sep 2020
From the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory:

The American Nuclear Society has bestowed its distinguished Nuclear Historic Landmark designation on the pioneering Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) that ran from 1982 to 1997 at the US Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL).

The groundbreaking facility laid the foundation for future fusion power plants and set world records for fusion power (10.7 million watts) in 1994 and total fusion energy production (1,500 million joules) from 1993 to 1997.  The achievements marked a major step in fusion history.

The designation, which will be formally announced at the American Nuclear Society's November meeting, recognizes TFTR "for demonstrating significant fusion energy production and tritium technologies for future nuclear fusion power plants and the first detailed exploration of magnetically confined deuterium-tritium fusion plasmas."

Read the full statement by The American Nuclear Society.

Read the original article on the PPPL website.

Register now: European Fusion Teacher Day
21 Sep 2020
Secondary school teachers across Europe are invited to participate virtually in the 2020 European Fusion Teacher Day, hosted by FuseNet, the European Fusion Education Network.

Registration for the 2 October event closes on 27 September.

The European Fusion Teacher Day will premiere new education materials for the classroom, offer a behind-the-scenes look at international fusion experiments such as ITER, JET and GOLEM, and host a live connection with teachers throughout Europe. At the end of the event you will be able to tell your students all about nuclear fusion: from the cutting-edge research that is going on, to how to make fusion a career.

For the first part of the event, participants will join video calls in the language of their choice, hosted by fusion institutes in Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. An introductory lecture followed by a presentation of newly developed classroom materials will be the highlights of this part of the program.

Then, all participants will tune into a livestream (in English) with fusion students and scientists located on site at three tokamak facilities: ITER, JET and GOLEM.

For more information on how to participate, see FuseNet.

Chiller plant ready for testing
21 Sep 2020
On 17 September, the chiller plant in the Site Services Building was turned over to the ITER Science, Controls & Operation Department (SCOD) for commissioning.

This is the first of many handovers to come between the ITER construction and operation teams, and it signals that equipment installation is complete. Now, a commissioning team led by SCOD will start to energize the equipment, fill the pipes, and test the circuits and related control interfaces.

The chiller plant is one element of the chilled water system that is, in turn, part of the overall ITER cooling water system. The tokamak cooling water system, the component cooling water system, the chilled water system and the heat rejection system are together responsible for removing the enormous amounts of heat generated by the tokamak and its auxiliary systems.

Port stubs: Russian deliveries continue
11 Sep 2020
On August 28, two upper port extensions procured by the Russian Domestic Agency arrived at the South Korean port of Busan.

Each of the vacuum vessel's 44 openings will have custom-made "extensions" to create the junction to the surrounding cryostat. The first link in the two-part chain—the port stub extension—will be welded to the vacuum vessel sectors before they are shipped from their manufacturing locations; (the second, port extensions, will be added during assembly on site).

Responsible for the 18 upper ports, the Russian Domestic Agency has been delivering upper port stub extensions to vacuum vessel manufacturers in Korea and Europe since 2017. They are procured under the general contracting responsibility of JSC NIIEFA (part of Rosatom State Corporation), and manufactured by MAN Energy Solutions, Germany.

Upper port extensions #14 and #16 were delivered to Korea late August after a one-month sea voyage. The timely delivery of all port stub extensions is critical for the on-time fabrication of vacuum vessel sectors, and thus the overall ITER schedule.


Vladimir Sergeevich Voitsenya, 1935-2020
08 Sep 2020
The ITER community was saddened to learn that Vladimir Sergeevich Voitsenya, a Ukrainian physicist, researcher, and Fellow of the Ukrainian Physical Society, passed away in August 2020. 

Trained as a Doctor of Science in Physics and Mathematics, he spent much of his career at the Kharkov Institute of Physics and Technology, KhIPT, moving from laboratory head to leading research scientist, head of the plasma diagnostics laboratory, and finally head of the Stellarators Division. Dr Voitsenya's scientific interests included magnetic plasma confinement, plasma-surface interaction, and plasma-facing mirrors for the diagnostics in ITER.

"Vladimir was a key player in the mirror program for ITER diagnostics and indeed his work is the foundation of the current excellent progress in this area," commented Michael Walsh, Head of ITER Diagnostics. Colleagues at the International Tokamak Physics Activity (ITPA*) remember him for his enthusiasm, his visionary papers, his ideas—many of which are now implemented in ITER diagnostics—and his kind and friendly attitude. "For us he was a diagnostic pioneer, one of the founders and strongest proponents of the ITPA."

*The International Tokamak Physics Activity (ITPA) provides a framework for internationally coordinated fusion research activities.

Media interest in ITER explodes
17 Aug 2020
ITER's start-of-assembly celebration on 28 July 2020 generated unprecedented media interest in the project, as evidenced by 3,500 news stories in the printed press in 41 languages (101 countries). A small sampling can be found in Press Clippings (https://www.iter.org/pressclippings). For full information about the project see the ITER website at https://www.iter.org/.

A TV interview of Jung Kijung, head of Korean Domestic Agency
11 Aug 2020
In this 16-minute feature on the ITER Project aired by the Seoul-based English language channel Arirang TV on 5 August, the head of ITER Korea, Jung Kijung, explains how South Korea joined ITER in 2003, how Korean expertise has contributed to the science and engineering that underpins the mega-science project, what in-kind components South Korea has contributed to the project, and what milestones have to be realized before the advent of fusion electricity.

Watch the segment of News, In Depth here.

3D tour updated (June 2020)
29 Jul 2020
The 360° virtual tour of ITER construction has been updated with drone footage from late May 2020. Plunge 30 metres into the ITER Tokamak pit, relive the insertion of the cryostat base, and fly in and out of the ITER plant buildings to see what has changed since the last update in February 2020..

Accessible from the home page of the ITER website (yellow icon) or by clicking on the link below, the 2D tour requires no special equipment to enjoy. (If you do have 3D glasses, click on the yellow goggle symbol at the top of any screen.)

Click here to enter the latest 360° ITER virtual tour.

ITER assembly | All you need to know in one spot
29 Jul 2020
Timed to meet worldwide attention on the ITER Project at the launch of its machine assembly phase, a new section of the ITER website has just been released. The ITER assembly pages are the place to go for information, photos, videos, articles and links about the step-by-step process of building the world's largest tokamak.

And, thanks to the skill of ITER CAD technician Kevin Ballant, the pages open to a new video that shows you how the ITER Organization assembly teams will proceed—from installing the cryostat base and lower cryostat components at the bottom of the assembly arena, to the placement of the central column and radial beams of the in-pit assembly tool, the vacuum sector sub-assemblies, the magnets, upper cryostat components, and finally the cryostat lid.

Visit the new ITER assembly pages here.

Making headway on the vacuum vessel in Europe
20 Jul 2020
In a report published this month, the European Domestic Agency for ITER, Fusion for Energy, explains how progress was maintained on the fabrication of five ITER vacuum vessel sectors despite some factory shutdowns due to Covid-19.

"We had to analyze the impact of the pandemic on our production plants, figure out which tasks could be performed in line with the instructions issued by the Italian authorities, and adopt measures of health and safety in line with this new reality. Therefore, we re-arranged the planning of activities, prioritised some critical ones. We put forward a short-term plan to keep up the progress, while ensuring full compliance with protocols," explains Max Febvre, Fusion for Energy Manufacturing Project Manager for the vacuum vessel. As a result, the impact of the pandemic was not as disruptive as expected. 

See a full report plus recent photos here.

European Fusion Teacher Day 2020
20 Jul 2020
Secondary school teachers across Europe are invited to participate virtually in the 2020 European Fusion Teacher Day, hosted by FuseNet, the European Fusion Education Network.

Registration for the event on 2 October is free of charge and open now.

The European Fusion Teacher Day will premiere new education materials for the classroom, offer a behind-the-scenes look at international fusion experiments such as ITER, JET and GOLEM, and host a live connection with teachers throughout Europe. At the end of the event you will be able to tell your students all about nuclear fusion: from the cutting-edge research that is going on, to how to make fusion a career!

For the first part of the event, participants will join video calls in the language of their choice, hosted by fusion institutes in Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. An introductory lecture followed by a presentation of newly developed classroom materials will be the highlights of this part of the program.

Then, all participants will tune into a livestream (in English) with fusion students and scientists located on site at three tokamak facilities: ITER, JET and GOLEM.

For more information on how to participate, see FuseNet.

How can fusion change our future?
23 Jun 2020
Looking for a new way to explain fusion in your classrooms and boardrooms? Interested in a two-minute summary of what fusion is and how it can change our future?

A new animation from Fusion for Energy, the European Domestic Agency for ITER, uses a fresh visual approach to make fusion accessible to all. Subtitles are available in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

See the video here.

ITER needs 60 small diamond windows
22 Jun 2020
Synthetic diamond windows will play a double function in the ITER machine—allowing the microwaves of the electron cyclotron heating system to pass through to reach the plasma while providing an effective leak-proof vacuum barrier.

High-purity CVD (chemical vapour deposition) diamond windows offer unsurpassed hardness, broad band optical transparency, and extremely high thermal conductivity.

The European Domestic Agency, Fusion for Energy, is working with the German firm Diamond Materials for the production of 60 diamond disks (Ø 7 cm) for the electron cyclotron heating system.

See the full story here.

Reflected waves: a diagnostic for measuring plasma density
15 Jun 2020
A wealth of information about the behaviour and stability of the ITER plasma will be communicated by the return signals of the low-field side reflectometer (LFSR)—a diagnostic that shoots a frequency-modulated (FM) millimetre wave signal (a type of microwave) into the plasma and gathers information about the plasma edge in return.

The LFSR is the first device of its kind to measure the plasma density, and process and report the data to the central tokamak control system in real-time. This allows it to serve as an alert system, as abrupt changes in the steepness of the edge density profile, or gradient, can lead to instabilities known as edge localized modes (ELMs), which release large amounts of energy.

A final design review is planned this summer by the US ITER diagnostics team, which is based out of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. The device will be installed on ITER before its First Plasma.

See the original news on the US ITER website or this report from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

FEC 2020 postponed to May 2021
08 Jun 2020
The 28th edition of the IAEA Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2020) has been postponed.

Originally scheduled to take place from 12 to 17 October 2020 in Nice, France, the conference organizers have announced new dates: 10 to 15 May 2021. The venue for the event has not changed.

The IAEA Fusion Energy Conference is the world's largest conference on fusion energy. Sponsored by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and organized regularly since 1961, it attracted over 1,000 fusion scientists and engineers at its last edition, in 2018

The 28th edition of the IAEA Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2020) will be hosted jointly by the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) and the ITER Organization.

For information and important dates, visit FEC2020 or the dedicated page on the IAEA website.

Ignite private sector entry into the fusion market
22 May 2020
The sunrise of fusion startups has also reached Japan. A team from Kyoto University founded its fusion startup in October 2019. Kyoto Fusioneering Co. Ltd. assists private fusion developers through engineering solutions and business-to-business technical assistance to accelerate the practical realization of fusion energy.

Today, there are already many fusion startups around the world, mainly in North America and Europe. Fusion is no longer public-sector-only science; it is a business bringing excitement to the private sector as well. Taka Nagao, CEO of Kyoto Fusioneering, sees a real opportunity. "Even though 'fusion electricity' is quite far away, we're already in the phase of business opportunities." Fusion startups have been raising funds from venture capital funds to develop demo fusion reactors. Some of them look for cooperation with other startups to help their demo development, rather than doing everything by themselves. "So we see the manufacturing of fusion machine components as an already existing need, and it is becoming a fruitful market," he says.

His company focuses especially on critical in-vessel components that will be an important part of every fusion reactor—the blanket, which must be designed to breed tritium and efficiently remove energy for electricity generation, and the divertor, which extracts heat and ash produced by the reaction to minimize plasma contamination.

--Anri Kato

Andlinger Highlight Seminar Series
18 May 2020
On 14 May 2020, ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot participated virtually in a Highlight Seminar organized by the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment (Princeton University, USA).

The Andlinger Center's stated goal is to translate fundamental knowledge into practical solutions that enable sustainable energy solutions and the protection of the environment. 

In the seminar attended (virtually) by over 500 people, Bernard Bigot reviewed ITER status and fielded questions on upcoming milestones, the short- and longer-term perspectives of fusion energy, and how to get involved.

Listen to the one-hour program on the Princeton University website here.

Documentary on fusion from China's CGTN
18 May 2020
The Chinese television network CGTN has released an episode of its series "Decoding the Future" on hydrogen fusion. What is fusion? How does a tokamak work? What role for ITER? How are researchers in China contributing? Among the (virtual) panelists during the 30-minute episode in English is theortical physicist Alain Bécoulet, head of the ITER Engineering Domain.

Watch the episode on YouTube here.

Preliminary Design Review of the COMPASS-U tokamak
06 Apr 2020
COMPASS, a small tokamak located at the Institute of Plasma Physics (Czech Academy of Sciences) in Prague, will soon become COMPASS-U—a high magnetic field device with an enlarged operational space and improved performance—to serve the research programs supporting ITER and the next-phase device DEMO.

A preliminary design review of the new COMPASS-U tokamak was held remotely from 31 March to 3 April with over 60 international and domestic scientists in attendance.

See the news here.

Virtual reality tour updated
30 Mar 2020
The 360° virtual tour of ITER construction has been updated with drone footage from late February 2020. Fly in, out and over the principal buildings of the ITER worksite by clicking on the teardrop-shaped markers.

Accessible from the home page of the ITER website (yellow icon) or by clicking on the link below, the 2D tour requires no special equipment to enjoy. (If you do have 3D glasses, click on the yellow goggle symbol at the top of any screen.)

Click here to enter the latest 360° ITER virtual tour.

Upgrade at Wendelstein 7-X
23 Mar 2020
The Wendelstein 7-X stellarator facility at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Greifswald, Germany, is preparing for higher heating power and longer plasma pulses.

After a successful campaign that ended in late 2018—during which operators were able to achieve discharge times of up to 100 seconds (2 MW of input heating power) or 30 seconds at 6 MW—the Wendelstein 7-X team is now preparing to install actively water-cooled components inside the vacuum vessel that will allow the next round of experiments to generate plasma pulses of up to 30 minutes.

The previous cladding made of carbon tiles has now been removed, and the vessel is ready for the installation of the new water-cooled protective elements. Chief among them is the new divertor, a highly technical component made of plasma-facing front tiles mounted on water-cooled back plates—assemblies made of nearly 500,000 parts, which were the object of more than 15 years of development, fabrication and testing.

Commissioning of the upgraded facility is expected to begin early next year.

Read the full article on the IPP Greifswald website.

--Cooling elements on the back side of a divertor plate. Photo: IPP, Michael Herdlein

Fusion podcast: Plans for STEP, the newest tokamak on the block
09 Mar 2020
The latest 30-minute episode  of the fusion podcast A Glass of Seawater discusses plans for a new compact fusion reactor at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy.

In October 2019, the UK government announced a £220 million funding package for the concept design phase of STEP—the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production. Building on the operation of the new MAST Upgrade spherical tokamak experiment and on ITER, the program aims to design and build a commercially viable fusion power station by 2040.

Ian Chapman, CEO of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, joins doctoral researchers from the Fusion CDT* program to discuss the hopes and ambitions for STEP. 

* Five UK universities—Durham, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford, and York—have joined within FUSION CDT to offer doctoral training in fusion-relevant disciplines such as plasma physics, material science, nuclear physics, technology, laser physics, and instrumentation.

Listen to A Glass of Seawater's "STEPisode" episode here.
Learn more about Fusion CDT here.
Young talent meets leading researchers in Thailand
24 Feb 2020
ITER science and technology was one of the topics that more than 80 students from across southeast Asia explored at the sixth ASEAN School on Plasma and Nuclear Fusion and Sokendai Winter School in Thailand in late January.

The school—which is organized by Sokendai University, the Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology (TINT), and Walailak University with the support the IAEA and ITER—is part of Thailand's initiative to intensify its fusion research program and aims at promoting interaction between young talent in southeast Asian countries and leading researchers from around the world.

"The ITER Director-General gives his full support to the school by sharing the latest developments on ITER as well as the background and rationale of its science and advanced technology," said Jean Jacquinot, Senior Adviser to the Director-General of the ITER Organization, and one of the lecturers at the school.

Read the full story on the IAEA website. 

Half time at ITER
24 Feb 2020
In a rare moment off the playing field, 100 of France's top under 17 rugby players visited the ITER site last week, taking advantage of a selection camp organized locally to learn more about fusion and the ITER Project. 

The ITER visits team tailors its guided tours to groups of all sizes—from individuals to buses of 50 people. Since work began on the construction platform in 2007, 158,000 members of the public have passed through the gate, including 16,000 in 2019. Among the visitors last year were 7,000 French schoolchildren.

See more on ITER visits here.

Europe | Precise measuring tool developed for ITER
17 Feb 2020
When there is no off-the-shelf solution, develop your own!

This was the mind-set of the European contractor that—because no available solution was accurate enough—invented a specialized metrology tool that is capable of measuring the diameter of cylindrical components to within an accuracy of 0.004 mm.

Working closely with the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy, the Spanish firm Tekniker has developed a tool that will be used to inspect the diameter of the "multi-link" connectors between the ITER divertor and its plasma-facing components and assess whether they have been manufactured to within the required 20 microns of tolerance.

Read the full story here.

Monaco-ITER postdoctoral positions | Apply by 1 March
17 Feb 2020
If your PhD was awarded after 1 January 2017—or you are about to obtain one—you are eligible to apply for a Monaco-ITER Postdoctoral Fellowship.

The Fellowship Program is recruiting now for two-year terms beginning autumn 2020.

Since 2008, 30 young scientists and engineers have been able to participate directly in ITER, working on cutting-edge issues in science and technology with some of the leading scientists and engineers in each domain. The principal aim of the Research Fellowships, which are funded by the Principality of Monaco under a Partnership Agreement that was renewed in early 2018, is the development of excellence in research in fusion science and technology within the ITER framework.

The deadline for application is 1 March 2020. All information can be obtained here.

Exploring the Sun's uncharted regions
10 Feb 2020
Led by the European Space Agency (ESA) with strong NASA participation, the Solar Orbiter mission, which lifted off from Cape Canaveral on 10 February, will provide the first views of the Sun's uncharted polar regions, giving unprecedented insight into the workings of our familiar star.

Solar Orbiter will also investigate how intense radiation and energetic particles being blasted out from the Sun and carried by the solar wind impact our home planet, to better understand and predict periods of stormy "space weather."

Find out more at ESA or NASA.

Fusion's hot moment
10 Feb 2020
In a context of new momentum in fusion research—as the ITER Organization begins assembling its machine, a number of upgraded tokamaks return to operation, and private investors fund fusion startups—what does the near future hold for the development of fusion energy?

This was the question the Andlinger Center for Energy and Environment at Princeton University asked Steve Cowley (left), director of the US Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and Princeton University professor of astrophysical sciences, and Egemen Kolemen (right), a PPPL physicist and assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the Andlinger Center, during a Highlight Seminar event in January.

You can read their replies here.

Princeton University's Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment is a multidisciplinary research and education centre, whose mission is to the develop technologies and solutions of the future.

Calling for nominations: 2020 Fusion Technology Award
10 Feb 2020
During the next Symposium on Fusion Engineering (SOFE April 2021), Fusion Technology Awards will be presented for the years 2020 and 2021 to individuals who have made outstanding and widely recognized contributions to research and development in the field of fusion technology, or for technical contributions that have had a major impact in fusion technology and/or leadership and service within the community.

The Awards each consist of a USD 3,000 cash prize and a plaque. Any person, regardless of nationality or Society affiliation, is eligible for the award, with the exception that no current member of the IEEE/NPSS Standing Committee on Fusion Technology may be nominated. The nomination package should be sent to the Fusion Technology Committee Awards Chair, Carl Pawley (drcpawley@ieee.org), and it should consist of a nomination letter describing the technical and/or leadership contributions on which the nomination is recommended and a resume of the candidate.

The nomination period for the 2020 Fusion Technology Award is 4 February to 10 March 2020.

For more detailed information on eligibility, basis for judging, nomination process and a list of past Award recipients, please visit the IEEE-NPSS website and go to the "Fusion Technology Awards" section.

ITER "godfather" turns 85
03 Feb 2020
Academician Evgeny Velikhov, who was Mikhail Gorbachev's scientific adviser in the mid-1980s, is considered as the "godfather" of the ITER Project. The veteran fusion physicist who celebrated his 85th birthday on 2 February in Moscow, was instrumental in gathering support for what was to become ITER in both the Soviet Union and within the Reagan administration, where he had several high-level contacts.

At the head of the nation's fusion program since 1973 when he succeeded Lev Artsimovitch, President of the Kurchatov Institute from 1992 to 2015 (and current Honorary President), and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Velikhov has received numerous national and international distinctions for his work. A key driving force for international collaboration on fusion, he served as ITER Council Chair during the technical design phase for ITER and again at the start of ITER construction from 2011-2012.

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated the outstanding scientist on his birthday and noted his fruitful personal contribution to the development of the national Academy of Sciences and the Kurchatov Institute.

Photo: Anatoly Krasilnikov and Vladimir Vlasenkov (Head and Deputy Head of the Russian Domestic Agency for ITER) presenting him with 3D glasses loaded with the most recent video images from the ITER worksite.

ITER manga 3.0
03 Feb 2020
In the third installment of ITER Japan's manga series on the project, our hero Taiyô Tenno visits the factory where the first ITER toroidal field coil was completed and learns about the multiple challenges (including tooling, welding, testing, level of precision, and materials) that had to be overcome.

A timely addition to the series, which can be downloaded from the ITER Japan website here or directly from the ITER Publications gallery (comics).

World's most powerful supercomputer to continue processing for fusion
20 Jan 2020
Researchers led by CS Chang of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have been awarded major supercomputer time to address key issues for ITER. The award, from the DOE's INCITE* program, renews the third and final year of the team's supercomputer allocation for the current round.

The third-year allotment consists of 1.5 million node hours on the Theta supercomputer at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, and 0.97 million node hours on Summit, the world's most powerful supercomputer, at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility. Since every computer node has thousands of processing cores, or data processors, a single node hour equals thousands of core hours.

The INCITE announcement of the renewal called the studies "time-urgent for the successful planning of ITER operation" and ones that require "an intensive, concentrated computing effort using extreme-scale supercomputers."

The multi-year project studies three high-priority ITER edge-plasma challenges: gauging the heat-load that will strike the material surrounding the plasma in ITER; understanding the physics behind the transition from low-to-high ITER plasmas; and, studying turbulence at the edge of ITER plasmas that could damage the interior of the fusion facility.

Read the full article at PPPL.

*Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE)


Season's Greetings
16 Dec 2019
The offices of the ITER Organization will be closed from 23 December through 3 January included, although work will be proceeding on the construction site.

The year 2020 promises to be a special one for the ITER Project, as some of ITER's largest components arrive on site and the carefully orchestrated assembly phase for the ITER machine and plant officially kicks off.

Newsline will continue to cover every aspect of ITER and the fusion world, from progress on the construction site in southern France and in component manufacturing in factories and laboratories on three continents ... to meetings, conferences and scientific breakthroughs throughout the world.

See you in January.

We shot a similar end-of-year photo in 2017: click here to compare the two images.

View the ITER Organization's e-card here.

ITER public service announcement seen all over the world
09 Dec 2019
From Wednesday 4 December 2019 through 28 January 2020 a public service announcement on ITER will be a regular feature on the Euronews network, which has a global reach of 430 million households (including 170 million European households) in 166 countries.

The goal is to raise awareness of the ITER Project, the promise of fusion, and Europe's leadership as the host Member—working together with China, India, Japan, Korea, Russia, and the USA—to bring to reality the most complex science experiment ever attempted.

The 20-second promotional spot has been filmed in five languages (English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian). It is scheduled to air two- to three-times daily, or approximately 70 times in December and another 70 in January.

You can watch the public service announcementson the ITER YouTube page in English, French, German, Spanish or Italian.

360° virtual tour updated
04 Dec 2019
The 360° virtual tour of ITER construction has been updated with drone footage from October 2019. Fly in, out and over the principal buildings of the ITER worksite by clicking on the coloured teardrop-shaped markers: red to follow a drone inside the buildings, yellow for a tour at ground level, or blue if you prefer to stay at bird's eye view.

Accessible from the home page of the ITER website (yellow icon) or by clicking on the link below, the 2D tour requires no special equipment to enjoy. (If you do have 3D glasses, click on the yellow goggle symbol at the bottom left of your screen.) Make sure you don't miss out on the "Tokamak 3d/Pit" button (blue site map, blue teardrop). It's a spectacular virtual visit of the completed plasma chamber.

Click here to enter the latest 360° ITER virtual tour.

The challenge and promise of burning plasmas
04 Dec 2019
In the December 2019 issue of Physics Today (Volume 72, Issue 12), two physicists explore the ways in which ITER will be a major step in "bridging the gap between current understanding and the knowledge needed to design and operate fusion power plants as safe, sustainable energy sources."

Richard J. Hawryluk* (Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory's associate director for fusion) and Hartmut Zohm (director at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, Garching) enumerate the open questions that are expected to be answered or clarified during ITER experimentation—heat and particle transport in the plasma core, stability of the edge region, plasma-boundary interactions, and alpha particle heating. "Experiments [at ITER] will be a unique opportunity to study burning plasmas, develop the tools needed to better understand them, and validate outstanding predictions. The experiments will provide seminal answers to questions that are central to the prospects for fusion."

Significant fusion power has only ever been achieved in two devices—and only for a little less than one second: up to 10 MW in the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (US), and up to 16 MW in the Joint European Torus (UK).

ITER—with the capability to produce 500 MW of power for more than 300 seconds—will enable "the first in-depth study of burning plasmas in a magnetic confinement configuration."

Read the full article here: "The challenge and promise of studying burning plasmas," Physics Today 72, 12, 34 (2019); doi: 10.1063/PT.3.4363. 

*Richard Hawryluk was also the ITER Deputy Director-General for Administration from 2011 to 2013.

"Fusioneers" write about fusion
02 Dec 2019
Fusion science and technology are complex matters that are difficult to explain to non-specialists. In its fall edition, Fusion in Europe (published by the EUROfusion network) asked a dozen "fusioneers" to write about the challenges they face in their daily practice. Whether hard-core scientists working in European laboratories and institutions, teachers or PhD students, they all volunteer their time to "entertain, enthral and educate" the general public.

"How do we teach ten-year-old students a complex topic like fusion?" asks Patricia Raposo-Weinberger, who teaches at Graz International Bilingual School in Graz, Austria. "For me, the best approaches are experiment and storytelling," she writes. "Never underestimate the power of a good, simple and enthusiastic story and its effect on students' interest in physics."

Jack Davies Hare, who currently works as a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics in Garching, Germany, summarizes the challenges of "surviving the maelstrom inside ITER" in a striking manner. He too begins with a question: "How do you build something that can survive for twenty years in the harshest conditions ever created on Earth, with no chance of replacement or repair, and with no test facility to replicate this environment?"

Like Patricia and Jack, the contributors to this "fusion writers edition" of Fusion in Europe share a common passion to communicate not only their enthusiasm but also their awe at what they uncover when exploring the bewildering world of fusion.

The "fusion writers edition" of Fusion in Europe can be downloaded here.

SOFT innovation prize: seeking applications
20 Nov 2019
Applications have opened for the 2020 SOFT Innovation Prize.

Building on the success of the SOFT Innovation Prize in 2014, 2016 and 2018, the European Commission has launched the contest's fourth edition under Euratom's 2019-20 Work Programme 2019-20. The prize seeks to highlight and reward excellence in research and technology innovation in the domain of fusion.

The contest is open to fusion researchers or research teams from all ITER partner countries, from any third party country that has a bilateral fusion cooperation agreement with Euratom, and to industrial participants in the ITER Project. Prizes will be awarded at the 31st Symposium on Fusion Technology (SOFT2020) in Dubrovnik, Croatia, held from 20 to 25 September 2020.

The application period runs from 19 November 2019 to 5 March 2020. For more information, visit SOFT2020.

JET tokamak: record heating power achieved
18 Nov 2019
In November, record neutral beam power of 30.8 MW were injected into a plasma on the JET tokamak at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE).

The new record was achieved during tests preparing the plasma scenarios required for JET's deuterium-tritium experiments in 2020, which aim to achieve high fusion power for a stable five seconds. Increased heating powers are crucial to achieving this target.

Beams of neutral particles (known as neutral beam injection) are one of the main plasma heating schemes on fusion machines such as JET and ITER. As well as supplying most of the heating power, the injection of energetic particles also provides useful diagnostic data for physicists.

CCFE's engineering team, which operates JET on behalf of European scientists under the EUROfusion consortium, has upgraded the neutral beam system from its previous capacity of 23 MW to a potential maximum of 34 MW. The extra power will support researchers using JET to simulate plasmas for the ITER Tokamak.

Read the full article on the CCFE website here.

Bloomberg on ITER
05 Nov 2019
"The world's great powers can't agree on small steps to tackle climate change, but they're cooperating on a huge leap of faith in Provence." So begins a recent article in Bloomberg on the ITER fusion project. Describing ITER both as one of the world's biggest scientific puzzles as well as a trade puzzle, author Jonathan Tirone explains how a 35-country network is sharing intellectual property, collaborating to bypass difficulties, and ultimately—if ITER succeeds—providing a template for world powers to develop fusion reactors or their own.

Read the article here. (Photographs by Alastair Philip Wiper)

An event that will change your ideas about factories!
23 Oct 2019
Next month, ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot will be presiding over a major public event in Marseille: L'Usine Extraordinaire (Extraordinary Factories). The three-day exhibition, organized from 14 to 16 November 2019, brings together more than 50 industrial actors and aims to change the public's perception of "big industry" by highlighting technological innovation, excellence, discovery, and ... the possibility of exciting careers.

More information (in French) at https://www.usineextraordinaire.com/

In a small corner of Haute-Provence
14 Oct 2019
In a few decades, when dozen of fusion plants operate throughout the world and the first signs of alien life are detected in a faraway system, one will realize that it all started here, in a small corner of southern France, amidst the rolling hills of Haute-Provence.

The ITER site and the Observatoire de Haute-Provence are only 45 kilometres distant.

In 1995, two Swiss astronomers, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz, coupled a highly sophisticated spectroscope to the Observatory's old 1.93-metre telescope (it was installed in 1958!) and discovered the first exoplanet—a "hot Jupiter" body orbiting the sun-like star 51 Pegasi, 42 light years distant from the Earth.

Last week, both Mayor and Queloz (along with astrophysicist James Peebles) were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for "forever changing our conceptions of the world."

By the time the first ITER buildings were coming out of the ground, close to 1,000 exoplanets had been detected. As of today, their number exceeds 4,500. Some of these worlds, made of solid rock like Earth, are orbiting the "habitable zone" of their star, where temperature allows water to be liquid and where life, whatever its form, is a possibility.

At an interval of a few years, on the ITER site and at the Observatoire de Haute-Provence, the seeds were sown for two momentous, game-changing pursuits: the harnessing of fusion energy and the quest for life outside our solar system.

"Miniature ITER" to run tritium experiments next year
23 Sep 2019
In order to generate large amounts of fusion power, there needs to be a combination of two heavy hydrogen nuclei such as deuterium and tritium. But because of the radioactive nature of tritium—and also its scarcity—most experimental plasmas consist of deuterium only.

Although scientists are able to scale up the predicted performance of deuterium-tritium (DT) plasmas, there is nothing like using the real DT mix itself.

Next year, the European tokamak JET will be re-introducing tritium into its vacuum vessel for the first time since 1997.

The importance of its DT experimental campaign cannot be overstated for ITER. Until ITER starts operation with tritium in 2035, JET tritium and deuterium-tritium experiments will offer fusion scientists the opportunity to investigate physics relevant to high-fusion-power DT plasmas.

Read more about the planned campaign on the website of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy.

On "Roundtable": Is nuclear fusion a source of limitless energy?
23 Sep 2019
Roundtable, from TRT World, describes itself as a discussion program with an edge. Broadcast out of London, it's about "bringing people to the table, listening to every opinion, and analyzing every point of view." In September 2019, host David Foster invited an illustrious panel to discuss the potential of hydrogen fusion: ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot; Steven Cowley, director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and former CEO of the UK Atomic Energy Authority; Mark Wenman, Imperial College London; and Colin Walters, current director of the UK Atomic Energy Authority.

Click here to watch the 25-minute program.

Hungarian YouTuber passes 190K views with feature on ITER
18 Sep 2019
Magyarósi Csaba, a popular Hungarian video blogger, has created a fast-paced and jaunty feature on ITER.

Travelling between experts at the Wigner Research Centre for Physics in Budapest and Hungarian staff at ITER, he introduces his followers to the principles of fusion before diving into ITER, literally, as his camera follows him in and out of buildings under construction, stairwells, offices, eateries, and even the equipment room for worksite visitors. 

His program, posted to YouTube on 13 September, has passed 190K views in the first two months.

Watch the 33-minute video (in Hungarian, with English subtitles) here.

What opportunities at ITER for US companies?
17 Sep 2019
In September, the US House Science Committee invited the ITER Organization to hold a mini "ITER Business Forum" in its chambers in Washington D.C. to inform US companies about upcoming business opportunities at ITER. Approximately 90 businesses attended the event, which was opened by ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot. The next round of planned tender offers was described, and Skype links were made available for direct question and answer sessions with managers and department heads on site at ITER.

See this page on the ITER website for more on current and forthcoming tender offers. 

ITER at the World Energy Congress
17 Sep 2019
The World Energy Congress takes place every three years to facilitate discussion on critical developments in the energy sector between ministers, CEOs, policy makers, scientists, and industry representatives from 150 countries. At the 24th edition, organized in Abu Dhabi from 9-12 September 2019, ITER was present as an exhibitor and as part of a panel session on how breakthrough technologies will drive the energy transition.
More information here.
Rosatom and Euratom meet on controlled nuclear fusion
10 Sep 2019
From 26 to 27 August, representatives of Euratom and Rosatom met in Russia to discuss collaboration in the field of controlled nuclear fusion.

Representatives of the Kurchatov Institute, Rosatom, and ITER Russia hosted colleagues from EUROfusion, the Karlsruhe University of Technology (KIT) and the Belgian nuclear research centre SCK•CEN to discuss the possibility of joint tokamak experiments and collaboration in the areas of diagnostics, plasma-wall interaction, fusion neutron sources, and materials.

Collaboration and cooperation between the two institutions is made possible by the "Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) in the field of controlled thermonuclear fusion" that was signed in 2001. Its stated purpose is "to "maintain and intensify cooperation in the areas of nuclear fusion energy on the basis of equality and mutual benefit in order to develop, particularly in the framework of activities connected with ITER project implementation, the scientific understanding and technological capability underlying a fusion power system.

At the Kurchatov Institute, visits were organized to the T-10 tokamak, as well as to T-15MD—an upgrade of the T-15 machine that is scheduled for completion next year.

Modi praises ITER at UNESCO
24 Aug 2019
In August, while on official visit to France at the invitation of President Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India shared his vision of cooperation in the field of energy on several occasions. At the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, he took pride in his country's participation in "the only fusion project under construction in the world." ''When fusion technology becomes available [...]," he said to expatriates gathered for the occasion, "this achievement will bear the mark of your contribution."

The full speech in Hindi is available on YouTube.

In Memoriam: Romano Toschi, a pioneer of the EU fusion energy program
06 Aug 2019
We regret to announce the passing, in August, of lifelong fusion advocate Romano Toschi.

Romano Toschi was a leading figure in the development the Italian magnetic confinement fusion program and played an important role in bringing the EU at the forefront of fusion research. He was known for his strong leadership and advocacy in furthering fusion and was a prime mover in the technical and political discussions leading to the establishment of ITER.

Below is an article describing his many contributions. EUROfusion has also published a tribute here.

Read the article about Romano Toschi

Exploring the crossovers between fusion and space
01 Aug 2019
"There's quite a significant crossover in the technologies between fusion and space. Both sectors have the need for components to be able to withstand high temperature, corrosion and be radiation-resistant. Equally, there is the requirement to use remote handling and advanced robotics in hazardous environments."

Heather Lewtas is the Programme Manager for Joining and Advanced Manufacturing at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE). At this year's Made for Space conference in the UK, she gave a talk on "Pushing the limits of component performance in nuclear fusion and space."

"I wanted to focus on the technology people working in fusion have really mastered, and how this can be transported to the space industry. Equally, what are the problems we have that the space industry could help us solve?"

Read more on the CCFE website.

ITER and science journalism
08 Jul 2019
What happens when hundreds of science journalists from more than 50 countries get together? A lot of questions get asked ...

Earlier this month, the 11th World Conference of Science Journalists (WCSJ2019) took place in Lausanne, Switzerland, with the stated ambition of "strengthening the professional, ethical and technical skills of science journalists by increasing their knowledge of recent developments in science and improving their understanding of the forces that shape our world."

ITER was there.

As one of the world's most ambitious—and complex—scientific projects, ITER has the responsibility to nurture close and open relationships with journalists around the world who may be interested in finding out more. Journalists communicate with the audiences that need to understand fusion—how it works, what are the advantages of this form of energy, and how it could become an integral part of their lives and those of future generations.

During the weeklong event, the ITER stand—with a cinematic booth showing drone footage of the worksite—was a first point of contact for journalists. ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot was also interviewed live by Science magazine's European news editor Eric Hand. Finally, a group of 25 journalists elected to take the train to ITER on the last day of the conference, where they were given an in-depth tour of construction.

​ITER's doors have always been open to the media. Our presence at the WCSJ2019 was a way to reaffirm this commitment to transparency.

Video: All the stages of composite ring fabrication
01 Jul 2019
The table turns slowly as strips of composite material are wound into a perfect ring. One hundred sixty-four turns later, the 3.4-tonne component, with an internal diameter of 5 metres, is ready for bonding, compression, curing, dry machining, inspection and testing.

These are ITER's pre-compression rings, a set of nine composite rings that will support the toroidal field magnet superstructure in the face of huge electromagnetic forces during operation. Encircling the tips of the coil structures at top and bottom, two sets of three rings will "push back" with a centripetal force of thousands of tonnes, suppressing any coil deflection and greatly reducing cyclic fatigue stresses.

The European Domestic Agency is working with principal contractor CNIM (Toulon, France) for the procurement of nine pre-compression rings (six, plus three spares). The raw material—pultrude laminate—is being procured by the European agency from the Finnish company Exel, while the equipment for last-phase testing was built under an ITER Organization contract awarded to Douce Hydro (France) in collaboration with CNIM. 

Production techniques and processes were validated during lengthy prototyping and qualification phases, and series production is underway now.

Visit the European Domestic Agency website to see a video of the production process.  

Japan-France five-year cooperation plan includes ITER
01 Jul 2019
In advance of the June G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and French President Emmanuel Macron held bilateral talks that resulted in the release of a five-year cooperation plan. Notably, ITER was one of the items on the agenda.

The plan provides a roadmap for partnership in the fields of maritime security, infrastructure development, global trade, space, cyberspace, cultural and scientific exchange, and the environment.

In Chapter IV (page 5-6), the two countries pledge to reinforce economic partnership with a particular emphasis on innovation—including ways of transitioning to energy systems that are low-carbon or carbon-neutral, affordable and stable. ITER makes that list, as well as the European-Japanese activities of the Broader Approach (advanced fusion energy research taking place in Japan).

Download the roadmap in Japanese or French

High-temp superconductor achieves record 45.5 Tesla
17 Jun 2019
Superconductivity is a miracle of physics: when cooled down to temperatures close to absolute zero, certain alloys, or compounds, cease to oppose resistance to the passage of electricity. In electromagnets made of superconducting coils like ITER's, electrical consumption drops to zero and, as an added advantage, no heat is generated inside the magnets.

Magnet cooling, however, requires a vast quantity of energy. Cooling fluids must be circulated through the entire length of the superconducting coils which, at ITER, means maintaining a forced flow of 25 tonnes of liquid helium at 4 K (minus 269 °C) throughout approximately 180 kilometres (and 10,000 tonnes) of conductor.

For many years, research worldwide has struggled to develop materials that would transition to the superconducting state at less frigid temperatures—so-called "high-temperature" superconductors.

Used in electromagnets, these "high-temperature" superconductors would allow the production of more powerful magnetic fields, passing the present limitation of low-temperature conductors (At its maximum in the centre of the ITER central solenoid, the magnetic field has an intensity of 13 Tesla.)

The National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida, recently announced an important breakthrough in the quest for "high-temperature" superconductors: the manufacturing and testing of a half-pint "little big coil" that operated inside the bore of large outer copper coil in a background field of approximately 30 T, itself generating an additional 14.4 T, thus generating a combined record magnetic field of 45.5 Tesla in its (small) bore. This experiment demonstrated the capability of high temperature superconductors to operate in very high magnetic fields under large stresses. This could open the way to a new generation of magnets for biomedical research and fusion reactors.

 More information on the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory website and in this month's issue of Nature.

Register for the 10th "Festival de Théorie" in Aix-en-Provence
14 Jun 2019
Every two years, the Festival de Théorie aims to promote interactions between PhD students, postdocs and young scientists in fusion plasma physics and related fields including astrophysics, fluid mechanics and geophysics.

Many of the principles governing the turbulence and magneto-hydrodynamic phenomena observed in fusion plasmas are similar to those found in naturally occurring astrophysical plasmas in the Sun. Fluid mechanics and planetary atmospheric physics also share common threads, reporting observations that often reflect the experimental measurements taken in tokamaks. This is where the Festival de Théorie comes in, fostering cross-disciplinary collaboration and providing an invaluable forum for tackling some of the key issues posed by ITER.

The theme selected this year is: Phase Dynamics. The 2019 program is organized around four weeks of study and research in collaboration with a core group of prominent scientists. Participants begin with two weeks of seminars and lectures, followed by research projects in weeks 3 and 4 on topics spanning plasma physics, fluid dynamics, astrophysics, and applied mathematics.

The 10th edition of the Festival de Théorie will take place in Aix-en-Provence, France, from 1 to 26 July 2019. Registration is open now.

INFUSE: new US program aims to accelerate fusion research
07 Jun 2019
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the launch of INFUSE, a program created to encourage partnerships in fusion research between industry and DOE national laboratories.

The Innovation Network for Fusion Energy (INFUSE) will select a number of projects for awards between $50,000 and $200,000 each, with a 20 percent project cost share for industry partners. Of particular focus will be "enabling technologies" that could contribute to accelerating the development of fusion energy such as new and improved superconducting magnets, materials science, diagnostics, modelling and simulation, and experimental capabilities.

DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will manage the new program with the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). ORNL's Dennis Youchison, a fusion engineer with extensive experience in plasma-facing components, will serve as director, and PPPL's Ahmed Diallo, a physicist with expertise in laser diagnostics, will serve as deputy director.

"I am excited about the potential of INFUSE and believe this step will instill a new vitality to the entire fusion community," says Youchison in the DOE press release. "With growing interest in developing cost-effective sources of fusion energy, INFUSE will help focus current research. Multiple private companies in the United States are pursuing fusion energy systems, and we want to contribute scientific solutions that help make fusion a reality."

The first call for proposals has been issued (deadline 30 June).

See the 4 June press release and the INFUSE website.

The Economist: podcast on fusion
06 Jun 2019
Fusion is the star of a recent Babbage podcast from The Economist, which aired on 5 June 2019. In "Fusing the future—a power struggle," science correspondent Alok Jha investigates the technology "that could solve all of the world's energy problems in a stroke."

Moving from the ITER Project—the "world's make or break fusion experiment"—to private startups, he investigates how close we are to the long-promised dream of nuclear fusion. Featuring interviews with Bernard Bigot, Director-General of the ITER Organization; Stephen Dean, Fusion Power Associates (US); Melanie Windridge, plasma physicist and author; Nicholas Hawker, CEO of First Light Fusion (UK); and David King, Executive Vice Chairman of Tokamak Energy (UK).

Listen here (runtime: 20 minutes).

First crane hall columns
27 May 2019
High above the concrete fortress that will house the ITER Tokamak, a steel lattice of pillars and beams will soon rise to complete the structure—both providing a roof (once covered over with cladding) and providing sheltered manoeuvring room for the heavy assembly cranes that will be travelling back and forth from the Assembly Hall carrying components.

Twenty steel pillars (ten on either side) will support the roof structure as well as resist the tremendous forces exerted by the movement of the bridge cranes.

The lower segments of the pillars (see photo) will be directly anchored in the concrete of the Tokamak Building, either on concrete columns or on weight-bearing "brackets" called corbels. The rest of the roof structure will be assembled in five modules on the ground and lifted into place by crane.

The roof of the Tokamak Building will weigh approximately 2,000 tonnes.

Read the full story on the Fusion for Energy website.

Reversing the plasma shape?
20 May 2019
Researchers from the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center, PSFC, and the University of Texas at Austin have had promising results in terms of plasma stability in experiments with "negative triangularity" on the DIII-D tokamak; that is, with reversing the conventional shape of the plasma in the tokamak chamber.

In results published recently in Physical Review Letters and Physics of Plasmas, researchers Alessandro Marinoni (MIT) and Max Austin (UT Austin) discovered evidence that reversing the conventional shape of the plasma in the tokamak chamber can create a more stable environment for fusion to occur, even under high pressure.

Marinoni and colleagues are planning future experiments to further demonstrate the potential of this approach in an even more fusion-power relevant magnetic topology, based on a "diverted" tokamak concept.

Read more on the subject on the PFSC website.

Assembling the second neutral beam testbed
20 May 2019
At ITER's Neutral Beam Test Facility, one testbed has been launched and another is in the procurement/assembly phase.

SPIDER—the ITER-scale negative ion source—turned on last year. Experiments on MITICA—a full-size prototype of ITER's 1 MV heating neutral beam injectors—are scheduled beginning 2022. Procurement is underway in Europe on the beam source and at Consorzio RFX in Padua, Italy, work is underway to install auxiliary components and systems.

In May, the first part of the MITICA beam source vacuum vessel was installed (photo). This stainless steel component was procured by the European Domestic Agency, Fusion for Energy, as a voluntary contribution to the ITER neutral beam development program.

See more about the manufacturing of the vessel here.

See more about the Neutral Beam Test Facility at Consorzio RFX here.

Modelling collaboration between ITER and TU/e
20 May 2019
Physics of Plasmas (American Institute of Physics) has published a paper on research carried out under a collaboration between the Eindhoven Technical University (TU/e, Netherlands) and the ITER Organization.

"Kinetic modeling of ELM-induced tungsten transport in a tokamak plasma" (D. C. van Vugt, G. T. A. Huijsmans, M. Hoelzl, A. Loarte, et al) describes the role of edge-localized modes (ELMs) in exhausting tungsten impurities from the core plasma of tokamaks to ensure that their concentration remains low.

The collaboration modelled tungsten impurity behaviour and power fluxes to plasma-facing components during controlled ELMs in ITER with advanced modelling by the JOREK code, which required specific upgrades to the code to include the necessary plasma-wall interaction and impurity transport processes.

The authors write: "This publication shows that the role of ELMs in cleaning up the plasma from tungsten eroded at the divertor in ITER can be opposite to that in present experiments, particularly when we approach the conditions required for high fusion energy production gain. This implies that the use of the ELM control coils, included in the ITER baseline design to modify ELM behaviour and eventually suppress ELMs, will be required not only for the control of power fluxes to the divertor but also to exhaust the eroded tungsten from the confined plasma to keep it clean."

Read the complete article on the TU/e website here.

Fusion diagnostic may help diagnose cancerous tumours
13 May 2019
In his time at DIFFER (the Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research) and the Swiss Plasma Center, fusion researcher Wouter Vijvers developed a novel imaging diagnostic known as MANTIS (Multispectral Advanced Narrowband Tokamak Imaging System).

Today, as CEO of the fusion spin-off Chromodynamics, he is hoping to use his real-time imaging technique in applications such as medical diagnosis and industrial quality and process control.

Imagine if a surgeon removing a malignant tumour from a patient could precisely see the contours of the tumour while operating. "Healthy tissues and malignant tissues have different chemical profiles, and this difference is what multispectral imaging will be able to capture and show," he explains. "Combine that with real-time capabilities, and a surgeon could see the image of the malignant tissue while operating to ensure complete removal."

In the meantime, Vijvers is still using his technology to study the plasma edge. In a Cooperation Agreement signed in February with the ITER Organization, Chromodynamics is joining Dutch research institutes TNO and DIFFER as well as Active Space Technologies (Europe) to develop a diagnostic tool capable of measuring the impurity content of the plasma.

See the full article on the EUROfusion website.

Magic metal, lithium, to be tested in LTX-β upgrade
13 May 2019
Lithium, the light silvery metal used in everything from pharmaceutical applications to the batteries that power your smartphone or electric car, could also help harness fusion energy on Earth. Lithium can maintain the heat and protect the tokamak vessel walls, and it will be used to produce tritium, the hydrogen isotope that will combine with deuterium to fuel fusion.

At the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) in the US, researchers have completed a three-year upgrade of the Lithium Tokamak Experiment, now called the Lithium Tokamak Experiment-Beta. This unique device will be able to test the ability of lithium to maintain the heat and protect the walls of the tokamak.

Photo: Interior view of the Lithium Tokamak Experiment prior to the upgrade.

See plans for the machine on the PPPL website.

Giving mega-science a big stage
02 May 2019
Vigyan Samagam, the first-ever mega-science exhibition on show in India, starts its ten-month multi-venue tour at the Nehru Science Centre in Mumbai on 8 May. The aim is to bring mega-science closer to society and raise awareness and enthusiasm—especially among the younger generations, inspiring them to consider science and research as formidable career options.

The exhibition will allow visitors to get first-hand impressions of the big science projects that are redefining the boundaries of human knowledge for the benefit of all, and in which India is participating. ITER is one of the seven projects featured (with CERN, the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR), the India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO), the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO), the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), and the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) International Observatory).

After staying in Mumbai for the first two months, the exhibition will then travel to Bengaluru, Kolkata and Delhi.

For more information on the event, please click here.

Assembling testbed #2 for ITER's heating neutral beams
15 Apr 2019
The ITER neutral beam injectors will be first of a kind, operating at 1MV with negative ion beams up to 40A. As part of a risk mitigation strategy, the ITER Organization is testing key system components in advance of operation at the ITER Neutral Beam Test Facility in Padua, Italy. This facility, housed at the Consorzio RFX laboratory, is the only one in the world capable of demonstrating ITER heating neutral beam requirements simultaneously.

Experiments began last year on SPIDER, a full-scale negative ion source. A second testbed will come on line in 2022: MITICA, a full-scale prototype 1 MV injector that will allow scientists to test and optimize the beam source, accelerator, and beamline components.

Work is progressing on the assembly of the MITICA test bed now. Acceptance tests have been run on the high voltage power sources supplied by Europe and Japan (see this page for photos) and, recently, Europe delivered the vacuum chamber that will house the MITICA beam source (photo).

The 5-metre-tall, 67-tonne chamber was manufactured by De Pretto Industrie (Italy) under a contract signed with the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy.

See more about the component on the Fusion for Energy website.

-- Final acceptance tests underway on the MITICA vacuum vessel at De Pretto Industrie.

Making a 1,000-tonne electromagnet
08 Apr 2019
In this new photomontage by General Atomics and US ITER, watch how ITER's 1,000-tonne central electromagnet is fabricated in a specialized workshop in Poway, California. It takes approximately 22-24 months to manufacture one central solenoid module, and six are needed for the ITER machine (plus a seventh as a spare). © General Atomics/US ITER

Click here to see the video.

JET secures funding through 2020
01 Apr 2019
Funding has been secured for the Joint European Tokamak (JET) through the end of 2020, providing welcome visibility to the world's largest operating fusion research facility in the context of uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

The future of JET has been under discussion since 2017 as its work is covered by the Euratom Treaty, which the UK Government intends to leave as part of the process of leaving the European Union.

The new contract signed last week between the UK and the European Commission provides reassurance for over 500 staff at JET, including many from outside the UK. It also means JET can conduct a series of vital fusion tests planned for 2020 that will serve as a "dress rehearsal" for ITER.

JET is operated by the UK Atomic Energy Authority at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE). Scientists from 28 European countries use it to conduct research into fusion energy through work coordinated by the EUROfusion consortium, which manages and funds European fusion research activities on behalf of Euratom.

Ian Chapman, CEO of the UK Atomic Energy Authority, said: "The extension to the contract is excellent news for both European Union and UK science. JET has been a shining example of scientific cooperation between European Union members, and this news means that these mutually beneficial collaborations will continue, allowing us to do essential experiments on the path to delivering fusion power."

Tony Donné, Programme Manager of EUROfusion, added: "A heavy weight has been lifted off our shoulders. This is extraordinarily good news for EUROfusion and the European fusion community as a whole. We can now continue to work on the realization of fusion energy together with the indispensable experience of our British partner."

See the EUROfusion and CCFE websites for more on the funding news.

Fusion Summer School at IPP (Germany)
18 Mar 2019
Physics and engineering students of European universities are invited to attend the 2019 Summer University at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Garching, Germany, from 16 to 20 September.

The IPP Summer University for Plasma Physics and Fusion Research is designed for those students who have completed their bachelor's degree, but who have not yet decided on a PhD topic.

Lectures are planned on plasma physics, plasma-wall interaction and materials research, ITER and the next steps toward fusion energy, and more. The course will include a tour of the ASDEX Upgrade tokamak experiment (pictured) and laboratories.

Sign up by 31 May here.

New device may stop plasma disruptions fast
15 Mar 2019
Fusion scientists keep looking for ways to address the challenge of plasma disruptions, which can halt fusion reactions and potentially damage the plasma-facing components of a fusion device.

Researchers at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and the University of Washington have developed a prototype device to control plasma disruptions. The electromagnetic particle injector, EPI, is a type of railgun that fires a high-velocity projectile, a sabot, from a pair of electrified rails into a plasma that is on the verge of disruption. The sabot releases light-metal pellets into the centre of the plasma that would spread out the energy of the disruption from the centre of the plasma to the edge, thus weakening its impact on the vessel walls.

The EPI can deliver the pellets more deeply into the plasma than other techniques. For physicist Roger Raman of the University of Washington, the primary advantage of the new device is "its potential to meet short-warning time scales." Pellets should be delivered in less than 20 milliseconds from the warning of a disruption, with 10 milliseconds as ideal. During tests, the EPI delivered pellets in less than 10 milliseconds. In comparison, the gas-propelled system needs 30 milliseconds.

Read the full article on the PPPL website, which includes a slow-motion video of an EPI shot.

(Photo by Elle Starkman)

56th Culham Plasma Physics Summer School
11 Mar 2019
The 56h Culham Plasma Physics Summer School is open to applications.

The school will cover fundamental plasma physics,  together with a broad understanding of its fields of application. No previous knowledge of the subject is expected, but familiarity with electromagnetism and applied mathematics at first degree level is recommended. Lecturers are drawn from the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) together with leading European universities. All are renowned experts in their fields.

For more details and to apply please visit: https://culhamsummerschool.org.uk/

Discount for early registrations before 15 May.

The deadline for applications is 25 May.

New tungsten alloy: potential material for fusion reactors
11 Mar 2019
Researchers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States have developed thin films made of a tungsten alloy that could be used inside fusion reactors. The material, a nanocrystalline tungsten-tantalum-vanadium-chromium alloy, showed "outstanding radiation resistance when compared to pure nanocrystalline tungsten materials," said researcher Osman El Atawi in an article published in The Engineer.

The inside of a fusion reactor vessel faces the hot plasma and must withstand extremely high temperatures as well as bombardment by charged and neutral particles. Tungsten, which is currently considered the most suitable material to protect the inside of a vacuum vessel, tends to fracture after radiation, while the newly developed alloy material retains its mechanical properties.

Osman El Atawi (left) and Enrique Martinez collaborated with researchers from several scientific institutes in the United States, Poland and the United Kingdom. Their joint paper is published in Science Advances.

"A Glass of Seawater!" podcast
06 Mar 2019
What do you get when you mix three parts fusion doctoral training, two measures of outreach, many parts of information, and a final jigger of fun?

A Glass of Seawater!—a self-described "light, informative, and inspiring podcast all about the field of fusion energy research as seen through the eyes of PhD students from FUSION CDT*."

Now in its third season, the podcast takes on all kinds of nuclear fusion/plasma physics topics from, as the organizers are happy to admit, a "glass half full" perspective. What is incredibly hard—but also exciting—about research in fusion today? Which challenges have been overcome and which remain? What are the latest developments from the world of materials science? And—last but not least—how much fuel for the fusion reaction can be taken from a glass of seawater?

Tune in to Andrew, Bhavin, William and their many guests here, or look up A Glass of Seawater! on Facebook and Twitter.

Also, see this recent write-up from EUROfusion.

Five UK universities—Durham University, University of Liverpool, University of Manchester, University of Oxford, University of York—have joined within FUSION CDT to offer doctoral training in fusion-relevant disciplines such as plasma physics, material science, nuclear physics, technology, laser physics, and instrumentation. Learn more here.

"Planet ITER" stars in travelling exhibit
04 Mar 2019
Established in December 1893, the monthly L'Usine nouvelle ("The New Factory") is one of the oldest French trade magazines. To celebrate its 125th anniversary, the magazine organized a major travelling photography exhibit that will be presented at several engineering schools in France and eventually, in 2020, at the Palais du Luxembourg—home of the French Senate in Paris.

"Industry seen from above" brings together spectacular aerial photographs of industrial installations and infrastructure in France and abroad. And ITER is one of them.

The organizers chose a composite photo created by ITER contractor Emmanuel Riche from several drone views of the ITER site taken at dusk in December 2017. The resulting "planet"—centred on the Tokamak Building and its circular bioshield, with cranes jutting out at the "equator"—is one of the most spectacular renditions of the ITER site, in both its artistic and its documentary approach.

IPP tungsten image wins science photo award
25 Feb 2019
A photo of a specimen of tungsten-fibre-reinforced tungsten after a stress test won the first prize in science publisher Elsevier's "NuMart Image Competition". Johann Riesch and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) developed the composite material as part of the search for materials that could be used at high-stress locations in fusion plasma vessels.

Although tungsten is the metal with the highest melting point, it is highly brittle and develops cracks under punctual stresses. Taking their cue from fibre-reinforced ceramics, Riesch and his team developed tungsten-fibre-reinforced tungsten where tungsten fibres with a diameter of 150 micrometres bridge the cracks in the tungsten matrix.

The photo taken by Martin Balden shows the new material after a breaking test as seen by an electron-microscope, demonstrating how the fibres enhance the fracture toughness of the tungsten material. The image will feature on the cover of the jubilee issue of Elsevier's Journal of Nuclear Materials, which will be published in April 2019, marking its 60th anniversary.

See the full article on the IPP website here.

ITER goes manga 2.0
25 Feb 2019
The sequel of the ITER manga is out. Taiyô Tenno, the young Japanese art student who had visited Provence and had been introduced to ITER by French scientist Soléane, has returned to France. He spends his summer vacation as an intern at ITER's Communication Department where he and his two intern colleagues are tasked to come up with an idea of how to reach out to people all over the world and spread the word about ITER.

Taiyô meets Soléane again who introduces him to ITER's Deputy-Director Eisuke Tada. During a weekend walk on the Sainte Victoire mountain near Aix-en-Provence with Mr. Tada, Taiyô learns about the diversity at ITER, with experts coming from all over the world, sharing ideas in an open and frank atmosphere. Taiyô is inspired and returns to work full of ideas.

To find out how the story ends, read the new installment "A small sun on Earth. Volume 2: Internship chapter" published by ITER Japan. It is available in Japanese, English and French.

Download the manga on the ITER Japan website here or directly from the ITER Publications page (Comics).

This alloy has fusion in mind
18 Feb 2019
A two-year campaign to test the resistance of EUROFER97 steel, financed by the European Domestic Agency, has just ended at the Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG) of the Netherlands.

The European Domestic Agency, Fusion for Energy, will be using a new kind of steel—EUROFER97—in its test blanket module program for its ability to resist high heat fluxes and neutron activation. In 2015, the agency contracted with Studsvik (Sweden) and its subcontractor NRG to study the performance of the steel after irradiation in conditions similar to those expected at ITER. Four irradiation campaigns with EUROFER97 steel samples have now been carried out in NRG's High Flux Reactor in Petten and the samples will undergo full analysis at Studsvik for brittleness, material strength, and microscopic changes.

Read the article in World Nuclear News.

How Europe benefits from ITER
28 Jan 2019
A recent public hearing organized by the Budgetary Control Committee of the European Parliament has shed a light on the significant impact of ITER in terms of economic benefits and job creation.

According to Massimo Garribba, Director at the Commission's Directorate-General for Energy, ITER has produced almost EUR 4.8 billion in gross value added and almost 34,000 "job years" over the period 2008-2017 through the award of over 900 contracts and grants in 24 countries of the European Union.

European companies report that working for ITER generates a new knowledge base, offers new business opportunities and increases their competitiveness and growth, helping to create additional jobs.

Read the details on the Fusion for Energy website.

Plasma webcam among world's "most interesting"
28 Jan 2019
Thousands of live webcams throughout the world provide viewers with spectacular natural vistas, cityscapes and beaches, trendy bars and colourful markets in real time. Every year the EarthCam network, a website that collects webcams from thousands of sites across the globe, selects 25 of the most interesting views offered to the public.

As expected, webcam #1 in 2018 was pointed at a beautiful natural scene—the Arenal volcano in Costa Rica which, until a few years ago, was one of the most active in the world. There were also cats among the first tier of the awardees.

The surprise however came with webcam #18, the Remote Glow Discharge Experiment (RGDX) at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), over which the EarthCam editors confessed they were "geeking out."

The RDGX allows viewers to turn on a plasma and change the gas pressure, the voltage, and the strength of the electromagnets from any place in the world.

Along with a webcam focused on a light bulb that has been shining at the Livermore, California, Fire Department for... 117 years ... and an interactive robot-controlling cam in Oakland, also in California, Princeton's RDGX is the only science- and technology-oriented webcam to make the first "25 most interesting webcams" in the world.

Read the original article on the PPPL website.

Raindrops and fiery sightings: new research from around the world
21 Jan 2019
At the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), researcher Fulvio Militello is working on a statistical model that compares the seemingly random movement of filaments (structures that emerge at the edges of the hot plasma) to the behaviour of raindrops. In the same way that each unique raindrop follows the same laws of physics (they hit the pavement), filaments that differ in strength, speed, size, amplitude or position follow certain rules as they move. Militello's model estimates collective behaviour in order to give scientists a tool to predict and control them. Read more about his theory on the CCFE website.

In working with data from the DIII-D tokamak, physicists Ahmed Diallo and Julien Dominski from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have uncovered a trigger for a particular type of ELM—fiery bursts of plasma called Edge Localized Modes—that does not fit into present models. Their findings could shed light on the variety of mechanisms leading to the onset of ELMs and could broaden the portfolio of ELM suppression tools. Read the full report on the PPPL website.

A new Chair for EUROfusion's General Assembly
14 Jan 2019
On October 9 2014, fusion research bodies from European Union member states and Switzerland signed an agreement to cement European collaboration on fusion research and EUROfusion—the European Consortium for Development of Fusion Energy—was born. EUROfusion supports and funds fusion research activities on behalf of the European Commission's Euratom program. Today, there are 30 participating research organizations and universities from 26 European member states plus Switzerland and the Ukraine.

Beginning this month, Ambrogio Fasoli replaces Jérome Pamela as the Chair of EUROfusion's decision-making body, the General Assembly. Jérome Pamela had been in the role since January 2015.

Challenges ahead for the new Chair include the transition to the next European research and innovation framework program, Horizon Europe; navigating the uncertainties linked to Brexit; and the strategic direction of EUROfusion as it pursues the objectives laid out in the European Roadmap to Fusion Electricity.

Read interviews of the incoming and outgoing Chairs on the EUROfusion website.

See an on-line biography of the new Chair on the EPFL website.

Fusion Power Associates: Expectations through the 2020s
14 Jan 2019
Every year in December, the annual meeting of the Fusion Power Associates brings together senior representatives of the US and international fusion communities and US policymakers to review the status of fusion research and consider the way forward.

The 39th annual meeting, organized in Washington D.C. on 4-5 December 2018 on the topic of "Strategies and Expectations Through the 2020s," was no different—representatives from US government and US national labs and universities mixed with representatives from programs in Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Korea, the United Kingdom and, of course, ITER to review the fusion research landscape and promising paths to fusion energy.

All presentations from the 39th Annual Meeting can be downloaded here.

Fusion world: A process that stabilizes plasmas
14 Jan 2019
Researchers at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in the US are reporting findings that can be beneficial to ITER, says John Greenwald on the laboratory's website.

Results published by theoretical physicist Allan Reiman and his colleague Professor Nat Fisch in Physical Review Letters focus on so-called tearing modes—instabilities in the plasma that create magnetic islands, which are a key source of plasma disruptions.

Currents driven by radio frequency waves in the interior of these magnetic islands can stabilize deleterious tearing modes, an effect that is augmented by small perturbations in the plasma's temperature.

"When the power deposition in the island exceeds a threshold level, there is a jump in the temperature that greatly strengthens the stabilizing effect," says Reiman. "This allows the stabilization of larger islands than previously thought possible."

Read the full report on the PPPL website.

Physicists Allan Reiman, left, and Nat Fisch. (Photos by Elle Starkman)

ITER Business Forum: register now
07 Jan 2019
Registration is open now for the 2019 edition of the ITER Business Forum (IBF/2019) to be held in Antibes, France from 26 to 28 March.

At IBF/2019, representatives of the ITER Organization, the Domestic Agencies, and main suppliers will be making presentations on industrial involvement in the project, procurement opportunities, and main future calls for tender.

In specific thematic sessions, registered delegates will have the opportunity to meet potential partners or subcontractors at the French, European or international level. A 1-1 meeting schedule tool is also available on line for all registered companies.

To find out more about the conference, to register to participate, or to reserve a stand, please see the IBF/2019 website.

Is fusion's future on the Moon?
07 Jan 2019
Like mountaineers at the foot of Mount Everest, spacefaring nations have aimed for the Moon "because it's there." Now, close to 60 years after the first object from Earth landed (or more accurately "crashed") on the surface of our satellite and half a century after Apollo 11 gently deposited two men on the Sea of Tranquility, there are very concrete incentives to 21st century lunar exploration.

And one of these incentives has to do with the future of fusion.

Research today is essentially focused on the fusion of hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium, which is the "easiest" to achieve with our present technological capabilities. However, other energy-producing combinations of light nuclei are theoretically possible, a few of which involve the helium isotope 3 (3He). Fusing 3He with itself or with deuterium offers the immense advantage of not producing neutrons and hence avoids activating materials in the fusion chamber.

Carried by solar wind, 3He is prevented from reaching the surface of our planet because of the magnetic field that protects it. On the Moon however, where the magnetic field is considerably weaker, large quantities of 3He have accumulated close to the surface. For many years, some scientists, politicians, and private companies (and even a former Apollo astronaut) have made the argument for "mining the Moon" for 3He. Other scientists argue that mining the Moon for 3He is pure ... moonshine.

Despite the controversy, 3He recently made headlines in relation with the recent landing of the Chinese rover Chang'e 4 on the dark side of the Moon. Professor Ouyang Ziyuan, the Chief Scientist of the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program, was widely quoted saying that a long-term industrial program to mine the Moon for 3He was economically justified.  "The moon is 'so rich' in helium 3," he said, "that it could solve humanity's energy demand for around 10,000 years at least."

Photo: The Chang'e 4 module landed on the dark side of the Moon on 3 January 2019.


US National Academies: US should remain in ITER
21 Dec 2018
The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has completed a multiyear study of the overall status of magnetic confinement fusion research in the United States. Its recommendation? Continued US participation in the ITER Project and an unambiguous increase in funding for the domestic fusion program leading to the construction of a compact pilot plant.

The Final Report of the Committee on a Strategic Plan for Burning Plasma Research was the latest in a number of steps undertaken by policymakers in the United States to evaluate the state of domestic fusion research—including current and planned participation in international programs—and to develop a strategic plan for the future.

The final report issued in December 2018 makes two recommendations:

  • The United States should remain an ITER partner as the most cost-effective way to gain experience with a burning plasma at the scale of a power plant.
  • The United States should start a national program of accompanying research and technology leading to the construction of a compact pilot plant that produces electricity from fusion at the lowest possible capital cost.
See the press release for more information or to download the full report.

A tokamak made of virtual glass
19 Dec 2018
A new simulation tool helps scientists to understand how a tokamak would look during a fusion experiment. Research Software Engineer Alex Meakins of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) in the UK has created a series of computerized images of the JET tokamak rendered in glass with the help of CHERAB, a simulation tool that combines plasma modelling with a powerful photo-realistic ray-tracer. This technique traces the path of light through a virtual world and predicts the effects of light bouncing off objects.

CHERAB helps address a long-standing problem for fusion diagnostics—the interference of light reflection from the metal surfaces inside a tokamak's vacuum chamber with the ability to make accurate plasma measurements.

Read the full article published by CCFE here.

Celebrating a successful year
10 Dec 2018
On 3 December, over 1,100 ITER staff, contractors, partners, families and friends celebrated the end of 2018 as a successful year for the ITER Project and its mission to create clean and safe energy for the future.

Opening the evening at the Grand Théâtre de Provence in Aix-en-Provence, ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot told the audience that "our progress is the result of hard work, creative problem-solving and strong commitment on the part of every member of the ITER Team."

The highlight of the evening was the show of the award-winning shadow dance team Die Mobilés from Germany, whose masterful play with shapes, light and music took the audience on a tour to ITER Member countries around the world and through a short history of film. With astonishing creativity and as a special surprise for the audience, the artists brought ITER to life on stage—including a depiction of a busy worksite and a Tokamak model.

See a video clip from the show here.

ITER International School: register now
10 Dec 2018
Registration is now open for the 10th ITER International School, which will take place in Daejeon, Korea, from 21 to 25 January 2019. The registration fee for foreign students of KRW 340,000 (equivalent to around EUR 265, VAT included) includes accommodation, lunches and dinners, and bus service between the hotel and the school.

The ITER International School aims to prepare young scientists/engineers for work in the field of nuclear fusion and in research applications associated with the ITER Project.

The 10th edition, to be held at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon, is organized around "The Physics and Technology of Power Flux Handling in Tokamaks." This subject has an interdisciplinary character: power flux handling in tokamaks is key challenge for the development of nuclear fusion, but one that can only be resolved through the integration of physics-based approaches to decrease power fluxes on the tokamak wall together with technological developments for tokamak wall components.

For more information or to register, please visit www.iterschool2019.kr.

President Xi Jinping explains ITER and fusion
03 Dec 2018
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of China's Reform and Opening, President Xi Jinping visited the Exhibition of Achievements and explained ITER and fusion energy development in China to the other six members of the Political Bureau, the highest decision-making body in China.

03 Dec 2018
Starting this week, politicians, scientists, strategists and non-governmental organizations meet in Katowice, Poland, for the 24th United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP24. ITER will present its quest for a new and clean source of energy on Thursday, 6 December, as physicist Greg de Temmerman steps into the ring to share the latest updates on the project.

Following his talk, starting at 11:00 a.m. in the Climate Action Hub amphitheatre, there will be a screening of the award-winning fusion documentary "Let there be Light."

You can see the entire talk on the COP24 website. Click on the respective agenda item on the right-hand side - the video will start after about one minute.


Wendelstein 7-X: new stellarator record
30 Nov 2018
The stellarator fusion device Wendelstein 7-X achieved record results during its three-month experimental campaign in 2018, reports the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Greifswald, Germany.

In experiments run from July to October, operators were able to improve plasma temperatures and densities over the first campaign and achieve long discharge times of up to 100 seconds. A 30-second plasma at 6 MW was achieved with an input heating energy of 200 MJ, while at reduced power a 100-second plasma was achieved at 2 MW.

These results are "highly satisfying" and represent some of the best stellarator values to date, the press release reports. The team is now pursuing further engineering upgrades—notably the replacement of current plasma-facing components with actively water-cooled components—to enable even higher plasma energies and, ultimately, plasmas lasting 30 minutes.

Read the full report on IPP's website.

All about ITER staffing
26 Nov 2018
You might wonder how many people are employed by the ITER Organization. Or how the staff pool breaks down in terms of hiring category, education level, gender or age. Or even something about family profile or Member representation.

With 35 countries participating, "diversity" is perhaps the word that best characterizes human resources at ITER. Find out more about hiring statistics, staff metrics, mobility, training, performance and more in the ITER Organizaton 2017 Social Report.

All ITER publications can be downloaded from this dedicated page on the ITER website.

Plasma edge research with supercomputer
26 Nov 2018
The fastest supercomputer in the world, Summit (launched earlier this year at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US) will be instrumental in advancing fusion studies. Choong-Seock Chang, head of the Center for Edge Physics Simulation (EPSI) at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (US), studies the complex physics at the edge of fusion plasmas by running simulations on Summit. "It enables us to do physics which we have not been able to do before," he says.

According to Chang, scientists discovered that putting more heat into the edge of a plasma eliminated impurities and calmed the plasma. The supercomputer, featuring 2700 NVIDIA Volta GPUs, runs simulations to help get an understanding at the fundamental level of how these processes function. With the help of artificial intelligence, Summit will sift through the huge amount of simulation data and select the data with "the new physics."

The ultimate goal, says Chang, is to model the entire device and "build a virtual tokamak so that we can predict and design the next fusion reactor."

See the video published by NVIDIA here.

Call for nominations: Miya-Abdou Award
26 Nov 2018
For the ninth time, the International Standing Committee for the International Symposium on Fusion Nuclear Technology (ISFNT) has published a call for nomination for the Miya-Abdou Award. The prize honours outstanding contributions to the field of fusion nuclear technology by young nuclear scientists or engineers. Winners receive the award at the biennial gathering of the ISFNT.

The award is named after fusion experts Kenzo Miya who used to work at the University of Tokyo and Mohamed Abdou from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in recognition of their contribution to the field of fusion nuclear technology.

The ninth Miya-Abdou Award will be presented at the 14th ISFNT meeting from 22-27 September 2019 in Budapest, Hungary. The deadline for nominations is 15 May 2019.

For more information please consult ISFNT's website.

Italy's new fusion test facility: calling out to industry
26 Nov 2018
The Divertor Tokamak Test facility (DTT) is a new Italian fusion project that aims to address one of the major challenges identified in the European Fusion Roadmap: i.e., exhausting power from fusion reactors. The project is led by the Italian national Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Development (ENEA) in collaboration with all the Italian fusion community and international institutions.

"DTT will mark a significant step forward for fusion development in Europe and worldwide," stresses DTT project leader Aldo Pizzuto, "and it will help to strengthen the industry involvement in fusion technology and engineering."

The DTT facility will be located in the ENEA premises in Frascati and the first industrial procurements for its components will be launched in early 2019. A DTT Industry Day will be held on 14 December 2018 in Frascati, which will be dedicated to the presentation of the procurement strategy and schedule. Business-to-business (B2B) meetings and bilateral thematic tables will also be organized.

To register for the DTT Industry Day click here.

For more information on the Divertor Tokamak Test facility, see this website.

Four large transformers expected on Friday
19 Nov 2018
Another Highly Exceptional Load (HEL) passes through the six-kilometre-long channel (the Canal de Caronte) that leads from the Mediterranean into the inland sea Étang de Berre through the town of Martigues.

The load consists of four transformers—one poloidal field coil rectifier procured by China and three central solenoid converters (89 tonnes each) procured by Korea. All four are "step down transformers" that lower the 66 kV tension to a few kilovolts before the AC current is transformed into DC to be fed to the magnets. The HEL convoy will begin its land journey on Wednesday and is expected at ITER in the wee hours of Friday. Three more poloidal field coil rectifiers, stored in DAHER facility in Berre, will hit the road on Wednesday 28 November to be delivered at ITER the following Friday.

EAST tokamak pushes past 100 million °C
19 Nov 2018
The Chinese Academy of Sciences has reported that the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) at the Institute of Plasma Physics in Hefei has achieved an electron temperature of over 100 million degrees in its core plasma during a four-month experiment carried out earlier this year in collaboration with domestic and international colleagues.

Power injection exceeded 10 MW, and plasma stored energy reached 300 kJ after scientists optimized the coupling of different heating techniques (lower hybrid wave heating, electron cyclotron wave heating, ion cyclotron resonance heating and neutral beam ion heating). The experiment utilized advanced plasma control and theory/simulation prediction.

Research at EAST on physics and technology issues under steady-state operational conditions is directly relevant to ITER. Recent experiments on plasma equilibrium and instability, confinement and transport, plasma-wall interaction, and energetic particle physics have demonstrated long-time scale, steady-state H-mode operation with good control of impurity, core/edge MHD stability, and heat exhaust using an ITER-like tungsten divertor. 

Read a detailed report here.

£20 million additional funding for UK fusion
12 Nov 2018
The UK government has pledged to provide an additional £20m in 2019-20 to the UK Atomic Energy Agency (UKAEA), the public body responsible for research into nuclear fusion and the management of the country's largest fusion research laboratory, the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE).

"We think fusion has a big role to play," said UKAEA CEO Professor Ian Chapman. "The fuels are abundant around the globe, it doesn't release greenhouse gases and it doesn't produce long-lived radioactive waste like the nuclear fission power we have today."

The 2018 Budget reaffirms the government's commitment to nuclear energy following an absence of new investments into the sector in the 2017 Budget.

According to the World Nuclear Association, nuclear power accounted for 21% of UK electricity in September this year, however "almost half" of the country's 15 reactors are expected to be decommissioned by 2025.

Read the full article  in "Power Technology" here.

Photo: The Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE).

37-second plasma marks WEST's first milestone
12 Nov 2018
Thirty-seven seconds might seem like a very short duration—but not for a plasma, and even less for a plasma produced by a machine that is just commencing operations.

The 37-second plasma that WEST obtained on 31 October exceeds by 7 seconds the first of five milestones ("Key Project Indicators") that were assigned to the machine on its way to final commissioning.

The good news did not come alone—the final ITER-like, actively-cooled full tungsten divertor has just been ordered. It will replace the present non-actively cooled divertor made of tungsten-covered graphite blocks and only a few actively cooled test plasma-facing units.

When this new divertor is installed, WEST will be able to produce ITER-relevant plasmas of up to 1,000 seconds.

Breaking news: first component installed next week
12 Nov 2018
In the third week of November, the ITER Organization will be installing the first component of the machine in the basement of the Tokamak Building.

The 10-metre, 6-tonne metal component is one segment of the magnet feeder that will relay electrical power, cryogenic fluids and instrumentation cables from outside of the machine in to poloidal field coil #4. The specific section to be installed, called a "feedthrough," will cross through the bioshield and cryostat at the lowest (B2) level of the building.

Delivered by the Chinese Domestic Agency to ITER last year, the component has undergone testing at the MIFI workshop (Magnet Infrastructure Facilities for ITER), which is operated jointly by a team from ITER and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).

Most recently, the lifting operation was tested at MIFI using a specially designed tool delivered by the Korean Domestic Agency (picture). Next week the component will be transferred by truck to a staging area, and then lifted up into the circular assembly area and lowered to the floor.

Stay tuned for a report in the 26 November issue of the ITER Newsline on the first act of the machine installation phase.

Control panel in Russia allows remote participation on world tokamaks
12 Nov 2018
At the Troitsk Institute for Innovative and Fusion Research (Moscow region), specialists have established a unique remote control panel that enables participation on leading fusion devices around the world.

Based on the facility's lab complex for neutron and spectroscopy diagnostics, the panel will facilitate the creation and calibration of diagnostic systems for ITER under Russian procurement scope.

The first cooperation line has been established with Europe's JET tokamak, based in Culham, UK.  

PPPL: New interim deputy director for operations
29 Oct 2018
Rich Hawryluk—who was Deputy Director-General for the Administration Department at the ITER Organization from 2011 to 2013—has been appointed interim deputy director for operations of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) while an international search for a permanent operations director moves forward. 

Hawryluk will assume the position of Terry Brog, who is stepping down from his position. Brog will remain at the Laboratory for the next six months as the head of special assignments and will work on special projects for the Department of Energy and will help develop a technology transfer plan for the Laboratory. 

This is a familiar role for Hawryluk. He served as deputy director for 11 years from 1997 to 2008. Hawryluk came to PPPL in 1974 after receiving his Ph.D. in physics from MIT. During his 44-year career, he has worked on most of the major fusion experiments at PPPL. He was head of the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor, then the largest magnetic confinement facility in the United States, from 1991 to 1997. After leaving his position as deputy director, he headed PPPL's ITER and Tokamaks Department from 2009 to 2011. From 2011 to 2013, he worked at ITER in France, serving as the deputy director-general for the Administration Department of ITER.  After returning to the Laboratory in 2013, Hawryluk headed the ITER and Tokamaks Department for three years. In 2016, he became head of the NSTX-U Recovery Project and headed that effort until becoming interim Laboratory director in September 2017. 

Read more here.

Next ITER Business Forum in March
29 Oct 2018
The 2019 edition of the ITER Business Forum will be held in the French city of Antibes from 26 to 28 March.

Organized by Agence Iter France with the participation of the ITER Organization, the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy, and other Domestic Agencies, the event has three aims:

  • To offer firms the opportunity to learn more about ITER business opportunities;
  • To facilitate partnerships between industries within Europe and outside Europe, and;
  • To foster collaboration between industry and fusion laboratories.
The 2017 event drew over 1,000 participants from 433 companies and 25 countries. Ninety-six percent confirmed that the event had allowed them "to identify potential clients, partners or subcontractors."

The website is open at this address. Registration and stand booking will be possible from mid-November on.

£50 million MAST upgrade concludes
22 Oct 2018
Five years of construction work to upgrade the spherical tokamak MAST (UK) have been brought to a close and experiments are set to begin early next year.

MAST Upgrade will contribute to the knowledge base for ITER by helping to resolve key plasma physics issues. It will be the first tokamak to trial the Super-X divertor—a novel way to exhaust heat loads from large fusion reactors, which spreads the power loads in the divertor area of the machine. Other features of the upgrade include an increase in the pulse length by a factor approaching ten, additional heating power, and better control and pumping capabilities to contain the resulting higher temperature, longer-pulse plasmas.

A ceremony was held on 18 October at the UK's Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE). See the full report here.

Sky News: Where the energy of our fossil-fuel-free future is taking shape
18 Oct 2018
Follow Sky News presenter Thomas Moore as he explores the promise, the science, and the construction of the "world's largest science experiement."

Watch the three-minute video here.

Al Jazeera reports on ITER
18 Oct 2018
Can ITER be the answer to the world's energy needs? A team from Al Jazeera Paris came on site in October to find out. After descending into the depths of the Tokamak Complex, interviewing the ITER Director-General and site specialists, and observing daily activities at ITER Headquarters over two days, team prepared a report that concludes with:

"Critics say there's a risk that ITER won't work or will never lead to fusion energy being commercially viable ... But if it does work it could help save the planet from climate change and prove the power of the human imagination. For those here, it's a gamble worth taking." 

Watch it here.

Take a spin on the virtual ITER worksite
08 Oct 2018
Want to see what the ITER platform will look like when all the buildings are complete? Check (and play with) this spectacular 3D model developped by the European Domestic Agency F4E. (Works best on Chrome)

UK fusion centre/university collaborating on materials
01 Oct 2018
As part of an investment made last year by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) to launch a fusion technology platform at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), the "Fusion Technology Facilities" (FTM) centre of excellence will house a suite of equipment designed to test fusion components under combined thermal, mechanical, hydraulic and magnetic loads representative of future fusion power stations.

In the build-up period, the team is establishing links to promote knowledge sharing and to support an ambitious industry-related research program. CCFE has just announced that a strong collaboration is planned between the Materials Technology Laboratory at FTM and the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bristol (UK). The establishment of complementary test equipment at Bristol and the funding of a joint post-doctoral research position are part of the agreement.

Read more at CCFE and the University of Bristol.

A fusion powered future?
27 Sep 2018
In the latest edition of Fusion in Europe, young volunteer writers imagine what a future with fusion might look at.

Download the magazine here

Carlos Alejaldre appointed Director General of CIEMAT
24 Sep 2018
On 21 September, Carlos Alejaldre, who was an ITER Organization Deputy-Director-General from 2006 to 2015, was appointed Director-General of CIEMAT (Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas), the Spanish public research agency focused on energy and the environment.

A plasma physicist by training, Carlos has held several important positions in fusion research. Prior to joining ITER, he headed CIEMAT's national fusion laboratory (1992-2004)and was for two years (2004-2006) the director general of technological policy at the Spanish ministry of Education and Science.

More on the CIEMAT website (in Spanish).

The adventure of logistics
17 Sep 2018
In this recent video, ITER global logistics provider DAHER takes us through the different phases and challenges of transporting massive ITER components from their manufacturing location, sometimes half way across the world, to the project's construction site in southern France.

New cameras focus on JET plasma
17 Sep 2018
New cameras are capturing detailed images of fusion energy experiments at the Joint European Torus at Culham. The cameras are actually outside the machine hall and relay video back from the heart of the 100-million-degree plasma via a set of mirrors. The footage will be used by EUROfusion scientists in forthcoming experiments to monitor JET's operation and to carry out studies on the plasma's behaviour and properties. The video shows the comparative view from two identical cameras: one located outside the bioshield wall (left) and one inside the Torus Hall (right).

Fusion documentary to be shown at IAEA General Conference
17 Sep 2018
ITER proves that we can collaborate for the common good, film maker Mila Aung-Thwin says in an interview with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Ahead of its 62nd General Conference which will take place from 17-21 September 2018 in Vienna, Austria, the IAEA interviewed Aung-Thwin about his award-winning documentary Let There Be Light. The feature-length film tells the story of dedicated scientists and their pursuit of nuclear fusion as a future source of clean, safe and abundant energy.

Aung-Thwin explains how his fascination with the human side of science and his interest in energy issues let him to explore the field of fusion and the many fusion projects worldwide. "The film is meant to illuminate some of the approaches to fusion, some of the challenges, as told by unique individuals," he says.

Along with ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot and Scientific Director of IPP Sibylle Günter, film director Aung-Thwin will be in Vienna next week and will speak at the General Conference's session on "Fusion Energy for Peace and Sustainable Development" on 18 September.

The session will be followed by a showing of the fusion documentary Let There Be Light .

The documentary is available worldwide on Vimeo for purchase and rent both in English and French. In North America it is also available on iTunes and Amazon.

A step forward in tackling plasma instabilities
12 Sep 2018
A team around physicist Jong-Kuy Park of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has made significant progress in tackling a common instability in fusion plasmas called edge localized modes or ELMs.

Bursts of ELMs, energy releases likened to solar flares, can slam into the walls of a tokamak and potentially cause damage. In order to prevent these EMLs from occurring, scientists produce small magnet ripples called resonant magnetic perturbations, or RMPs, that disturb the plasma and release excess pressure. As there are many potential magnetic distortions, it is a difficult task to create the right kind of beneficial distortions.

Park's team of scientists from the United States and the National Fusion Research Institute (NFRI) in Korea has "successfully predicted the entire set of beneficial 3D distortions for controlling ELMs without creating more problems," says a PPPL article.

The predictions were validated at the Korean Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) facility. Its advanced magnetic controls for generating precise 3D distortions made KSTAR the ideal testing device.

The research findings, published as a paper in Nature Physics, will be important for ITER--a device that will employ dedicated magnets to produce 3D distortions to control ELMs.

The colour-shaded areas on the plasma illustrate the beneficial magnetic distortions, while the thin lines in pink and purple surrounding the plasma represent the 3D field coils that generate the distortions. Credit: Jong-Kyu Park, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

ITER to feature in History's "Project Impossible" series
11 Sep 2018
Get your DVR ready! The US TV channel History is kicking off "Project Impossible," an original series that follows a new generation of epic engineering projects that were considered unthinkable just a few years ago.

The first episode to air—Biggest Engineering Breakthroughs—will feature the world's fastest motorcycle (it's electric), a train that travels faster than the speed of sound, and ITER—a power plant that creates a small Sun on Earth.

The first episode airs on 12 September. Check your local listings as episode times may vary.

Watch the trailer here.

Korea's KSTAR produces 20,000th plasma
10 Sep 2018
Korea's superconducting tokamak KSTAR has run successfully since 2008. In December 2016, the machine produced a record 70-second high-performance plasma (H-mode) and achieved record-length periods of ELM suppression the following year.

Although smaller and different in detailed design, the Korean machine has built an extremely valuable database for the future operation of ITER.

On 4 September, KSTAR passed an important milestone: at 11:20 a.m., the machine produced its 20,000th plasma shot—all of them achieved without accident or major repair.

Read more (in Korean) here.

2018 recipients of the Landau-Spitzer Award
03 Sep 2018
The Landau-Spitzer Award on the Physics of Plasmas for "outstanding contributions to plasma physics" is jointly sponsored by the Plasma Physics Divisions of the American Physical Society (APS) and the European Physical Society (EPS).

The Award is given to an individual or group of researchers for outstanding theoretical, experimental or technical contribution(s) in plasma physics and for advancing the collaboration and unity between Europe and the USA by joint research or research that advances knowledge which benefits the two communities in a unique way. The award may be given to a team or collaboration of up to four persons affiliated with either the European or US institutions.

The 2018 recipients are:

Yevgen Kazakov, Laboratory for Plasma Physics of the Royal Military Academy (LPP-ERM/KMS), Brussels, Belgium
Jozef Ongena, Laboratory for Plasma Physics of the Royal Military Academy (LPP-ERM/KMS), Brussels, Belgium
John. C. Wright, MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center, USA
Stephen J. Wukitch, MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center, USA

The winners were selected "for experimental verification, through collaborative experiments, of a novel and highly efficient ion cyclotron resonance heating (ICRH) scenario for plasma heating and generation of energetic ions in magnetic fusion devices."

-- From left to right : Yegven Kazakov, Jef Ongena (with the first wall of JET as background)and Steven Wukitch, John Wright (with the first wall of Alcator C-Mod as background)

For more detail on the winners and their work please see the APS announcement, the LPP-ERM/KMS website, and MIT News.

Listen to podcast with ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot
23 Aug 2018
Titans of Nuclear is a podcast featuring interviews with experts on nuclear energy by self-described engineer, robotics entrepreneur, and climate change thought leader Bret Kugelmass. In one of the most recent podcasts, Kugelmass interviews ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot on his experience in the nuclear field in France, the fundamentals of fusion energy, and the status of the ITER Project and its potential importance to the future of energy ...

Click here to listen to the 43-minute podcast.

UK universities join forces with Culham to tackle turbulence
19 Jul 2018
The Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) is partnering with a group of leading universities to advance understanding of one of the hottest topics in fusion research: turbulence in tokamak plasmas.

The £5 million-plus research program, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will be led by a consortium of universities with a strong fusion focus—York, Oxford, Strathclyde and Warwick—and will work in partnership with Culham.

A tokamak operates by using a strong magnetic field to hold the hot fusion fuel—which is in the plasma state—away from the reactor walls. In practice the plasma in tokamak experiments is highly turbulent, and this turbulence increases the loss of heat and particles, degrading the fusion performance. If the turbulence can be reduced, this could open the way to more compact or higher fusion power reactors.

As part of the new initiative, scientists will study how well the magnetic field can confine the plasma in CCFE's new MAST Upgrade spherical tokamak. They will also seek to shed further light on the properties of an insulating region that exists at the edge of most tokamak plasmas, including JET, called the pedestal region. This narrow region suppresses the loss of heat and fuel from the plasma, helping to raise the core pressure closer to fusion conditions. The more insulating the pedestal, the higher the central plasma pressure.

Read the full article on the CCFE website here.

--The MAST Upgrade control room (SMD Photography)

ELISE test rig contributes to ITER neutral beam heating
09 Jul 2018
At the core of ITER's neutral beam heating system is a novel high-frequency ion source that has been under development for years at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Garching, Germany. In recent results that are significant for ITER, IPP's ELISE test rig has achieved the ion current required by ITER in hydrogen for 1,000 seconds.

Neutral beam injection relies on high-speed, high energy atoms that penetrate deep into the plasma and transfer their energy to plasma particles by means of collision. The large plasma volume at ITER will impose new requirements on this proven method of injection: the particles will have to move three to four times faster than in previous systems in order to penetrate far enough into the plasma, and at these higher rates the positively-charged ions become difficult to neutralize.

At ITER, for the first time, a negatively-charged ion source has been selected, based on the development of several generations of prototype negative ion sources at IPP.

Since 2009 IPP's ELISE test rig—half the size of what is projected for ITER—has been a valuable source of experimental data as it has advanced step by step to new orders of magnitude. In the most recent report, ELISE was able to produce a stable, homogenous negative ion beam for 1,000 seconds at ITER current strength.

In addition to further work on ELISE, IPP will be collaborating with teams at ITER's Neutral Beam Test Facility, where the full-scale ITER-scale negative ion source SPIDER was commissioned earlier this year.

Read the full report on the website of the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics.

'Fusion in Europe' is out
02 Jul 2018
Fusion in Europe's second edition this year is filled to the brim with interesting articles. Take the report about the latest experiment at the Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER). Their linear plasma generator Magnum-PSI has set a new record for the longest exposure of any material to the harsh plasma conditions in a fusion device.

A high vacuum is crucial for the fusion reaction to take place —Fusion in Europe spoke to German supplier Lybold about how they deliver custom-made vacuum solutions to Europe's fusion devices, including ITER.

"Now is the best time to be at JET," says Eva Belonohy who contributes to preparations for the second deuterium-tritium campaign at JET in over 20 years, planned for 2019 and 2020. She organized a recent workshop for fusion scientists, to share JET's latest features such as its enhanced heating powers and diagnostics or its ITER-like wall made of beryllium and tungsten.

The latest edition of Fusion in Europe also includes a report from the recent inauguration of SPIDER, the largest ion beam source in the word, in Padova, Italy; introduces award-winning young fusion expert Wei Zhang; and shows an example of how the enthusiasm for fusion can be passed on from one generation to the next within one family.

To read the current edition of Fusion in Europe click here.

New supercomputer to boost fusion research
02 Jul 2018
Summit, the world's fastest supercomputer recently launched at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the US, will be instrumental in accelerating fusion research.

The new supercomputer takes computing powers to new heights. Summit can perform 200 petaflops per second: that is 200 quadrillion calculations, eight times more than the previous record-holder at ORNL, Titan. The massive machine—weighing more than a commercial aircraft—is also the world's largest computer equipped with artificial intelligence ... a machine whose software will write new software.

Harnessing Summit's capabilities in machine learning and simulation as well as in artificial intelligence and deep learning will allow researchers to accelerate scientific discovery in many fields, including fusion. 

For more information on Summit read the ORNL news release here and the NVIDIA blog post here.

Celebrating our women engineers
25 Jun 2018
What do Anna, Margaret, Aneeqa, Natalia, Sarah, Kat and Karina have in common?

All these women are engineers who are contributing to ITER by working on exciting issues such as building the ion cyclotron antenna, designing and manufacturing the divertor, reducing the risk of beryllium exposure to future workers, or modelling material migration.

For the first time this year, the ITER community joined in to mark the International Women in Engineering Day on 23 June. You can find out more about ITER's women engineers in the Twitter feed of the ITER Women's Network.

The day was launched as a national day by the Women's Engineering Society in the United Kingdom in 2014 to celebrate its 95th anniversary. Due to a high level of  response, interest and enthusiasm, the event turned international in 2017 and received UNESCO patronage in 2016 and again in 2018.

The International Women in Engineering Day is now an international awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and related sciences. By celebrating the achievements of women in this field, the annual event seeks to inspire young women to consider a career in engineering.

Find out more here.

--Anneqa Khan is a mechanical engineer in ITER's Science Division, working on modelling material migration and fuel retention.

Indian tokamak to reboot soon
25 Jun 2018
India plans to reboot its steady state superconducting tokamak, SST-1, on time to be showcased at the upcoming IAEA Fusion Energy Conference, reports the media platform The Better India.

Commissioned at the Institute for Plasma Research in 2013, the SST-1 experiment has produced plasma discharges up to ~ 500 ms. Experiments were halted after some small damage was detected in the tokamak's toroidal magnet system in December 2017.

Organized from 22 to 27 October 2018 by the Government of India in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, the 27th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference will be one of the year's highlights for the world fusion community, providing a platform for discussions around key physics and technology issues in fusion research.

Read about SST-1 on the website of "The Better India."

Find more about the 27th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference (or pre-register online) here.

ITER job fair attracts locally
18 Jun 2018
In terms of local recruitment needs, the ITER Project is at an exceptional junction. At the same time as European Domestic Agency civil works contractors remain active on site, the ITER Organization is beginning to issue contracts related to the assembly and installation of components and systems inside of the completed buildings and technical areas.

All of these main contractors have employment offers to fill in a variety of areas. At a recruitment fair held on 14 June more than 500 jobs were on offer, as companies advertised for foremen, engineers, security specialists, welders, boilermakers, pipe-fitters, mechanics, shift supervisors, draftsmen and women, maintenance technicians and more.

If you live locally, you can see the full list of recruitment offers here.

The recruitment fair—advertising different types of French employment contracts—is organized annually by the Saint-Paul-lez-Durance employment association with the support of seven municipalities. For assignments at the ITER Organization, as directly employed staff, please see the ITER Organization website.

IAEA issues crowdsourcing challenge on fusion materials
18 Jun 2018
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has issued a challenge for data specialists from around the world to submit innovative ways to visualize, analyze and explore simulations of different materials that can be used to build fusion reactors.

Experts and self-taught enthusiasts are invited to analyze simulations of the damage that can be caused to the reactor wall by the energetic neutrons released by the fusion reaction. The contest leaves the nature of the software solutions open to enable novel approaches, but one or more of the following can be considered:

  • Novel software for visualizing the material damage represented by the simulation data files in a way that aids its qualitative and quantitative assessment;
  • New software tools to rapidly and reliably identify, classify and quantify new patterns and structures of particular kinds in the data sets;
  • Efficient algorithms to depict and summarize the statistical distribution of atom displacements and to analyze the effect of impact energy on this distribution.
Deadline for submission is 14 July 2018. The winner will be awarded with €5,000 and invited to the IAEA Headquarters in Vienna to present his or her ideas.

See the original article as well as detailed information about the challenge on the IAEA website.

Listen to this!
18 Jun 2018
In the latest episode of the science and engineering podcast series Omega Tau, producer Markus Völter speaks with Pierre Bauer, a superconductor engineer at ITER, about superconductivity and its uses.

The listener is first taken back in time to hear about the discovery of superconductivity in 1911, when scientists were trying to liquefy helium in their quest to understand the behavior of metals at very low temperatures. Today, superconductivity is associated with the high-performance magnets used in nuclear fusion reactors, in particle colliders, for magnetic levitation in modern train systems, and also for medical magnetic resonance imaging.

Superconductivity was first observed in mercury; since then, research has resulted in the identification of better materials for low-temperature conductors such as niobium, which is used in ITER's niobium-titanium and niobium-tin superconductors.

Völter and Bauer touch on many more issues related to superconductivity in this episode that lasts almost three hours. It is not the first time that ITER has featured prominently in the podcast series. In October 2014, Omega Tau spoke with ITER's Richard Pitts on the physics and the engineering challenges of the project.

Listen to the podcast with Pierre Bauer here.

Listen to the podcast with Richard Pitts here.


Enhancements underway at DIII-D tokamak
11 Jun 2018
One of the most flexible and highly instrumented fusion research reactors in the world is undergoing major enhancements that will pave the way to future fusion power plants.

The DIII-D National Fusion Facility is the largest magnetic fusion experiment in the United States. In May, work began on a series of machine enhancements that will make it possible to commence new studies of the physics of future fusion reactors. That will help scientists understand how to achieve high fusion power in the ITER and how to sustain such regimes indefinitely in the fusion power plants that will follow ITER.

The planned year-long activity will enhance DIII-D systems by adding increased and redirected particle beams and radio frequency systems to drive current and sustain the plasma in a so-called "steady state." The improvements will also expand capabilities with the installation of new microwave systems to explore burning-plasma-like conditions with high electron temperatures. This will allow researchers to explore how to achieve higher pressure and temperatures while increasing control of the plasma, conditions critical to sustained fusion operation.

See the recent press release on the General Atomics website.

Looking for resilent materials
11 Jun 2018
Scientists at Oxford University, in collaboration with the University of California Santa Barbara, are studying the impact of radiation on the properties of materials. Through their research, they hope to contribute to developing better, more resilient materials for nuclear fusion.

See this animation by Oxford Sparks to get an insight into how it is done.

European Domestic Agency: Interns wanted!
11 Jun 2018
Are you a university graduate in the field of nuclear engineering, physics, administration or communication? Do you want to put your academic experience into practice at ITER, the most ambitious international energy project? Then this traineeship may be for you. The European Domestic Agency for ITER is looking for physicists, engineers, lawyers, communicators and experts in human resources, finance and procurement who are interested in hands-on experience in an exciting international and multicultural environment.

The traineeship is paid and will last from between four to nine months starting in October 2018 at any of the three locations: Barcelona, Spain; ITER site (France); or Garching, Germany. The deadline for applications is 25 June 2018.

For more information and a complete list of opportunities click here.

EUROfusion seeks creative minds
04 Jun 2018
Are you a writer or an artist interested in fusion? Then the latest call of EUROfusion, the European consortium of national fusion research institutes, may be something for you. For the third time, EUROfusion invites creative minds to be inspired by all things fusion. Choose any of the eight provided topics and let your creativity on the loose. Winners will have their work published in the autumn edition of the magazine Fusion in Europe.

The eight topics include fusion as a must-have in the future energy mix; fusion as a benefit for you, us and society; fusion as a melting pot for different scientific fields; fusion as a driver of innovation, and a few others questions.

Consult EUROfusion to see all topics and more information on how to participate in this call. The deadline for the submission of proposals is 25 June.

ITER at the Sustainable Energy Week
28 May 2018
"Clean Energy for all Europeans" is the theme of this year's Sustainable Energy Week. Over 3,000 politicians, stakeholders, civil society representatives and the media will gather in Brussels from 4-8 June to share ideas and look for solutions to address Europe's future energy needs. The ITER Project, which aims at complementing, globally, renewable energy sources with clean, safe and abundant fusion energy, is the focus of an afternoon session on 7 June.

Titled "ITER and fusion: towards a new source of energy on Earth," the event is specifically geared towards the interested non-specialist public. Representatives of the European Commission, ITER, EUROfusion and Fusion for Energy will introduce ITER as one of the most important global energy projects, its vital role in securing mankind's future energy supply and the current status of its construction.

A wide range of events, meetings and activities provide many occasions to get updates on matters related to sustainable energy including e-mobility, energy transition in urban spaces, innovative technology and energy efficiency for industry. At the networking village visitors can enjoy an energy fair, energy talks on topics related to the clean energy transition and an energy lab where ten projects will pitch in front of a panel of experts.

For more information on the Sustainable Energy Week, and to register, please visit the website.

JET tokamak warming up
28 May 2018
The first plasma pulse for almost 18 months took place inside of the JET tokamak in early May.

The machine—the largest and most powerful tokamak in operation today—has been undergoing a revamp to act as a testbed for ITER technologies and plasma operating scenarios. JET is now equipped with an ITER-like beryllium and tungsten wall to study material-plasma interactions, additional heating power, and the ability to handle tritium. Experiments with tritium at JET—the first since the 1990s—will act as an important "dress rehearsal" in preparation for fusion operation at ITER.

Although not a full fusion plasma, achieving the 1.2 mega amp pulse is a key part of completing the JET restart and getting ready for further commissioning of the machine. The first experiments are expected to take place this year.

Read the full article on the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy's website.

Steven Cowley to head Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
21 May 2018
Steven Cowley, a theoretical physicist and international authority on fusion energy, has been named director of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), effective July 1.

Cowley has served as president of Corpus Christi College and professor of physics at the University of Oxford since 2016. From 2008 through 2016, he was chief executive officer of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) and head of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, which includes the Joint European Torus (JET) and Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak (MAST) fusion facilities.

During his tenure at Culham, Cowley expanded and strengthened relations with other fusion programs in Europe and around the world, and served in key advisory roles for the U.K., U.S. and European governments.

As director of PPPL, Cowley will be responsible for managing all aspects of the laboratory, including its performance in science, engineering, operations, project management and strategic planning. He will lead PPPL's scientific and technical programs in fusion energy science and technology, as well as broader investigations in plasma science, and provide leadership to the U.S. and world fusion energy efforts.

 Read the original article on the PPPL website.

An app for plasma physicists
21 May 2018
San Diego-based General Atomics (GA) has published a new app to help physicists work out the characteristics of plasmas on the fly. Called Plasmatica, it takes up to seven basic input parameters—ranging from magnetic field to electron temperature to ion mass factor—and outputs many fundamental properties of the plasma. The parameters are helpful to researchers because they describe intrinsic plasma behaviors, e.g., how often particles will collide with each other.

"Before this, most of us just would have written a little program on our computers to do these calculations, and in fact a bunch of us have them," said David Pace, the GA physicist who spurred the development of Plasmatica. "We thought it would be nice to give back to the research community by creating a standardized app that everyone can use when they're not at their computers. It's been exciting to get some initial feedback that is guiding us to a new round of improvements."

GA operates the DIII-D National Fusion Facility, the largest magnetic fusion facility operating in the U.S. and a world-renowned research center for plasma physics. Research time on DIII-D is extremely valuable—the facility can accept only about one out of every five experimental proposals—so having those calculations accessible on a mobile device can save precious minutes when researchers are trying to line up the next experiment.

The app, which incorporates two formularies commonly used by plasma physicists, has been tested by researchers and is getting solid reviews. Plasmatica is available for free in both the Android and Apple app stores.

Tricky tungsten, cool divertors and more
21 May 2018
The first Fusion in Europe of 2018 has been released. This quarterly magazine, published by the European consortium EUROfusion, keeps readers abreast of the faces, facilities and feats of the very dynamic fusion research community in Europe.

The latest issue offers articles on the experimental campaign underway at WEST (France), the 3D printing of small tungsten components, and plans for a neutron source oriented to DEMO (the machine after ITER).

You can read or download Fusion in Europe here.  

Online courses on plasma physics
11 May 2018
The Swiss Plasma Center at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) has updated its Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) on plasma physics. Both courses are taught by renowned experts in the field and offer participants the opportunity to acquire basic knowledge about plasma physics and its applications.

Through four-week course on plasma physics you will acquire: a basic knowledge of plasma physics and the different models used to describe plasmas; an understanding of how to numerically simulate complex plasma dynamics; and a basic introduction to MATLAB programming through introductory videos and exercises.

The second, five-week course covers plasma physics applications in astrophysics, industry, medicine, nuclear fusion and laser-plasma interaction, and aims to highlight the challenge of developing fusion as an energy source, plasma applications in society, and the importance of plasma in space and astrophysics.

Visit the Swiss Plasma Center website for more information. Enrolment is continuous. 

Prediction of tritium transport to support breeding blanket design
11 May 2018
ITER will procure the tritium fuel necessary for its expected 20-year lifetime from the global inventory. But for DEMO, the next step on the way to commercial fusion power, no sufficient external source of tritium exists. The successful development of tritium breeding—that is the generation within the fusion reactor of tritium fuel—is essential for the future of fusion electricity.

ITER will provide a unique opportunity to test mockups of breeding blankets, called Test Blanket Modules (TBM), in a real fusion environment. Six different tritium breeding concepts will be tested in dedicated ''ports'' in the ITER vacuum vessel.

Development is underway on two European test blanket systems for ITER. As part of the program, the European Domestic Agency is collaborating with Spanish firms CIEMAT and Empresarios Agrupados on a computer code that will predict the transport of tritium through the different components and materials of the test blanket system in ITER. Findings will contribute to the design of a breeding blanket for tritium self-sufficiency in DEMO.

Read the full article on the European Union Domestic Agency website.

--I.Ricapito manages the development of the computing code used to predict the tritium transport in the European test blanket systems.

3,000 tonnes of raw material procured for Europe's vacuum vessel sectors
04 May 2018
All the steel material needed for the fabrication of the five European-procured sectors of the ITER vacuum vessel sectors has now been received by the European consortium. Five sub-contractors participated in the delivery of the latest batch—Acciaierie Valbruna (Italy), Forgiatura A. Vienna (Italy), Industeel (France), Rolf Kind GmbH (Germany) and ThyssenKrupp (Germany).

In all, vacuum vessel fabrication in Europe has required 1,120 tonnes of plates and 1,900 tonnes of forgings (metal blocks formed into various shapes through hot pressing techniques). A special grade of high quality stainless steel—exceptionally strong, corrosion-resistant, and weldable—has been chosen for this critical ITER component.

Read the full report on the European Domestic Agency website.

US Congressman pens pro-fusion op-ed
03 May 2018
Representative Lamar Smith, Chair of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee*, has penned a recent op-ed in RealClearPolicy that urges US policy makers to uphold its commitment to ITER and to fully fund the fusion research program at the Department of Energy.

"To maintain America's global standing as the leader in science, we must meet our international commitments and support this basic research that will lead to transformative clean energy technologies."

Underfunding ITER, which he describes as a "critical step on the path to achieving commercial fusion energy," would jeopardize American leadership in fusion science. "...We cannot afford to lose our seat at the table. Nor can we expect to receive international support for our domestically built projects if we do not honour our international obligations."

Read the full op-ed here.

* The House Science, Space and Technology Committee oversees the Department of Energy's Office of Science, which includes the Fusion Energy Sciences program.

ITER satellite: torus assembly completed
23 Apr 2018
The Satellite Tokamak Program, JT-60SA, is a major modification of the existing JT-60U tokamak at the Naka Fusion Institute in Japan. Designed to support ITER, and to investigate how best to optimize the design and operation of fusion power plants built after ITER, the project is part of the Broader Approach Agreement signed between Japan and Euratom. First Plasma is planned in 2020.

Advanced assembly of the modified tokamak is underway now. The last vacuum vessel sector, pre-assembled with toroidal field coils and thermal shielding, was recently installed to complete the 360-degree torus.

See photos of the operation on the European Domestic Agency website.

Young plasma physicists to be honoured in Prague
23 Apr 2018
Every year, the Plasma Physics Division of the European Physical Society (EPS) grants up to four prizes to young scientists from the 38 EPS member states. The prize, which was created in 2005, is awarded for outstanding research achievements associated with PhD studies in the field of plasma physics. 

This year's four winners will be honoured during the opening ceremony of the 45th Conference on Plasma Physics, EPS 2018, which takes place in Prague, Czech Republic, from 2-6 July. In addition, the prize winning young physicists are given the opportunity to present their work at the conference.

One of last year's winners, Toon Weyens, is currently working at ITER under the Principality of Monaco/ITER Postdoctoral Fellowship program which supports fusion-related research efforts of early-career scientists. Weyens received the prestigious EPS PhD award in 2017 for his study of a key aspect of toroidal plasma stability, the effects of non-axisymmetric fields on peeling-ballooning stability.

Fusion pursuit (not so trivial)
23 Apr 2018
A group of young fusion enthusiasts seems to be the first who managed to put the Sun in a box. In this case, though, the box is quite literal ... and contains a board game they invented to make learning about ITER easy and entertaining.

What will the ITER Tokamak weigh? What is the function of the breeding blankets? And at what temperature does the fusion reaction take place? Players are meant to work in teams to advance in this ITER version of Trivial Pursuit by answering these kinds of questions.

Just like with the original Trivial Pursuit, there are several categories of questions: design and technical aspects; thermonuclear physics; manufacturing and construction; safety, quality, security and regulations; project management; and general issues. Correctly answered questions are rewarded with small plastic tokens representing key structural components of the ITER machine.

As the game progresses, players collect the components to assemble a small 3D-printed model. The team that first completes its mini tokamak wins the game. And along the way all players gain a basic understanding of nuclear fusion and the ITER Project.

The board game was developed by a group of employees from Assystem, one of the companies in the consortium ENGAGE, the architect/engineer for ITER construction. Calling themselves Young Generation Fusion, they want to raise awareness about fusion energy and ITER by creating projects that attract the attention of a wide audience.

In April, they had the chance to present ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot with a copy of "Sun in a Box." They also present their creations at trade fairs and conferences.

--From left to right, Young Generation Fusioneers Eric Kruger, Clarisse Thouzeau, Guillaume Merriaux-Mansart and Gregory Thibault (Sebastien Lonjon and Camille Taberlet are not shown).

55th Culham Plasma Physics Summer School
16 Apr 2018
The 55th Culham Plasma Physics Summer School is open to applications.

The school will cover fundamental plasma physics, as well as important topics in fusion, astrophysical, laser and low temperature plasmas. Lecturers are drawn from the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) together with leading European universities. All are renowned experts in their fields.

For more details and to apply please visit: https://culhamsummerschool.org.uk/

Discount for early registrations before 15 May.

The deadline for applications is 25 May.

Fusion pioneer Peter Thonemann dies at 100
13 Apr 2018
Australian-born physicist Peter Thonemann died on 10 February 2018 at the age of 100. Thonemann was the leader of the ZETA fusion project when in 1958 it was famously—and wrongly—declared that it had achieved nuclear fusion.

Thonemann, whose family descended from German emigrants, was born in 1917 in Melbourne, Australia. To pursue an academic career in physics, he moved to Oxford, England, in 1944 and became one of the early researchers in nuclear fusion. As head of fusion research at Oxford and later at Harwell, England, Thonemann played a key role in the Zeta fusion project at the time when it made international headlines.

In January 1958, the announcement that the Zeta toroidal fusion device had achieved nuclear fusion was greeted with great enthusiasm. Less than four months later, the British scientists leading the project had to retract their earlier pronouncements. Although fusion research initially suffered from this setback, the Zeta episode helped drive the secrecy out of nuclear fusion research and create the foundation for scientific cooperation in this field across national boundaries. (See also the recent Newsline article on the Zeta affair)

Thonemann moved on to become deputy director of the Culham Laboratory in the mid-1960s, today home of JET, the Joint European Torus. A few years later, in 1968, he became professor for physics at what is today the University of Swansea, Wales. Late in life, Thonemann turned his scientific curiosity to biology and conducted research on the E. coli bacterium.

Please read the full obituary of The Sydney Morning Herald here.

ITER goes manga
09 Apr 2018
Taiyô Tenno is a young Japanese student on a world tour of "art masterpieces"; Soléane is "a scientist at heart," presumably French, who speaks perfect Japanese. They meet at Cézanne's workshop in Aix-en-Provence and soon find themselves seated at the terrace of Les Deux Garçons, the town's most elegant café.

Soléane speaks Japanese because her work in "energy research" implies a lot of "professional dealings with Japan." Taiyô Tenno is impressed, especially when Soléane explains that her work is about "duplicating the energy-generating process in the Sun and stars"...

The first manga on ITER—"A small sun on Earth"—has just been published by ITER Japan and is available in Japanese, French and English.

Visit this website to download the manga.

ITER well represented at Zvenigorod conference
09 Apr 2018
The International Zvenigorod Conference on Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion is an annual rendezvous near Moscow for fusion research specialists from Russia and abroad. For one week in April, recent achievements in high and low temperature plasma research, the field of controlled fusion, and the development of plasma and beam technologies are presented through lectures, short talks and poster presentations.

Russian participation in the ITER Project was reported at the "ITER Project: Step to future energy" portion of the program under the direction of Anatoly Krasilnikov, director of the Russian Domestic Agency. Representatives of the research centres and the industrial companies involved in the procurement of ITER systems and components were present to report on the challenging technical specifications of the packages under Russian responsibility and the benefits of participation in ITER for the Russian research infrastructure overall.

More on the annual conference here.

--ITER Russia

All in a week's work for an intern
26 Mar 2018
Drawing inspiration from the robotic tasks that will be faced at ITER during installation and maintenance activities, the annual ITER Robots contest challenges students of different ages to imagine, design, and program Lego robots. Launched in 2012 by Agence Iter France and the ITER Organization, the program is growing every year.

As Newsline reported last June, the 2017 ITER Robots competition involved 600 students from 27 schools organized into 46 teams. This year, the competition will expand to about 70 teams and also offer a new program—ITER Robots Junior—for primary age students in 4th, 5th and 6th grade (12 additional teams). And who better to help design the new junior competition than 14-year-old Camylle Jordan, who spent one week as an intern in ITER's Remote Handling Section.

According to Jean-Pierre Martins, the ITER remote handling engineer who supervised Camylle, "she solved every issue she encountered in a pragmatic manner." In addition to becoming familiar with the complexity of the ITER Project, Camylle had to adapt her programming skills to work with a Thymio robot and to learn the basics of SolidWorks ®, a Computer Assisted Design tool.

The young intern left the ITER engineers impressed with her efficiency and confidence. She successfully tested the proposed curriculum and competition design, proactively suggesting and demonstrating ways to improve the robot mission. She participated in the official kick-off meeting of the ITER Robots Junior challenge, interacting with people from ITER, Agence Iter France and the French education system (Education Nationale). And she found time to fit in a tour of the ITER worksite and virtual reality room, and to give an on-camera Facebook interview to student journalists.

Most importantly, she documented her progress systematically, keeping a logbook of written records, photos, and videos, to ensure the contribution of her workweek at ITER would not be lost.

ITER chief: I won't live to see benefits of fusion, but I will help us get there
17 Mar 2018
Bernard Bigot, Director-General of the world's biggest nuclear fusion project, tells Brussels-based Science|Business the perpetually out-of-reach energy source is finally in sight—so long as Trump does not scale back US involvement.

Read the article published on 15 March here.

Deep learning improves plasma disruption prediction
15 Mar 2018
A research team at Princeton University has succeeded in significantly improving the quality of disruption predictions for a plasma in a tokamak fusion device through deep learning.

The team led by plasma physicist William Tang had access to the database of the Joint European Torus (JET) tokamak to demonstrate the potential of deep learning and neural networks in the analysis of large amounts of plasma disruption data. They fed more than a half-petabyte of information into their fusion recurrent neural nets (FRNN) deep learning software.

Through GPU-accelerated computing—i.e., the use of a graphic processing unit together with a CPU—disruption prediction improved dramatically in accuracy and speed. The Princeton team also demonstrated the scalability to over thousands of even more advanced GPUs.

According to Tang, this development holds a huge potential for accelerating scientific discovery through deep learning for fusion research.

Read the full article here.

MIT launches new intiatives in fusion research
09 Mar 2018
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has just released plans for a number of initiatives that will broaden its engagement in fusion research.

MIT has been a long-standing player in fusion research, receiving support primarily from the US Department of Energy that has included funding in three major experiments at MIT's Plasma Fusion and Science Center (PFSC). The last of these—the Alcator C-Mod tokamak—ended operations in 2016 after 23 years and approximately 33,000 plasma shots.

Now, in a renewed approach, researchers at MIT will be working with a newly formed company, Commonwealth Fusion Systems, to combine the experience of a well-established lab with the more nimble and longer-term financing perspectives from the private sector.

Commonwealth Fusion Systems is an independent, for-profit company created by former MIT staff and students for the accelerated commercialization of fusion energy.

Joint teams will be working to develop a new class of high temperature superconducting magnets, followed by the conception and construction of a compact 100 MW fusion experiment called SPARC, and finally a larger demonstration power plant. 

Commonwealth Fusion Systems has obtained $50 million in funding from the Italian energy company Eni, which is also a founding member of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI). Eni has also announced funding to the order of $2 million per year for PSFC's newly created Laboratory for Innovation in Fusion Technologies, which will focus on cutting-edge solutions for some of the challenges on the road to a steady-state fusion reactor.

Read more about the new initiatives on the MIT website.

Monaco-ITER Fellowships: apply by 1 March
26 Feb 2018
If your PhD was awarded after 1 January 2015—or you are about to obtain one—you are eligible to apply for a Monaco/ITER Postdoctoral Fellowship.

The Fellowship Program is recruiting now for two-year terms beginning autumn 2018.

Since 2008, 25 young scientists and engineers have been able to participate directly in ITER, working on cutting-edge issues in science and technology with some of the leading scientists and engineers in each domain. The principal aim of the Research Fellowships, which are funded by the Principality of Monaco under a Partnership Agreement that was renewed in early 2018, is the development of excellence in research in fusion science and technology within the ITER framework.

The deadline for application is 1 March. All information can be obtained here.

Using electron cyclotron heating to stabilize the plasma
26 Feb 2018
In a recent report in Nuclear Fusion, an international team of researchers outlines an approach for using electron cyclotron heating to control instabilities known as "neoclassical tearing modes" that can cause magnetic islands to grow in, and perturb, the plasma.

Lead physicist Francesca Poli of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) worked with two of her colleagues and researchers from the ITER Organization, the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Germany, and the Institute of Plasma Physics in Italy, to describe an approach that for the first time simulates the plasma, the magnetic islands and the feedback control from the electron cyclotron waves.

The current from the electron cyclotron waves (see related article in Newsline) has to be matched with the magnetic island. The simulations performed help to determine the maximum misalignment that can be tolerated and under which conditions experiments should be run.

Read the full article on the PPPL website.

Robotics developed for fusion to serve other applications
21 Feb 2018
An institute created at the Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER) to research remote maintenance technology for ITER has now been spun-off as a separate entity.

The Dutch Remote Handling Study Center (RHSC), founded in 2011 in collaboration with the company Heemskerk Innovative Technology, will continue to carry out tasks for ITER through the European Domestic Agency.

But its experience developing maintenance procedures for ITER components using remotely controlled robots will now be applied to a wider scope of applications, including industrial maintenance and health care.

Read the news on the DIFFER website.

MIT graduate student contributes to the understanding of plasma heat transport
21 Feb 2018
A team led by MIT professor Anne White, Cecil and Ida Green Associate Professor in the Nuclear Science and Engineering Department, and Pablo Rodriguez Fernandez (pictured), a graduate student in the Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, has conducted studies that offer a new take on the complex physics of plasma heat transport, and point toward more robust models of fusion plasma behaviour. The results of their work appear this week in the journal Physical Review Letters, in which Rodriguez Fernandez serves as first author.

To make fusion energy a reality, scientists must harness fusion plasma, a fiery gaseous maelstrom in which radioactive particles react to generate heat for electricity. But the turbulence of fusion plasma can confront researchers with unruly behaviours that confound attempts to make predictions and develop models. In experiments over the past two decades, an especially vexing problem has emerged: In response to deliberate cooling at its edges, fusion plasma inexplicably undergoes abrupt increases in central temperature.

These counterintuitive temperature spikes, which fly against the physics of heat transport models, have not found an explanation—until now.

Read the detailed account on the website of MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center.

Spinoffs from the science at the heart of the stars
19 Feb 2018
"Many basic science discoveries, while important by themselves and foundational in their fields, also yield spinoff applications or enabling technologies not envisioned by the scientists doing the original work. This is what makes investment in science like fusion energy research so powerful—the impact extends well beyond the laboratory."

This statement prefaces a new brochure issued by the US Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (Department of Energy) on the many areas of science and technology—modern electronics, lighting, communication, manufacturing, transportation—that have benefitted directly from research into fusion.

You can download the brochure here.

Not just for smart phone batteries
09 Feb 2018
The chemical element lithium may just have found itself a new application. Scientists at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) have found that lithium powder can reduce periodic instabilities in plasma when used to coat tungsten surfaces in fusion devices.

These instabilities are known as edge-localized modes (ELMs) and occur at the outer parts of the fusion plasma. ELMs develop regularly when the plasma enters what is known as high-confinement mode, or H-mode, which holds heat within the plasma more efficiently. ELMs can damage the divertor, a plasma-facing component that extracts heat and ash produced by the fusion reaction, and cause fusion reactions to fizzle.

The researchers also found that it became easier to eliminate ELMs as the experiments progressed, possibly requiring less lithium as time went on.

The results cause physicists to be confident that these techniques could also reduce ELMs in larger fusion devices that were designed to be compatible with lithium.

Read the full article on the PPPL website here.

US "Burning Plasma Committee" visits ITER
05 Feb 2018
February at ITER opened with a high-stakes visit from the Committee on A Strategic Plan for U.S. Burning Plasma Research. The Committee, operating under the auspices of the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, has been charged with reviewing the overall state of magnetic confinement fusion research in the United States. A key outcome of the review is to be a recommended strategy for going forward—with or without ITER—in a way that preserves the US status as a leader in burning plasma research.

The Committee publicly released its interim report on 21 December 2017.

A new page for ITER news
05 Feb 2018
The main webpage for ITER news has evolved. Follow this address—https://www.iter.org/news—to find all the latest social media posts, announcements, articles, photos and videos.

The page serves as an aggregator; from there you can consult the full archive of press articles on ITER, scroll through photo galleries, dig more deeply into the Newsline archive for a research topic, or click on our live site cam.

Make it your bookmark today!

Planning for a fusion-relevant neutron source
29 Jan 2018
Spain and Croatia have announced they will join forces in preparation to host DONES, the DEMO Oriented Neutron Source facility. The specialized installation will help scientists to test materials in an environment of neutron irradiation similar to that of a demonstration fusion reactor (DEMO), the intermediate step from ITER to a commercial fusion reactor.

A scientific collaboration framework between Japan and Europe—the Broader Approach—is helping to pave the way to DONES by validating key technological concepts. The engineering validation and engineering design activities of IFMIF (the International Fusion Materials Facility) aim at producing a detailed, complete and fully integrated engineering design of fusion-relevant neutron source by validating the continuous and stable operation of prototypes for each IFMIF subsystem.

Research into materials with neutron-resistant properties is one of the key tasks laid out in the European Roadmap, Europe's guiding document to addressing the scientific and technological challenges on the way to adding fusion energy to Europe's future energy mix.

It has not yet been decided where DONES will be located. For Europe, Spain and Croatia have now agreed to propose Granada, Spain, as host. Should this not be possible for technical reasons, the project would be hosted in Moslavačka Gora, Croatia. A technical group of experts from both countries that evaluated both sides declared the Granada site as fully operational and acknowledged that construction works could start immediately.

Read the full article on the European Domestic Agency website.

UK industry invited to seize opportunities
29 Jan 2018
Two months after the announcement of a £86 million government investment in the UK's nuclear fusion research program, the UK's Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) met with more than 80 industry stakeholders on 16 January in Oxford to present opportunities for the nuclear industry to get involved and secure major contracts with ITER.

The government investment will support the UKAEA's plan to build a National Fusion Technology Platform at its Culham Science Centre. The platform will consist of two centres of excellence which, according to the Head of the UKAEA, Ian Chapman, would help in making commercial fusion a reality:

- the Hydrogen-3 Advanced Technology (H3AT) centre to research how to process and store tritium, with a direct link to ITER's development;
- and the Fusion Technology Facilities (FTF) to develop thermal hydraulic tests for components under fusion conditions. 

Both centres open up opportunities for British industry. Partnering with UKAEA will support industry in preparing to bid for forthcoming multi-million-pound ITER contracts. 

Read the full article on the UKAEA website here.




H-mode unveiled
29 Jan 2018
While ITER takes shape, plasma physicists continue searching for answers to some rather tough questions. What causes a plasma to go from a weakly confined, turbulent state to a more defined and calmer state which is necessary for fusion to occur? Answering this question, scientists from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, the University of California and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology join forces to simulate tokamak plasmas.

With the help of a supercomputer located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) called Titan, the research team uncovered for the first time the basic physics behind a plasma's transition into the high-confinement or H-mode.

Future simulations will study the transition of a plasma into H-mode at ITER scale. An issue of crucial importance is the right balance between the core temperature of a plasma and the temperature at its edge, which will have an effect on the size of the plasma.

These simulations are of unprecedented scale. Only with such high-performance computing resources such as Titan involving over 18,000 graphic processing units (GPUs) and close to 300,000 central processing units (CPUs), can problems of such great scientific complexity and importance be addressed.

See the full article on the ORNL website here.


"A global response to a global challenge"
22 Jan 2018
Early January, ITER's Director-General spoke with Foro Nuclear, the Spanish nuclear industry forum. The exchange covered the challenge of leading a multicultural project, the critical phase ahead as ITER begins assembly activities, and Bernard Bigot's conviction that there is nothing more exciting, more motivating, than contributing to a project that could change the course of civilization for hundreds of thousands of years.

Excerpts below

On managing one of the world's largest research projects:

I accepted the Council's offer at a crucial moment in ITER history, when the project was entering into manufacturing and preparations for assembly. This new phase required a new organization—one tailored to meet the double challenge of delivering an installation that is both a research facility and an industrial facility.  What we needed at that point and need even more today was integration.

ITER is a complex structure, with a central team here in France and seven "domestic agencies" emanating from the seven ITER Members that are responsible for the in-kind procurement of machine components and installation systems. To achieve this integration, we needed a clear, centralized decision-making process under the authority of the Director-General. This being established and accepted by all, we could move on, as "One ITER," to promote and establish a project culture based on shared values of excellence, adherence to commitments, adherence to schedule and budget, and careful and effective use of public funds. And all the while making safety and quality our highest priority.

On striving for excellence in a multicultural environment:

How do we achieve harmony and efficiency? Through mutual respect and the understanding that each culture has its own work habits, traditions and "best practices." However at the end of the day, after well documented debates, decisions have to be taken and implemented by all. The global world we live in has not erased national particularisms. But instead of seeing this as a problem, we see it as an asset: we are building a project culture in a way that takes advantage of the diversity of these "best practices" to achieve an optimal result. 

On considering a job at ITER:

I've often said that, when joining ITER you symbolically abandon your nationality. You become Iternational... Working at ITER is very demanding but it is also very rewarding. Can you think of something more exciting, more motivating, than contributing to a project that can change the course of civilization for hundreds of thousands of years?

On the importance of fusion

My conviction is that in the second half of this century, beyond 2060, we will have accumulated enough knowledge and experience to create a large fusion industry—just like in the past decades we have created an oil, gas or nuclear fission industry. But like with any of these industries, the decision will be both technical and political and rest in the individual governments' and investors' hands.

Follow these links to read the article in English or Spanish.

Tune in to the ITER channel!
22 Jan 2018
Bored with the Kardashians? Not interested in your regular TV program? You can now tune in to a new channel that will allow you to follow—in real time!—the construction of the Tokamak Complex.

Streamed from a video camera mounted 60 metres above platform level, the footage gives you an eagle eye's view of the ongoing activities in the Holy of Holies of the ITER Project —day and night, any day, any hour.

Follow this link to the ITER homepage.

WEST joins family of divertor tokamaks
22 Jan 2018
On 18 December 2017, the current was raised in the divertor coils and the very first X-point plasma was obtained in the WEST tokamak (France).

The current was raised in limiter configuration up to 500 kA and controlled during a couple of seconds, while the divertor coils entered into action and an ITER-like configuration was reached.

The WEST project consists in transforming the former Tore Supra tokamak in order to extend its long pulse capability and test ITER's divertor technology. The implementation of a full tungsten, actively cooled divertor with plasma-facing units that are representative of ITER's divertor targets will allow scientists and engineers to address the risks both in terms of industrial-scale manufacturing and operation.

Read all about the test campaign underway in WEST's December 2017 newsletter here.

L'Oréal-UNESCO Fellowships For Women in Science
17 Jan 2018
The L'Oréal Foundation, in partnership with UNESCO and the French Academy of Sciences, is calling for applications to its 2018 "For Women in Science" Fellowship program.

Thirty young and talented female scientists at the doctoral or postdoctoral level will be selected this year in France. Candidates must be specialized in Life or Physical Sciences, currently work or study in France, and demonstrate academic excellence and original research. 

The application deadline is 4 April 2018.

For full information, please see the website in English and French.

Fusion documentary "Let there be light" available for rent/purchase
08 Jan 2018
EyeSteelFilm's 90-minute documentary on fusion and ITER—Let there be light—is now available worldwide for rent or purchase on the Vimeo platform. For audiences in North America it is also available on iTunes for purchase and on Amazon Prime for rent or purchase.

Subtitled ''The 100 Year Journey to Fusion,'' the documentary shows work underway around the world at both ends of the fusion spectrum—from the giant ITER Project to the warehouse-based startup. It has had success at film festivals in North America and Europe since its launch in early 2017 and major international broadcast stations are showing interest. The European culture channel Arte is set to show the documentary in the coming months.

In early January 2018, "Let there be light" was listed as one of the top ten Canadian films in 2017.

The documentary is now available for rent or purchase worldwide on Vimeo.com in English or French. In North America it is also available for purchase on iTunes and for purchase or rent on Amazon Prime, both in English.

Next stop: Europe-Japan tokamak in Naka
08 Jan 2018
The JT-60SA tokamak is part of the Broader Approach agreement signed between Japan and Euratom to complement the ITER Project and accelerate the realization of fusion energy. The JT-60SA tokamak represents an upgrade of a previous tokamak at the Naka facility, designed to support the operation of ITER. It will investigate how best to optimize the design and operation of fusion power plants built after ITER. First Plasma is planned for 2020, at the end of a six-year assembly and commissioning period.

In the latest news of progress, 12 cryostat vessel sectors manufactured in Spain are now ready for transport to Naka. Heavy frames and robust plastic and tarpaulin wrapping will ensure adequate protection during transport of the sectors, each measuring approximately 11 metres in height, and during storage in Japan. (Storage is required as the elements will arrive ahead of their scheduled assembly in the JT-60SA Torus Hall.)

Along with the completed cryostat vessel sectors the shipment also includes heavy lifting equipment. In total the shipment weighs about 322 tonnes. It is scheduled to arrive at the Hitachi port in Japan by mid-January 2018.

See the full article here and related information here.


You've got mail: the ASDEX Upgrade Letter
22 Dec 2017
The ASDEX Upgrade at the Max-Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Garching, Germany, is one of three medium-sized tokamaks which are part of the EUROfusion program. In conjunction with JET it provides important input to the ITER Project.

The 18th issue of the ASDEX Upgrade Letter provides the latest news in three topics. The first presents results of research on plasma stability, in particular on instabilities in the plasma edge. The second item describes the use of a newly upgraded core turbulence microwave diagnostic system, known as correlation electron cyclotron emission (CECE). Thanks to the CECE, plasma physicists will have a better understanding of turbulence in fusion plasmas.

A third contribution focuses on alternative power exhaust concepts for the APDEX Upgrade tokamak. The extraction of the power produced in a future reactor poses one of the challenges in fusion research. In the ASDEX Upgrade the lower divertor is normally used for this purpose; now, scientists are investigating alternative configurations with a new, modified upper divertor. The design phase has already started and first hardware installation is expected in 2020/2021.

The Letter also honours the young IPP physicist Benedikt Geiger who was awarded the Hans Werner Osthoff Plasma Physics Prize 2016. The prize honours outstanding achievements in the field of plasma physics.

For more information and access to the ASDEX Upgrade Letter click here.

Register now: 2018 Kudowa Summer School
22 Dec 2017
The Polish Institute of Plasma Physics and Laser Microfusion (IPPLM) invites young scientists to attend the 14th Kudowa Summer School. The summer school, under the motto "Towards fusion energy," will be held in Kudowa-Zdrój, in the Lower Silesia region in southwest Poland, from 4 to 8 June 2018.

The school provides courses on fusion energy, plasma experiments and related technology. It will mainly look at laser fusion and laser-matter interaction studies. Topics include plasma basics and fusion energy; inertial confinement fusion; magnetic confinement fusion; plasma-diagnostics; and technology.

Registration is open until 20 March 2018. Interested participants are encouraged to give presentations. The deadline for submitting abstracts is 8 February 2018.

For all related information please go to the Kudowa Summer School website.

Artificial intelligence and supercomputers
21 Dec 2017
One of the big challenges in developing fusion energy is controlling the plasma. Disruptions of the burning plasma can halt the fusion reaction and damage the walls of the fusion device. Scientists therefore are keen to learn how to predict plasma disruptions.

Researchers at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) employ artificial intelligence to improve predictive capability. They developed predictive software, the Fusion Recurrent Neural Network (FRNN) code, which is a form of what is called "deep learning"—a powerful version of modern machine-learning software. (Research team: William Tang, to the left; Eliot Feibush; and Alexey Svyatkovskiy, seated)

Drawing from data of the JET facility in the UK, the team has demonstrated the tool's ability to predict disruptions more accurately than previous methods. Turning their attention now to ITER, the team aims to improve the correct prediction of disruptions and reduce the number of false alarms.

The deep learning software is also a challenge for computing hardware. Several tests with the FRNN on modern powerful supercomputing devices, so-called GPU clusters, in the United States, Europe and Asia showed promising results.

Read the full article on the PPPL website.

New era in plasma and fusion research
20 Dec 2017
At the joint meeting of the 26th International Toki Conference (ITC) and the 11th Asia Plasma and Fusion Association (APFA) conference—held from 5 to 8 December in Toki, Japan—ITER Science & Operations Department head David Campbell gave a plenary talk on ITER progress.

It was the occasion to recognize the many contributions of Dr Campbell to fusion research over the course of his career. The chair of the international program committee, Yutaka Kamada, and the chair of the international advisory committee, Yasuhiko Takeiri, both presented tributes. Dr Campbell retired in December from the ITER Organization.

The theme this year of the ITC meeting was "A new era in plasma and fusion research." The launch of deuterium experiments in Japan's Large Helical Device, and the first experimental results, were highlighted at the meeting, which also brought together academics and researchers from Japan, China, Korea and India in the context of the biennial APFA meeting. Three hundred participants in all took part in the four-day event. 

UK government invests in nuclear fusion research
11 Dec 2017
The UK's nuclear fusion research program can expect a big financial boost. A £86 million government investment—announced last week—will benefit the UK's Atomic Energy Authority's (UKAEA's) Culham Science Centre and its plan to build a National Fusion Technology Platform.

The platform will comprise two centres of excellence:

-        The Hydrogen-3 Advanced Technology (H3AT) centre to research how to process and store tritium;

-        The Fusion Technology Facilities to conduct tests on prototype components under conditions they would experience in future fusion reactors.

The new national fusion technology platform will open in 2020. It will enhance the UK's expertise in critical areas of fusion research and help British industry to secure contracts from ITER and other global fusion projects. It will also provide a powerful signal of the UK's intent to continue its participation in international science collaboration after leaving the European Union.

Taking a longer term view, the platform's two centres will help the UK to prepare the grounds for the first nuclear fusion power plants.

The Head of the UKAEA, Ian Chapman, said that this latest development means that: "...the UK will be at the forefront of developing fusion and bringing cleaner energy to the world."

Read the full article here.

Submissions wanted for SOFT innovation prize 2018
08 Dec 2017
The starting shot for the 2018 SOFT Innovation Prize has sounded. The prize is a feature of the Symposium on Fusion Technology (SOFT), a biennial conference organized by the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA). It rewards outstanding researchers or companies who find new physics or technology solutions to address the challenges of fusion, with the potential of wider application.

The competition is open to researchers, research teams and companies from around the world. Anyone interested to enter the competition needs to apply through the Research and Innovation portal of the European Commission; the deadline for submissions is 8 March 2018. An independent jury of experts in technology transfer will select the three winners and the award ceremony will take place as part of the 30th SOFT conference taking place in Giardini Naxos, Sicily, Italy, from 17-21 September.

Last year's winners were awarded the prize for a novel type of high temperature superconductor cable based on REBCO tape material, a new membrane technology to produce ultra-pure hydrogen and a new virtual reality software technology to improve radioprotection.

SOFT is an important conference in the area of fusion technology and research in Europe. It attracts over 800 scientists, engineers, industry representatives and exhibitors from around the world.

Read the full article here.

IPP scientist receives "Nuclear Fusion" Award
06 Dec 2017
Physicist François Ryter, of the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Garching, Germany, has received the 2017 Nuclear Fusion Award.

The annual award recognizes exceptional work that has appeared in Nuclear Fusion, and that has had the greatest influence in the two years following publication.

Ryter was honoured for his 2014 paper on experiments in Garching's ASDEX Upgrade tokamak. "Delivering an outstanding piece of work on L—H transition physics, Ryter et al present a systematic and rigorous experimental study revealing the key role of the ion heat flux at the plasma edge. This explains the nonlinear dependence of the L—H threshold power on density and enables the derivation of a general expression for the density minimum. This is an important physics finding, with implications for ITER operation," the award panel announced.

See a full report on the IPP website.

A birthday celebration in Barcelona
04 Dec 2017
"Few projects in the world combine such ambition, cutting-edge science and technology, and energy for future generations."

With these words Johannes Schwemmer, the Director of the European Domestic Agency, opened the 10-year anniversary celebration of Europe's involvement in ITER on 30 November.

European Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy, Miguel Arias Cañete, went on to highlight the human capital behind this one-of-kind project and praised "the work of so-many scientists and engineers, and the fact that countries, industries and research centres are working together to translate a common vision into a reality." The Mayor of the city of Barcelona, Ada Colau, explained that it was "an honour to host the European Agency and this was also proof of Barcelona's commitment to science and innovation." For Spain's Secretary of State for Research, Development and Innovation, Carmen Vela, ITER will "also open the door to the commercialization of fusion energy by laying the industrial foundations in each of its parties." 

View more on the event, as well as anniversary video clips, here.

Honoured for his role in fusion energy science
04 Dec 2017
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded physicist Edmund Synakowski with its Meritorious Service Award. He received the honour "for strong and insightful leadership" during his eight years as Associate Director of the DOE's Office of Fusion Energy Sciences and for having "reshaped and improved the national fusion energy sciences program," administering an annual budget of about US $400 million to develop nuclear fusion as an energy source.

Synakowski is the new vice president for research and economic development of the University of Wyoming where the award ceremony took place on 29 November 2017. He previously led the fusion energy program at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and held a number of roles at Princeton University's Plasma Physics Laboratory.

Synakowski is an expert in plasma physics and has authored over 160 peer-reviewed articles on plasma fusion science.

Read the full article by the University of Wyoming here.

The Wendelstein 7-X magical virtual tour
30 Nov 2017
An unknown version of the famous Beatles song? No—a new way of exploring the experimental fusion device Wendelstein 7-X, located at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Greifswald, Germany.

Similar to ITER, Wendelstein 7-X aims to replicate the process at work in the core of the Sun to develop a clean and abundant energy source. This fusion device of the stellarator variety celebrated its first plasma in December 2015.

Are you interested in having a peek inside an extraordinary feat of science and technology? Normally accessible to experts only, Wendelstein 7-X has now opened its virtual doors and invites the interested public to a 360-degree tour. You can look into every corner of the experimentation hall, climb into the plasma vessel itself and visit the beam duct or listen to scientists explain the intricacies of the device and present their work. Information panels provide further background on plasma, superconducting magnets, graphite cladding, divertors and much more.

Go to this address to take a tour on your PC, tablet or smartphone.

Fundamental energy research at DIFFER (Eindhoven)
30 Nov 2017
At the Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research, DIFFER, scientists are working to accelerate the transition to a sustainable society.


In the latest edition of the newsletter EXPLORE, researchers report on the promise of liquid metal walls in fusion reactors, the possibility of vapour shielding, and the institute's strategic plan for 2017-2022, which maintains a strong focus on fusion energy and solar fuels.


Read the latest DIFFER newsletter here.

New online platform for all things plasma
27 Nov 2017
Plasma science is about to get a new online outlet. Aptly named Plasma, the cross-disciplinary scholarly journal will be a platform for all aspects of plasma science such as plasma physics, plasma chemistry and space plasma. Publication formats include research articles, reviews, short communications and letters.

The international, open-access and peer-reviewed scientific journal will be published quarterly by the Swiss online publisher MDPI. The first volume of the new journal is expected to come out in 2018.

David A. Gates, principal research physicist and Stellarator Physics Division Head at the US Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), is the newly appointed editor-in-chief of the journal. Following his nomination Gates said: "I look forward to helping advance the international research arena in plasma science. This is an outstanding opportunity to help promote the research of a vital area of physics and to open the door to communicating that research to the global community."

Plasma is the fourth state of matter. It is a hot, electrically charged gas and the most abundant form of visible matter in the universe. Some 99 percent of the known universe is in plasma state. Plasma can also be found on Earth such as in lightning and fluorescent light bulbs.

Read more about the journal and its new editor-in-chief.

Assessing ITER's progress
20 Nov 2017
Representatives of the European Commission and delegates to the Council of the European Union responsible for science and research visited ITER on 20 November.

Their aim was to get first-hand information on the current status of the ITER Project to allow member states to respond to the Commission. Thirty-four delegates from 18 states plus Switzerland participated.

In a communication issued in June 2017, the Commission had requested support from the European Parliament and for a mandate from the Council of the European Union to approve—on behalf of Euratom—the new ITER Baseline, including the new schedule and the associated resource requirements.

The request was based on the Commission's positive assessment of the changes in the overall management of the ITER Project and the completion of important milestones in the preceding two years.

"Baking" the MAST tokamak
20 Nov 2017
The Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) in the United Kingdom, owned and operated by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), is home to two magnetic fusion experiments.

The European tokamak JET is currently getting ready for a run of experiments using the high-power fuel mixture of deuterium and tritium (DT), while the Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak (MAST) is nearing the end of an upgrade program (completion 2018) to investigate the super-X divertor—a magnetic configuration that spreads the heat loads at the divertor area of the machine.

MAST is about to undergo a baking operation in order to clean the interior surfaces of the vessel and enable the ultra-high vacuum required for operation. In this picture, the machine has been fitted with a thermal jacket, ready for baking at 160 °C.

Read more about the operation on the CCFE website.

Fusion passion
13 Nov 2017
Fourteen authors and one illustrator share their passion for fusion in special October issue of Fusion in Europe. The issue contains a variety of topics ranging from ITER, JET, Brexit, material science, the Lawson Criterion, plasma turbulence and the history of fusion research in Mexico.

What is also special about the issue is that most of the authors are students or young researchers from around the world. The newsletter is thus a window onto the views of the next generation of fusion professionals and enthusiasts.

Click here to view the full October issue of Fusion in Europe.

Improving plasma stability in KSTAR
13 Nov 2017
A major challenge in the development of fusion energy is maintaining the ultra-hot plasma of a fusion device in a steady state, or stable form. While superconductors can allow a fusion reactor to operate indefinitely, controlling the plasma with superconductors presents a challenge because engineering constraints limit their response time compared to the more energy consuming copper coils.

The slower pace makes it difficult to operate a stable discharge with the large plasma volume or extended vertical height required for producing fusion power. Exploration of this issue in a current superconducting device is particularly helpful for ITER, which will be operational in 2025.

At the leading edge of this control challenge is the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR) device, one of the largest superconducting tokamaks in the world. Its superconductors are made of niobium and tin, the same conductor that is planned for use in ITER.

A team of US and Korean researchers, led by physicist Dennis Mueller (photo) of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), has now sharply improved the stability of the elongated plasma in KSTAR, setting an example for how to address similar issues in other superconducting devices such as ITER. The successful control method, demonstrated this summer by Mueller and physicists from the National Fusion Research Institute (NFRI) in South Korea, which operates the tokamak, and General Atomics in San Diego, caps years of effort to control the vertical instability, which had allowed the plasma to bounce up and down in the 11-foot-high vacuum vessel.

See how they did it in the full article on the PPPL website.

Just like the sun? Not quite ...
13 Nov 2017
It is inscribed in bold letters on the large poster that is affixed to the ITER Assembly Hall: harnessing fusion energy is akin to "bringing the power of the Sun to Earth."

And it is true: like the Sun, the ITER Tokamak will produce energy by fusing hydrogen nuclei into helium.

The fusion reaction in our machine, however, is not like that which occurs in Sun-like stars. Although the end product (helium) and the ingredients (hydrogen isotopes in one case, hydrogen in the other) are the same, the nature of the process is profoundly different.

In a recent article on the Forbes website astrophysicist Ethan Siegel explains how "hydrogen-fusing-into-helium makes up less than half of all nuclear reactions in our Sun," and how the nuclear physics in stellar bodies abounds in "strange, unearthly phenomena."

The inscription on the Assembly Hall remains nonetheless true. ITER is indeed "bringing the power of the Sun to Earth." It's just that stars and tokamaks have different ways of obtaining a similar result.

Click here to read the full Forbes.com article.

Microwaves can control Alfvén waves in fusion plasmas
09 Nov 2017
An international team of fusion experts working at the DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego, California, has discovered a way to minimize the effects of a phenomenon that can decrease the performance of fusion reactors and even possibly cause damage to the device. This work shows that localized electron heating by microwaves is an effective tool for modifying Alfvén eigenmode activity in DIII-D and other devices worldwide.

Alfvén waves can cause redistribution or loss of the injected neutral beam ions that are needed to heat fusion devices and of the helium nuclei (alpha particles) produced by the fusion reaction that also contribute to the continued heating of the plasma. If left to grow unabated, the Alfvén waves can result in reduced performance and potentially damage vessel components.

Powerful microwave beams deposited near the location of so-called reversed shear Alfvén eigenmodes (RSAEs) are found to modify the wave activity significantly—in some cases completely removing the modes. Based on experiments run at the DIII-D tokamak, the team has arrived at a simple model that determines how to predictably minimize RSAEs by using microwaves to heat the electrons at particular points in the plasma.

Read the full report here.

-- Spectrograms showing the change in wave activity with and without microwave heating. With no heating (top), upward frequency sweeping RSAEs are observed. With heating near the wave location (bottom), no RSAEs are expected or observed. Adapted from: M.A. Van Zeeland, W.W. Heidbrink , S.E. Sharapov , D. Spong , A. Cappa, et.al., Nucl. Fusion 56, 112007 (2016).

Is fusion the fuel of the future?
30 Oct 2017
An update on ITER has been published in the Autumn 2017 issue of Energy Focus, the flagship magazine of the UK-based Energy Industries Council.

Titled "Is Fusion the Fuel of the Future?" the article describes recent project performance, concerns about the effect of Brexit, and why it's all worth it.

You can read the article on line at Energy Focus (pp 46-47).

ITER on National Geographic
25 Oct 2017
A new National Geographic series on renewable energy, called "Positive Energy," will be featuring the ITER Project in one of its upcoming episodes.

The episode will be viewable on the National Geographic Channel in Europe on Wednesday 1 November at 10:00 p.m. 

It has already been broadcast on the National Geographic Channel in Africa and China (25 October) and in the Americas (18 October).

See more on the "Positive Energy" website.


How bubbles at the edge of plasmas can reduce reaction efficiency
23 Oct 2017
For hydrogen atoms to fuse into helium, the heat of the ultrahot plasma in the tokamak must be maintained. But, like boiling water, plasma has blobs (or bubbles) that percolate within the plasma edge, reducing the performance of the plasma by taking away heat that sustains the fusion reactions.

Now, scientists at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) in the US have completed new simulations that could provide insight into how blobs at the plasma edge behave. The simulations, produced by a code called XGC1 developed by a national team based at PPPL, performed kinetic simulations of two different regions of the plasma edge simultaneously. This ability produces a more fundamental and fuller picture of how heat moves from plasma to the walls, potentially causing damage.

Blobs play an important role in the outward movement of particles in plasma. Blobs cause approximately 50 percent of the particle loss at the plasma edge, and researchers have observed blobs in a wide range of plasma devices, including tokamaks, figure-eight-shaped fusion devices known as stellarators, and linear machines. "The big picture is that blobs can pull energy and particles out of the plasma, and you don't want that," said PPPL physicist Michael Churchill, lead author of a paper describing the results in the journal Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion. Churchill said. "You want to keep things confined."

Read more on the PPPL website.

-- Physicist Michael Churchill

The promise of liquid lithium
23 Oct 2017
Researchers led by the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have proposed an innovative design to improve the ability of future fusion power plants to generate safe, clean and abundant energy in a steady state, or constant, manner. The design uses loops of liquid lithium to clean and recycle the tritium, the radioactive hydrogen isotope that fuels fusion reactions, and to protect the divertor plates from intense exhaust heat from the tokamak that contains the reactions.

"There are many challenges to developing fusion energy and the handling of heat on divertor plates is among them," said PPPL physicist Masa Ono, lead author of a paper about the design published in the journal Nuclear Fusion. "We wanted to see how we can protect the divertor plates and keep the fusion chamber clean."

The system that Ono and colleagues designed calls for pumping liquid lithium in and out of a tokamak, a type of magnetic fusion device, to maintain steady state operation while cleaning out dust and other impurities from the plasma and safeguarding the divertor. The lithium, a silvery metal that readily combines with other elements, would serve a number of functions, including protecting the divertor plates, capturing tritium for recycling, and removing dust and other unwanted elements.

Continue reading on the PPPL website.

-- Physicist Masa Ono of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.

Powering the world
16 Oct 2017
According to the United States Energy Information Administration, the amount of energy supplied by all fuel sources across the world is tremendous: 155,481 teraWatt-hours as of 2014, the latest year on record.

In order to meet this enormous energy demand in a given year, we need to burn 24 billions tonnes of coal, or 12 billion tonnes of oil, or a bit less of natural gas (10.4 billion tonnes).That's for fossil fuels.

If we were to use only conventional nuclear energy to power the world, we would need to consume approximately 7,000 tonnes of nuclear fuel (enriched uranium or mixed oxyde).

However with nuclear fusion, only 867 tonnes of hydrogen would suffice...

Forbes magazine has a detailed article on this topic here.

Experiments on the WEST tokamak should resume in October
13 Oct 2017
The WEST project is based on an upgrade of the Tore Supra tokamak, in operation since 1988 in France (CEA- IRFM).

With its new tungsten divertor WEST has become a test bed for ITER, capable of testing ITER high heat flux component technologies in relevant plasma conditions. 

Following the commissioning of its sub-systems, WEST has had a short shutdown period during which the ICRH antenna was installed and other machine optimization activities carried out. Plasma experiments should resume in October.

See the latest news in WEST's October newsletter.

Diagnostic sensors shown to resist neutrons
13 Oct 2017
The European Domestic Agency has successfully tested prototypes of a specific type of magnetic diagnostic sensor at the Belgian SCK-CEN and the Czech REZ laboratories.

The diagnostic sensor prototypes, based on Low-Temperature Co-fired Ceramic (LTCC) technology, responded well to neutron exposure. Data collected throughout the experimentation will help engineers optimize the sensors' final design.

The diagnostic LTCC sensors measure the magnetic field around the plasma core and yield vital information regarding its position and shape. Of the more than 1,500 magnetic field sensors of various different types required on ITER, the LTCC-based sensors will be most exposed to neutrons.

The prototypes were manufactured by EPFL (Switzerland), Via Electronic (Germany) and VTT (Finland).

Read the full story on the European Domestic Agency website.

Fusion documentary opens Pariscience Film Festival
09 Oct 2017
It was against the backdrop of the magnificent National Museum of Natural History where "Let there be Light" celebrated its most recent success by opening the 2017 edition of the Pariscience Film Festival.

More than 200 guests, among them many film-producers and journalists, had gathered in the historic amphitheatre to watch the award-winning 90-minute documentary on fusion energy produced by Canadian director Mila Aung-Thwin and cinematographer Van Royko.

Only four days before, Mila Aung-Thwin had attended the Zurich Film Festival where the film screened twice. Now he was on stage in Paris, together with ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot and ITER scientist Mark Henderson, answering the questions from the audience. For most of the attendees, the film had been the first contact with the ITER Project and so the crowd was curious to learn more about the international quest for fusion energy.

The applause at the end paid tribute to an entertaining evening and—as many professional film producers attested—to an outstanding film.

Russia ships 85 tonnes of busbars
02 Oct 2017
A third batch of electrotechnical equipment has left the port of Saint Petersburg, Russia, for delivery to ITER. On board are 85 tonnes of aluminium DC busbars and system components, part of an overall procurement package that includes some 5 kilometres of busbars (500 tonnes) as well as fast discharge units and switching networks.

Busbars are the long metal components that will "snake" through the installation to feed the superconducting magnets with large amounts of current. The biggest are designed to carry close to 70 kiloamps of current to the 18 toroidal field coils of the machine; others will connect to the poloidal field coils, correction coils and the central solenoid.

The first two batches of equipment were delivered and 2015 and 2016, and more are expected. The main supplier of this equipment is the Efremov Institute (NIIEFA), St. Petersburg.

--Alex Petrov, ITER Russia

New interim director for Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
28 Sep 2017
Rich Hawryluk—who was Deputy Director-General for the Administration Department at the ITER Organization from 2011 to 2013—has been appointed interim director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) while an international search for a permanent director moves forward. 

The leadership change comes as PPPL moves forward with the recovery phase of the NSTX-U spherical tokamak, which encountered a malfunction in one of its magnet coils in 2016. The lab is constructing prototype magnets in preparation for replacing the one that failed last year, as well as five others that were built under similar conditions. 

Hawryluk has a long association with the PPPL lab, having served as former head of the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) in the 1990s, deputy director of the laboratory from 1997 to 2008, and head of the ITER and Tokamaks Department from 2009 to 2011 and 2013 to the present.

Photo reportage of the KTM tokamak
14 Sep 2017
The KTM tokamak, based at the National Nuclear Center in Kurchatov, Kazakhstan, is a small and versatile machine that is capable of testing materials under high particle and heat flux.

The spotlight turned this summer to this recent member of the worldwide tokamak community, as Kazakhstan hosted the 2017 World's Fair. A Cooperation Agreement was also signed between Kazakhstan's National Nuclear Center and the ITER Organization in June 2017 that opens the door to scientific and engineering cooperation between the two institutions.

Kazakh Journalist Grigory Bedenko has visited the KTM Tokamak in Kurchatov, where commissioning operations are underway in preparation for the start of operations next year.

See his long photo reportage here.

Russian firm is developing port plug test stands
04 Sep 2017
ITER's vacuum vessel port plugs are critical components that seal the plasma chamber and allow experiments to take place in a high vacuum environment.

The Russian Domestic Agency—responsible for supplying four test stands for the vacuum, heat and functional testing of the port plugs before their installation on the machine—has contracted with the Russian firm Cryogenmash for the development of the technology.

The team at Cryogenmash is currently testing the sealing flanges that will secure the port plugs on the test stand and running tests on the gaskets to arrive at a final choice of technology and material. Vacuum and leak tests were run recently with results that surpassed expectations.

Watch a five-minute video of the work underway courtesy of ITER Russia.

Podcast on nuclear fusion and ITER from Bloomberg
29 Aug 2017
The latest podcast from Decrypted by Bloomberg starts with the question: "How close are we to realizing the silver bullet for clean, cheap and abundant energy ... fusion?"

Featuring lengthy interviews at the US Department of Energy's largest science and energy laboratory, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, journalists Jing Cao and Aki Ito delve into the way nuclear fusion fuels our Sun and stars and how scientists plan to make it commercially viable on Earth, despite a lack of funding ...

Follow the 25-minute podcast "The Nuclear Tech Breakthrough That Could Make Oil Obsolete" here

PPPL physicist discovers that some plasma instabilities can extinguish themselves
24 Aug 2017
Physicist Fatima Ebrahimi from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has for the first time used advanced models to accurately simulate key characteristics of the cyclic behaviour of edge-localized modes (ELMs), a particular type of plasma instability.

The findings could help physicists more fully comprehend the behaviour of plasma, the hot, charged gas that fuels fusion reactions in doughnut-shaped fusion facilities called tokamaks, and more reliably produce plasmas for fusion reactions. The findings could also provide insight into solar flares, the eruptions of enormous masses of plasma from the surface of the sun into space.

ELMs occur around the outer edge of high-confinement, or H-mode, plasmas due to strong edge currents. Ebrahimi used a computer simulation code known as NIMROD to show how ELMs go through a repeated cycle in which they form, develop, and vanish.

The model demonstrates that ELMs can form when a steep gradient of current exists at the plasma edge. The gradient develops when the plasma moves suddenly up or down, creating a bump in the current and forming an edge current sheet. The instability then forms a current-carrying filament that moves around the tokamak, producing electrical fields that interfere with the currents that caused the ELMs to form. With the original currents disrupted, the ELM dies. "In a way," Ebrahimi said, "an ELM eliminates its own source — erases the bump on the edge current — by its own motion."

Ebrahimi's findings are consistent with observations of cyclic behaviour of ELMs in tokamaks around the world. These include Pegasus, a small spherical device at the University of Wisconsin; the Mega Ampere Spherical Tokamak (MAST) in the United Kingdom; and the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX), the flagship facility at PPPL before its recent upgrade. The research could also improve understanding of solar eruptions, which are accompanied by filamentary structures similar to those produced by ELMs. Her next step will involve investigating the impact of differences in plasma pressure on the cyclic behaviour of ELMs.

Read the full article on the PPPL website.

Qualifying critical elements of the ITER divertor
08 Aug 2017
The elements of the ITER divertor that will directly face the hot plasma must withstand a heat load that is estimated at ten times that of a spacecraft re-entering Earth's atmosphere.

Procuring parties Russia (divertor dome), Japan (divertor outer targets) and Europe (divertor inner targets) are all engaged in multiyear qualification programs that include prototype fabrication and high heat flux testing.

The European Domestic Agency made the choice of contracting with three separate manufacturers for the development of small-scale inner vertical target prototypes that are 1/19th of the actual scale needed for ITER. In the first stage of the pre-qualification program the prototypes were successfully tested in high heat flux conditions; the next step will now be to develop full-scale prototypes. This phase—which involves the three manufacturers plus a fourth, pre-qualified supplier—is expected to last approximately three years.

Read the full article on the European Domestic Agency website.

In memoriam: Dr Yasuo Shimomura
04 Aug 2017
We have learned with profound sadness of the passing of Dr Yasuo Shimomura, who served as ITER Deputy Director from the beginning of the Engineering Design Activities (EDA) in 1992 until 2001. From 2001 until 2003 Dr Shimomura was ITER International Team Co-Leader, and from 2003 until 2005 he was ITER Interim Project Leader; during this last period he led the ITER team through the difficult transitional phase from the design activity to the start of construction in 2006.

A graduate of Osaka University, Dr Shimomura had a distinguished career in fusion research at the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute, JAERI (now part of the National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology, QST). He was a leading figure in the construction and operation of the JFT-2a/DIVA tokamak, developing a reactor-relevant divertor concept that is currently being applied to ITER. He was also Leader of the JT-60 Experimental Planning and Analysis Group, and in 1986 was appointed as Head of the Large Tokamak Experiment Division at JAERI, with overall responsibility for the JT-60 tokamak. From 1988 he combined the leadership of the JT-60 device and its conversion to JT-60U with an appointment as Head of the Poloidal Field Design Group within the ITER Conceptual Design Activities (CDA). He was appointed ITER Deputy Director within the ITER EDA in July 1992, with responsibility for the design integration of the project. Dr Shimomura also held guest scientist positions at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory from 1976 to 1977 and at the Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik in Garching from 1981 to 1982.

Dr Shimomura will be remembered by his many friends and colleagues in the ITER community as a gifted physicist who contributed greatly to the project during an involvement spanning 20 years. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and who benefitted from his leadership and guidance.

Exploring welding techniques for test blanket modules in Europe
03 Aug 2017
In ITER, six technological solutions for tritium breeding—in the form of test blanket modules plus associated ancillary systems—will be operated and tested for the first time. Their experimental validation will represent a major step for fusion development beyond ITER, when tritium fuel will necessarily have to be bred within the reactor.

In China, Europe, India, Japan and Korea these solutions are under development, with Russia and the United States contributing R&D and providing general support for the test blanket module program.

Europe is developing two types of test blanket modules, which consist of a steel box containing tritium breeders, neutron multiplier materials and heat extraction plates. Over the past two years, the European Domestic Agency and industrial partners have been manufacturing mockups of these boxes to test welding techniques. A preliminary welding procedure, employing a tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding robot to carry out the tasks within the limited space of the box, has been identified. The welding qualification cycle is expected to end within the next two years.

See the full article on the European Domestic Agency website.

Ed Synakowski changes roles
26 Jul 2017
Edmund Synakowski—the Associate Director of the US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fusion Energy Sciences and former ITER Council Vice-Chair—has been chosen as the University of Wyoming's vice president for research and economic development. Synakowski will also be a professor in the university's Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The role of the vice president for research and economic development is to support and facilitate the research efforts of University of Wyoming's faculty, staff and students; direct the university's research mission as a public research university; promote the university's research program with stakeholders; and direct technology transfer and commercialization efforts for the university's intellectual property.

Synakowski has held his current position, associate director of science in the Department of Energy, since 2009, administering a budget of about $400 million annually to develop nuclear fusion as an energy source. His agency supports research at more than 50 universities, eight national and two federal laboratories, and 15 industry groups.

He previously led the Fusion Energy Program at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and held a number of roles at Princeton University's Plasma Physics Laboratory.

Read the full report on the University of Wyoming's website here.

Miniature eyes for maintenance
26 Jul 2017
At least 100 miniature cameras will be installed inside the ITER machine to act as the eyes for operators charged with machine maintenance.

Some of them will give a wide-angle view of the inside of the machine; others will be embedded on the robotic arms used for repairs. By receiving live image from the cameras, engineers hundreds of metres away will be able to operate maintenance and repair equipment with extreme accuracy.

The European Domestic Agency has been working with Oxford Technologies Limited (OTL) to develop and validate the different subsystems of the miniature cameras, which will have to operate within severe space constraints and often in an environment exposed to radiation. Subsystems developed by ISAE, France (image sensors); CEA, France (illumination system); and Jean Monnet University Saint Etienne, France (optic system) have been successfully tested over the past year at Belgium's SCK-CEN facility where they were exposed to different levels of gamma radiation.

The next step will be to develop a camera prototype.

Read the full story on the European Domestic Agency website.

How hot is too hot?
10 Jul 2017
To predict the impact of removing exhaust heat from the ITER Tokamak, researchers are calling on the Titan supercomputer at the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility in the US.

Using the 27-petaflop behemoth, researchers based at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) are simulating the area where the plasma edge meets the divertor—the material structure engineered to remove exhaust heat from the vacuum vessel. Specifically, the team has evaluated the heat-flux width at the divertor, or the width of the material surface that might sustain the highest heat load.

Because the divertor directly faces the exhaust flow, it is bombarded with hot particles driven by electromagnetic fluctuations. In ITER, in order to withstand the highest surface heat load, the divertor will be made of the toughest element on Earth: tungsten.

"You don't want to start and stop ITER too often to replace this divertor material, so it has to be able to withstand the heat load," team leader C.S. Chang reports. "Ideally, we want the hot exhaust particles to hit the surface in a much wider area so that it's not damaged."

Based on simulations made possible by Titan's supercomputing capacity, Chang's team predicts that in ITER, due to the size of the plasma, edge plasma turbulence may spread heat across a larger area of the divertor surface and significantly increase the heat-flux width relative to current smaller-scale fusion devices.

Read the full report on research results at OLCF.

Diagnostic upgrade at TCV
03 Jul 2017
At the Swiss Plasma Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, the TCV tokamak was recently shut down for an upgrade of its Thomson scattering diagnostic. The operation was successful: shortly after commissioning the first measurements demonstrated greatly enhanced spatial and spectral resolution for the temperature and density profile measurements of TCV plasmas.

TCV is a variable configuration tokamak with highly specialized capabilities (plasma shaping, versatile electron cyclotron heating, measurement, control systems) for the exploration of the physics of magnetically confined plasmas.

See the full article on the EPFL/Swiss Plasma Center website.

How to maintain the divertor?
26 Jun 2017
Under contract with the European Domestic Agency, a team of experts has been working for more than a year to identify key technologies to perform the cutting and welding operations that will be required during the change-out of ITER divertor cassettes.

The technical constraints are enormous—the work (both cutting and welding) will have to be performed remotely, the operational space is severely limited, and no lubricant can be applied as ITER is a nuclear environment.

Experts from Assystem UK and the UKAEA robotics development laboratory RACE (for Remote Applications in Challenging Environments) have identified candidate techniques; now trials are underway and the search is on for the best tools to do the work remotely.

Read more on the European Domestic Agency website.

Tokamaks inspire
26 Jun 2017
The steel, the pipes, the tangle of cables and wires ... to sum it looks confusingly technological—but to others it's inspiring!

UK artist Sarah Moncrieff specialises in urban scenes and industrial interiors. She first heard of JET, the European fusion research experiment hosted at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), via a friend who works at the site.

"He thought, quite accurately, that I would be interested in it as a subject for my painting. What I hadn't anticipated was how much I would become interested in the work that is done at Culham. The work is fascinating and the sense of seeing something at the forefront of scientific progress was thrilling for me. I know that excitement informed my paintings."

Sarah's paintings of JET were recently exposed at an on-site Open Day, to popular acclaim. You can see more of Sarah's work on her website.

Read the full article at CCFE.

News from WEST's commissioning
19 Jun 2017
After celebrating its First Plasma in December 2016, the WEST tokamak (for W Environment in Steady-state Tokamak) was reopened for the installation of two modified LHCD antennas for plasma heating (through lower hybrid current drive), then plasma operations restarted in April 2017.

Although plasma breakdown was routinely achieved, the ramping up of the plasma current was found to be difficult due to induced currents in the passive structures that have been introduced inside the vacuum vessel to produce the divertor configuration.

In effect, the WEST test platform is a modification of the Tore Supra tokamak at the Institute for Magnetic Research (CEA Cadarache, France) that introduces an actively cooled tungsten divertor. The machine has been considerably altered, with a "welcoming structure" for the new divertor, new in-vessel coils, new diagnostics, and adaptations to the heating, fuelling and cooling systems.

The vessel has been reopened to address stray magnetic field compensation through modification of the divertor baffle and a reduction in its electric conductivity to limit induced current. Experiments are expected to resume by the end of June.

Read more in the lastest WEST Newsletter.

Optimizing lithium to control fusion plasmas
19 Jun 2017
For fusion to generate substantial energy, the ultra-hot plasma that fuels fusion reactions must remain stable and kept from cooling. Researchers have recently shown lithium, a soft, silver-white metal, to be effective in both respects during path-setting US-Chinese experiments on the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) in Hefei, China.

Seven US researchers traveled to EAST in December, 2016, to participate in the experiments. They deployed lithium in the Chinese tokamak in three different ways: through a lithium powder injector, a lithium granule injector, and a flowing liquid lithium limiter (FLiLi) that delivered the element in liquid form to the edge of EAST plasmas. Good results were shown by all three techniques.

Leading the US collaboration is the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), together with co-principal investigators Los Alamos and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, with Johns Hopkins University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Scientists from General Atomics also participate via a separate grant.

-- John Greenwald, PPPL

See the full report on the PPPL website.

Prof Predhiman Krishan Kaw (1948-2017)
19 Jun 2017
It is with great regret that the ITER community has learned of the sudden passing of Professor Predhiman Krishan Kaw on 18 June.

Professor Kaw was a well-known and highly respected plasma physicist, author of over 380 research publications in scientific journals. He was the founding director of the Institute for Plasma Research in Gujarat, India, which he led from 1986 to 2012. Named Year of Science Chair by the Indian Department of Science & Technology (DST), Professor Kaw continued to be active in research and in the mentoring and training of the younger generation of plasma physicists as DST Professor at the Institute for Plasma Research.

Professor Kaw was also the first Chair of the ITER Council Science and Technology Advisory Committee (STAC), leading the committee's deliberations from 2007 to 2009, and a regular participant to ITER Council meetings as Representative of India.

For his outstanding contributions to experimental and/or theoretical research in fundamental plasma physics and plasma applications, he was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri award (India's fourth highest honour) in 1985; the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology in 1986; the World Academy of Sciences (TWAP) Prize in 2008; and the Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar Prize of Plasma Physics in 2016 (see related article in Newsline).

See the Institute for Plasma Research website for more information.

Professor Predhiman Krishan Kaw (2nd from left) is seen here on 21 November 2014 at the inauguration of the Cryostat Workshop, where India is assembling the ITER cryostat. With him are the former ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima; M.V. Kotwal, president of Larsen & Toubro's Heavy Engineering Division; and Shishir P. Deshpande, Head of the Indian Domestic Agency.

Does your project need computing power?
12 Jun 2017
The Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) in the UK is looking for people in the fusion community who could benefit from its new cloud-based computing facility, which has a capacity to crunch data that could help researchers and promote collaborative projects. 

The CUMULUS Modular Data Centre, which opened in May, propels CCFE into the next era of supercomputing. With a total of 1128 cores, 18 terabytes of RAM and 170 TB of high performance storage—and the capacity to grow in sync with CCFE's need for computing power—the cloud-base system is also open to users across the international fusion community.

Interested parties should contact Rob Akers at rob.akers@ukaea.uk.

Lithium oxide on tokamak walls can improve plasma performance
05 Jun 2017
Lithium compounds improve plasma performance in fusion devices just as well as pure lithium does, a team of physicists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has found.

The research was conducted by former Princeton University physics graduate student Matt Lucia under the guidance of Robert Kaita, principal research physicist at PPPL and one of Lucia's thesis advisors, as well as the team of scientists working on a machine known as the Lithium Tokamak Experiment (LTX).

Lucia used a new device known as the materials analysis and particle probe (MAPP), invented at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and installed on LTX. The MAPP system lets scientists withdraw samples into a chamber connected to LTX and study them without compromising LTX's vacuum environment. MAPP lets scientists analyze how tokamak plasmas affect a material immediately after the experiment ends. In the past, scientists could only study samples after the machine had been shut down for maintenance; at that point, the vacuum had been broken and the samples had been exposed to many experiments, as well as to air.

Lucia used the evaporation technique to coat a piece of metal with lithium, and then used MAPP to expose the metal to plasma within LTX. As he expected, Lucia observed lithium oxide, which forms when lithium reacts with residual oxygen in LTX's vacuum chamber. He was surprised, however, to find that the compound was just as capable of absorbing deuterium as pure lithium was.

"Matt discovered that even after the lithium coating was allowed to sit on the plasma-facing components within LTX and oxidize, it still was able to bind hydrogen," said Kaita.

Lucia's results are the first direct evidence that lithium oxide forms on tokamak walls and that it retains hydrogen isotopes as well as pure lithium does. They support the observation that lithium oxide can form on both graphite, like the tiles in NSTX, and on metal, and improve plasma performance.

Read the full article by Raphael Rosen on the PPPL website.

-- Physicists Robert Kaita and Michael Jaworski in front of another PPPL fusion device, the NSTX-Upgrade.

Six plasma exhaust projects to receive funding in Europe
23 May 2017
In the context of its Roadmap to the realization of fusion electricity EUROfusion, the European Consortium for the Development of Fusion Energy, has identified a number of crucial technical challenges that must be addressed through advanced research.

One of these is finding a viable solution for the heat exhaust in a future fusion reactor, considering that the divertor strategy planned for ITER cannot be extrapolated to a larger, steady-state facility.

Late 2015, EUROfusion called for proposals on plasma exhaust projects, which an independent panel of experts evaluated. The call, termed Plasma Exhaust (PEX) Assessment, received ten proposals that covered conventional and alternative divertors, as well as conventional materials and plasma-facing units as well as advanced materials.

EUROfusion selected six projects for receiving support. These include: ASDEX Upgrade at the Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics, Garching (Germany); Forschungszentrum Jülich (Germany); Jozef Stefan Institute (Slovenia); MAST-Upgrade, (United Kingdom); TCV at the Swiss Plasma Center (Switzerland); and WEST at CEA (France).

Read the full article at EUROfusion here.

--Photo of the JET tokamak courtesy EUROfusion

Enthusiastic about fusion?
15 May 2017
After the success of the first fusion writers' edition of Fusion in Europe last year, the magazine is again looking for ambitious volunteer writers for the 2017 autumn issue.

Fusion in Europe is the regular publication of EUROfusion, the European Consortium for the Development of Fusion Energy, which manages European fusion research activitites on behalf of Euratom.

Applicants should be enthusiastic and ambitious, with ideas about how to share the promise of fusion with the world. The deadline is 21 June. For more information, please visit this link.

Fusion materials tested at unique facility
15 May 2017
Scientists now have a better understanding of the factors leading to steel degradation and of the ways to improve the design and development of key components, such as the ITER breeding blankets—where tritium fuel will be produced from the interaction of fusion neutrons with lithium.

In a unique test facility at the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA) in Brasimone, candidate steels were exposed to liquid lithium in order to measure degradation (corrosion and/or erosion) over time.

Two types of reduced activation ferritic martensitic (RAFM) steels under consideration for fusion applications—EUROFER97 and F82H—were tested at ENEA's LiFus6, built for the IFMIF/EVEDA project (IFMIF will carry out testing and qualification of advanced materials under conditions similar to those of a future fusion power plant/EVEDA is advancing the engineering validation of key IFMIF components and systems).

IFMIF/EVEDA is developed jointly by Europe and Japan in the framework of the Broader Approach agreement, which covers fusion R&D activities that are complementary to ITER and the next-stage device DEMO.

Read more about the successful LiFus6 test campaign on the European Domestic Agency website.

Image: Celebrating at ENEA: IFMIF/EVEDA Project Committee members and representatives of contributing laboratories.

Useful downtime at Wendelstein 7-X
01 May 2017
Following an initial run at the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator that lasted from December 2015 to March 2016, a shutdown phase ensued to equip the machine for an operational campaign with longer discharges and higher heating power.

As part of tasks to prepare for the next phase, programmed to start this summer, technicians have installed or adapted 8,000 graphite tiles on the inner wall of the plasma vessel, replaced the limiter with a test divertor, and installed cooling structures such as pipes and shields.

Read about the complexity of these shutdown activities in the latest "Wendelstein 7-X Newsletter."

Image: courtesy of IPP Greifswald

Funding for MAST Upgrade enhancements
24 Apr 2017
Culham's new tokamak MAST Upgrade is to receive funding to tackle one of the hottest issues in fusion energy research—plasma exhaust.

EUROfusion, the European consortium for fusion R&D, has approved the first phase of its contribution to a £21-million program of enhancements to MAST Upgrade, which is only months away from its first operations. Funding for the enhancements, which will be phased from now to 2022, will come jointly from EUROfusion and the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

The controlled exhaust of power and particles from a very hot tokamak fusion plasma, through the divertor area of the machine, is arguably the biggest challenge facing a future fusion power plant. The extreme power loadings (>10 megawatts per square metre—higher than that on a spacecraft re-entering Earth's atmosphere) in a conventional divertor will require regular replacement of reactor components and adversely affect the economics and cost of electricity. It is no surprise, then, that divertor and exhaust physics is a major part of EUROfusion's reactor design work as part of their EU Roadmap to the Realisation of Fusion Energy.

See the original article at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) to find out more about the planned enhancements.

Light shed on mysterious plasma flows
10 Apr 2017
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and General Atomics have simulated a mysterious self-organized flow of the superhot plasma that fuels fusion reactions. The findings show that pumping more heat into the core of the plasma can drive instabilities that create plasma rotation inside the doughnut-shaped tokamak that houses the hot charged gas. This rotation may be used to improve the stability and performance of fusion devices.

The results, reported in January in the journal Physical Review Letters, use first principles-based plasma turbulence simulations of experiments performed on the DIII-D National Fusion Facility that General Atomics operates for the DOE in San Diego. The findings could lead to improved control of fusion reactions in ITER, the international experiment under construction in France to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion power.

Read the full article on the PPPL website.

Fusion in the energy system 2050+
10 Apr 2017
In order to master what's commonly refered to as "the energy transition," a diversity of energy sources need to be matched up in the energy system of the future — decentralized and centralized, weather-dependent and continuously operable units.

The technological and economic interactions of all system components (generation, storage, load and transport facilities) and their intelligent networking are being tackled by the Energy System Integration project, which the Helmholtz Association is funding with five million euros in the next three years in the context of their Initiative and Networking Fund. The partners involved, including Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) at Garching und Greifswald, are making further contributions.

The aim of the research project is to model the architecture for an environmentally compatible, efficient and stable energy system of the future.

Expected as new primary energy source in the second half of the century are fusion power plants, environmentally and climatically friendly facilities supplying about one gigawatt of electric power. The contribution of IPP will therefore be to work out the physical and technical properties of these devices — of either the tokamak or stellarator type.

Read more about the project on the IPP Garching website. (Photo: © EFDA)

Wanted: university grads from Europe
03 Apr 2017
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 for graduates in engineering, physics, law, human resources, finance and communication for four to nine months beginning 1 October 2017.

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-year university degree obtained within the last three years, and a 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 26 April 2017. Please find all information here.

Last piece in the MAST tokamak puzzle
22 Mar 2017
At the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in the UK, the central magnet of the new MAST upgrade tokamak was positioned in early March, bringing the project one step closer to the finishing line.

When completed, the MAST upgrade will mark a step-up in performance from the original device, with an increase in magnetic field from 0.52 tesla to 0.78 tesla and in pulse length from 0.5 seconds to 5 seconds. The centre column, completely re-manufactured, is part of the magnetic coil system of the device with the role of inducing current to begin to heat the plasma.

Commissioning should begin this year.

Read the full report on the Culham Centre's website.

Helios supercomputer: retired after 5 years of service
20 Mar 2017
For five years, it has been a resource for the plasma physics community. The Helios supercomputer has performed complex calculations for plasma physics and fusion technology, allowing users to draw comparisons between current fusion experiments and run predictive simulations for future devices like ITER.  

Helios has been in operation at the International Fusion Energy Research Centre (IFERC), hosted by the Japanese Atomic Energy Authority (JAEA) since late 2011. IFERC is one of the sub-projects of the Broader Approach agreement signed between Europe and Japan for advanced fusion R&D in complement to ITER.

After a very successful operational campaign, Helios was shut down earlier this year.

Read the full story on the European Domestic Agency website.

--The Helios Supercomputer at the Computational Simulation Centre in Japan (Source: JAEA)

No sleep during shutdown of JET tokamak
20 Mar 2017
The European tokamak JET is currently in an engineering shutdown phase. But shutdown doesn't mean inactivity—scientists are currently reviewing the 2015-2016 experimental campaign and preparing for the next scientific program, which will include tritium-tritium operation followed by full fusion power experiments using deuterium and tritium in 2019.

The JET remote handling team has taken advantage of shutdown to carry out a photographic survey of the vacuum vessel to inspect the condition of the wall, and to calibrate the detector that measures neutrons using the MASCOT remote handling system—a system allowing operators to undertake a wide range of tasks including welding, cutting, bolting, handling and inspection through a special manipulator that acts almost as the extension of an arm.

Read the full report on the website of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE).

A new filter for heavy hydrogen
14 Mar 2017
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, the University of Leipzig, Jacobs University Bremen, the University of Augsburg, and the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) are working collaboratively on a new technique for filtering the fusion fuel deuterium out of the natural isotopic mixture of hydrogen.

Deuterium is obtained from heavy water, which occurs in natural water at a concentration of just 15 parts per thousand. The heavy water is first isolated by a combination of chemical and physical methods, such as distillation, to obtain deuterium gas. The whole process is so intricate and energy-intensive that a gram of deuterium with a purity of 99.8 percent costs around $100, making hydrogen's heavy brother around three times more precious than gold, although deuterium is more than 300 times more abundant in the oceans and Earth's crust than gold.

A metal-organic framework compound presented by the group could make the process easier and less energy-intensive.

Read the full report from ORNL here.

Fusion summer school announced at IPP (Germany)
01 Mar 2017
Every summer, the Max-Planck-Institute for Plasma Physics in Garching near Munich, Germany, organizes a one-week summer school in plasma physics for undergraduates.

The course covers the main aspects of plasma physics with emphasis on nuclear fusion:
  • Energy consumption and selected aspects of the environmental impact of energy production
  • Basics of plasma physics and nuclear fusion
  • Kinetic and magneto-hydrodynamic description of a plasma
  • Concepts and experimental results of tokamak and stellarator configurations
  • Plasma heating and diagnostics
  • Plasma-wall interaction and materials research
  • Safety and environmental aspects of fusion
  • ITER and the next steps towards a reactor
  • Inertial fusion
  • Astrophysical plasmas
The lectures—held in English—are designed for physics and engineering students who have passed their bachelor (undergraduate) courses or Masters students who have not yet decided their PhD topic.
The next summer school will take place from 11 to 15 September 2017 at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Garching, Germany. Follow this link for more information.
Quench tank delivery video
20 Feb 2017
Some 4,500 components, large and small, will be shipped to ITER for integration into the ITER cryoplant, which is under construction now on the ITER platform.

Two of the largest were delivered in November 2016 by the European Domestic Agency: 35-metre quench tanks that will store gaseous helium in the case of a magnet quench.

The tanks are formed from an inner stainless steel container that will hold the gas and an outer carbon steel shell that will insulate the inner vessel and keep the temperatures low.

Manufacturered by Air Liquide subcontractor Chart Ferox (Czech Republic) according to ITER Organization and European Domestic Agency requirements, the tanks travelled at night in a long convoy along the ITER Itinerary from the Mediterranean port of Fos-sur-Mer to ITER.

See the full report here (including a 4'10" video).

A new code and its photographic by-product
20 Feb 2017
A physicist at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) is developing a code to calibrate camera views of fusion experiments.  

For the past two years, Scott Silburn has been leading the development of Calcam, a program for calibrating camera viewing geometry on fusion devices. The program allows the user to match up features seen in the camera images with those on a computer-aided design model from the drawing office at Culham. From this, the position, orientation, and lens properties of a camera system can be determined. This information can then be used to calculate exactly where the camera's lines-of-sight pass through the plasma, and also which locations on in-vessel components correspond to which positions in the image.

An example application of the code is improved positional calibration for JET's high-resolution divertor infrared cameras, which measure the heat loads at the strike points where the plasma interacts with the divertor tiles. The improved information has been used to improve the accuracy of some of the signals from the cameras, and makes it easier to compare the camera data against other diagnostic signals.

An agreable off-shoot of the technique is that it produces interesting images, as seen in the image above (photo credit: CCFE).

Read the original story here.

1st segments of the cryostat lower cylinder en route
13 Feb 2017
On 30 January, six large steel elements of the ITER cryostat left the port of Hazira, India for their one-month voyage to ITER.

These are the first segments of the cryostat lower cylinder (tier 1). On site at ITER, assembly activities (welding, testing) for the cryostat base have been underway since September 2016


Update available to 360° ITER site tour
13 Feb 2017
A lot has happened on the construction platform since the ITER 360° virtual tour was released to the website last year with an October data set.

The first ground-level walls of the Tokamak Complex are now visible from afar, the circular bioshield dominates in the centre, and two new buildingsone for radiofrequency heating and the other for cryogenicsare now completely framed out. Elsewhere on site, excavation and early foundation works are underway and the first activities to energize the 400 kV electrical switchyard have been carried out.

The best way to catch up on recent progress is to open the January 2017 update of the 360° virtual tour.

Click here or visit the homepage of the ITER website.

EUROfusion statement on Brexatom
07 Feb 2017
In a recent statement to parliament, the UK government confirmed that—as part of withdrawal from the European Union—the UK would also withdraw from the Euratom Treaty.

On 27 January EUROfusion, which manages European fusion research activities (including the exploitation of the JET tokamak) on behalf of Euratom, issued the following statement: 

Although the withdrawal from Euratom brings in uncertainty to the future of the Joint European Torus (JET), EUROfusion's flagship experiment located at the Culham Center of Fusion Energy (CCFE) in Oxfordshire, the UK government has indicated strong interest in continuing collaboration in nuclear research. "The UK is a world leader in nuclear research and development and there is no intention to reduce our ambition in this important area. The UK fully recognises the importance of international collaboration in nuclear research and development and we will ensure this continues by seeking alternative arrangements," the government said in the statement.

[...] Researchers, engineers and technicians working at JET come from all over Europe, and currently, JET operations receive funding of €69 million, 87.5 percent of which is provided by the European Commission and 12.5 percent by the UK. It is the only existing fusion device capable of operating with the deuterium-tritium fuel, which will be the fusion fuel of the future. And, experiments carried out at JET are important foundations to the fusion experiment ITER, which is currently being built in Cadarache, France. "Naturally, the European fusion community is extremely interested to see a continuation of the JET programme," says Prof. Donné, EUROfusion program manager.

Please see the full statement on the EUROfusion website.

9th ITER International School
06 Feb 2017
Aix-Marseille University and the ITER Organization are pleased to announce the 9th ITER International School which will be held in Aix-en-Provence, France, from 20-24 March 2017.

This school, held annually either near ITER or in one of the ITER Members, aims at preparing young researchers to tackle the challenges of magnetic fusion devices, and spreading the global knowledge required for a timely and competent exploitation of the ITER physics potential.

This year, the summer school will cover the physics of disruptions and controlone of the key issues for the ITER reactor and burning plasmas in general. Lectures and specialized seminars will cover current developments in theory and experiments, but are also intended to give the basics of the field. Poster sessions allowing participants to show their work are planned. The 2017 ITER school will be a good opportunity for reviewing the recent progresses in this field and promoting the interaction between different branches of plasma physics, computational physics and applied mathematics.

The course is open to PhD students and postdocs aiming to work in the field of magnetically confined fusion, as well as Master students in physics or engineering.

Registration ends on 7 March 2017. For more information, please visit the website.

Editor's note: The first ITER school was organized in July 2007 in Aix-en-Provence, France, and was focused on turbulent transport in fusion plasmas. Five different editions have followed, focused on different subjects: in 2008 in Fukuoka, Japan (magnetic confinement); in 2009 in Aix-en-Provence, France (plasma-surface interaction); in 2010 in Austin, Texas (Magneto-Hydro-Dynamics); in 2011 in Aix-en-Provence (energetic particles); in 2012 in Ahmedabad, India (radio-frequency heating), in 2014 in Aix-en-Provence (high performance computing in fusion science); and in 2016 in Hefei, China (transport and pedestal physics in tokamaks).

Looking for a high-alloy needle in the haystack
30 Jan 2017
Could high-entropy alloys—a combination of different metals in roughly equal concentration—turn out to be THE material for fusion reactors? That's the question materials physicists from the University of Helsinki (Finland) and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (US) are investigating.

The concept behind the creation of these alloys is ten years old and was first proposed by metallurgists. But based on work done at Oak Ridge, where these new hybrid metals were being tested under the influence of radiation, researchers in Finland began running experiments and simulations using different mixtures with nickel.

High-entropy alloys appear to be much more resistant to radiation than pure alloys. To date, the labs at Oak Ridge and the University of Helsinki have just combined two, three or four elements, whereas millions of possible combinations exist.

See the report on the EUROfusion website.

The Welding Institute visits ITER
23 Jan 2017
Specialists from The Welding Institute (TWI) in the United Kingdom visited ITER on 18 January to deliver a workshop to over 70 attendees from across the organization.

Overviews were given on different welding, joining and inspection techniques as well as the benefits and services available to ITER as corporate members of the TWI. Details of previous case studies carried out for both the ITER Organization and the European Domestic Agency were provided to demonstrate the large portfolio of services that can be called on.

During the open discussions there was particular interest from a number of ITER divisions in the potential use of ultrasonic inspection for both thin wall pipes and thick-section plates as an alternative to radiography; auditing of potential/in-contract suppliers; and third party manufacturing process review capabilities. Follow up meetings and initiatives on these and other subjects are anticipated to address the challenging, state of the art manufacturing processes required both at suppliers and on-site to enable the construction and assembly of ITER.

--Paul Edwards, ITER mechanical engineer/blanket manifolds

New member for the EUROfusion consortium
23 Jan 2017
The EUROfusion consortium welcomed its 30th member in January: Ukraine.

The Ukrainian signatory is the Kharkov Institute for Physics and Technology (KIPT), acting as coordinator for fusion research in seven national universities and research institutes. Fusion infrastructure in Ukraine includes two stellarators and two plasma accelerators, with particular expertise in the areas of plasma-facing components, materials, stellarator research and diagnostics.

The EUROfusion consortium coordinates work within the EUROfusion roadmap, which breaks down the path to the realization of fusion energy into specifically defined missions. Thirty research organizations and universities from 26 European countries plus Switzerland are now members; in addition about 100 Third Parties contribute to the research activities through the consortium members.

EUROfusion collaborates with the European Domestic Agency for ITER and intensively supports the ITER Organization.

Read the full story and find out more about EUROfusion and the European roadmap here.

New issue of ASDEX Upgrade newsletter
16 Jan 2017
The latest newsletter from the ASDEX Upgrade tokamak team in Germany reviews the improvements that were made in 2016 to the machine's in-vessel components and heating systems, discusses plans for the 2017 experimental campaign, and highlights the importance ASDEX operation to the achievement of Europe's Roadmap to the Realisation of Fusion Energy.

ASDEX Upgrade, in addition to contributing to the knowledge basis required to operate ITER, is focusing increasingly on issues relevent to DEMO, the next-step fusion device.

Read the December issue of the ASDEX Upgrade here.

ITER-like vertical stabilization system tested on EAST tokamak
16 Jan 2017
At the EAST tokamak in China, five Italian scientists recently joined their Chinese colleagues to participate in a week-long experiment aimed at testing a voltage-driven vertical stabilization system. The successful tests, carried out in the framework of a joint ASIPP-CREATE-ENEA collaboration, were a key step on the way to MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) control of advanced tokamak configurations, capable of decoupling shape control from vertical stabilization.

The new vertical stabilization system implemented and tested on EAST is identical to the one proposed for ITER, and these first tests show that it is compatible with the installation a new ITER-like multivariable shape controller for advanced configurations.

Read more on the ASIPP website.

Logistics provider DAHER to run new distribution centre
09 Jan 2017
In 2012 the ITER Organization retained the European company DAHER to provide global transport, logistic and insurance services for the transport of components from supplier factories to the ITER site.

Since that date, DAHER has worked with all ITER Members on their transport needs, including the transport of exceptionally sized loads. The company manages all ITER logistics operations from a control room established in Marignane, France, close to the international airport that services the Marseille region.

In November 2016, the ITER Organization strengthened its ongoing relationship with DAHER with the signature of a new framework contract for the establishment and management of a central distribution centre located at the arrival port for all components shipped by sea (Fos-sur-Mer, France).

A warehouse space of 12,000 m2 has been fully refitted for ITER component storage. The central distribution centre will allow DAHER to match the rhythm of component deliveries to ITER's assembly needs.

Read the DAHER press release here.

Supercomputer in Japan used for plasma edge simulation
09 Jan 2017
Precise conditions are necessary to achieve fusion reactions inside of a high-temperature plasma. In addition to raising the temperature and the density in the core region of the plasma, which is confined by strong magnetic field, it is also necessary to control the edge region to prevent particles from moving in the direction of the vessel wall. 

A precise understanding of this edge region of the plasma—and accurate predictions of its behaviour—is one of the important topics of fusion research around the world.

At the National Institute of Fusion Science (NIFS) in Japan, two researchers have succeeded in running a micro-level simulation of a plasma "blob" in the edge region by using their institute's Plasma Simulator supercomputer.

By marrying the supercomputer's computational capacity with a newly developed calculation program, they were able to calculate the movement of one billion particles. Their research results advance the understanding of the behaviour of the plasma edge and improve prediction accuracy.

See the full article on EurekAlert!/AAAS.


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.


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 37th annual 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.

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).

FOM to tame the flame
12 Dec 2016
The FOM Institute DIFFER, in the Netherlands, is starting a large research program to 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.

Basement 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 installed in the basement of the Tritium Plant, they will join six other tanks, 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.

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 interview that "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.

WEST in starting monoblocks
28 Nov 2016
After four years of non-stop work, the French tokamak Tore Supra has now become 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 embark on its scientific life focused on the preparation of ITER divertor operation.

Photo © Christophe Roux-CEA

More on this story in the November issue of the WEST Newsletter.


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 included rehearsing 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 the tritium-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.

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 awarded 80 million computer processor hours on the Titan Cray XK7, the most powerful supercomputer in the US for open science.

INCITE awards are given annually to projects that represent "the biggest challenges in science and engineering today, and can't be done anywhere else."

Investigators Seth 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.

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 materials for 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.


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

Rich Hawryluk will chair the editorial board of "Nuclear Fusion"
14 Nov 2016
Physicist Richard Hawryluk of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has been named chair 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.

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.

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.

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 of president of the EURATOM 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.

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).

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 different experiments underway.

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 advancing on the ITER Cryoplant Building, the cooling tower area, and the Magnet Power Conversion Building area.

Fusion Energy Conference opens in Kyoto
17 Oct 2016
The 26th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference kicked off today in Kyoto, Japan.

The biennial rendezvous for fusion researchers from over 40 countries, the conference aims to 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.

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

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 in Italy.

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.

Neutrons for DEMO
10 Oct 2016
A new 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).

Timelapse of coil manufacturing activities on site
10 Oct 2016
In the Poloidal Field Coil Winding Facility, on site at ITER, fabrication of 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 process here.

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's poloidal 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)


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.

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.

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 down from 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.

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 Tier 1 of the cryostat base have already begun on the ITER site.

A computing powerhouse turns on in Italy
19 Sep 2016
Marconi-Fusion, the new high performance computer for 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 unit ENEA along 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

Summer school: diagnostics for ITER and DEMO
19 Sep 2016
From 28 April to 4 May 2017, the Ettore Majorana Foundation in Erice, Sicily, will host the 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.

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 the conductor 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's six poloidal field coils, PF1 is the first to proceed to the impregnation stage of the fabrication process, which involves winding 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.

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 this link to the article.

Source: Technische Universiteit Delft.

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 to create and reinforce ties between people working on the ITER Project and neighbours from the surrounding villages. The 2016 edition of the ITER Games offered 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 and an afternoon of family activities.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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 materials to 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 took Air 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.

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

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 integration of 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

Huge elements of the cryostat due this week
20 Jun 2016
Three additional ITER cryostat segments have arrived in the port of Fos-sur-Mer after a one-month voyage from India.

The 60° segments make up half of Tier 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 delivery to 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.

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 facility to become a test platform open to all ITER partners. WEST stands for W (tungsten) Environment in Steady-state Tokamak. 

"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 as labs 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).

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.

Reference textbook on plasma physics re-edited
13 Jun 2016
The third edition of Introduction to Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion by author Francis F. Chen is now available from Springer (follow this link). In addition to updates in all chapters, the 2016 release includes new chapters on special plasmas and plasma applications.

A recent Chinese version of the 1973 edition of the book is also available here.

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 them on the EUROfusion website or download an infographic.

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.

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.

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 components before 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 Liquide Chairman 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.

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

Tokamak upgrade project: moving the MAST vessel
06 Jun 2016
In line with a 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).

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.

The Awards each consist of a USD 3,000 cash prize and a plaque. Any person, regardless of nationality or Society affiliation, is eligible for the award, 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 (m.nieto@ieee.org), 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 deadline for the 2016 Award is 15 June 2016.

For more detailed information on eligibility, basis for judging, nomination process and a list of past Award recipients, please visit IEEE_NPSS.org and go to the "Fusion Technology Awards" section.

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 the DOE report on US participation in ITER here.

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.

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.

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 better consortia 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.

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 audience on 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

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 ITER vacuum system.

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 for graduates 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-year university degree obtained within the last three years, and a 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.

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.

Liquid lithium to protect tokamak walls?
13 May 2016
--By John 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.

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

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 the PPPL website.

India delivers power supply components to testbed
09 May 2016
Another shipment of in-kind components from India has arrived at the PRIMA neutral beam test facility in Padua, Italy. At PRIMA, ITER's most powerful heating system—neutral beam injection—will be tested in advance of operation. 

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 dump in late 2014; this time, 13 trucks carried the components of the 100 kV power supply.

Read more about the lastest shipment here.

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.)


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 PSFC website.

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.

"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 address by 16 May 2016.

Find out more about the program here.

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 the National 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.

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.

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 contributions can be viewed on the WEST 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

An award for ITER security head
04 Apr 2016
At the first edition of the Security Meetings exhibition in Cannes, France, on 22-24 March 2016, ITER Head of Security, 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.

A view from industry
03 Apr 2016
Cooling 10,000 tons of superconducting magnets that will confine the energy-generating plasma is indispensable to 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 centralized cryogenic refrigeration system will be composed of helium (He) and nitrogen (N2) refrigeration units and dedicated storage, operating in a closed loop. Helium, at a temperature of close to the absolute zero (-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 cooling of the heat shield and to the pre-cooling of the helium refrigeration unit and the helium loops. The site's three helium units (LHe) will occupy 3,000 m2 of the 5,400 m2 set aside for the ITER cryogenic unit. LHe is composed of 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 provide a global cooling capacity of 75kW to 4.5K, which translates into 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 total capacity of 3,700 m3 (of which 3,300 m3 for the helium)—will help to optimize the recovery of fluids in the various operational phases of the tokamak.

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

Highly realistic ITER in Lego form
01 Apr 2016
For Lego enthusiasts the ITER Tokamak is an endless source of inspiration.  In June 2012, Newsline reported on 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.

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 the PPPL website.

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 with remarkable detail. 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.

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, as the tokamak's bottom plate was lowered into place in the machine area last week.

Positioning of the 11-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.

Seven-layered winding pack produced in Europe
20 Mar 2016
European Domestic Agency contractors have made significant progress in the fabrication 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).

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 the PPPL website.

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 for physics or technology innovations related to magnetic confinement fusion research that have a 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.

Cryoplant: inner tank passes leak test
11 Mar 2016
ITER will use extensive cryogenic technology to 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 of cryoplant components is now underway by 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.

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 ITER fusion 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 of the Ronald E. Hatcher "Science on Saturday" lecture series at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL).

Read the full report on the PPPL website.

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

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 Physics article, 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 the WEST tokamak.

Click here to read the whole article in Nature Physics.

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 Approach project.

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.

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

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 the Broader Approach Agreement.

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 already hosted 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?"

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 about ITER work packages, needs and tender procedures.

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

In 2015, a proposition to extend the ILO concept to the other ITER Members resulted in an invitation to Domestic Agency Heads to nominate 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, JAEA  and Yoshihiko Nunoya, Group leader of JAEA;s ITER Project Management Group and recently appointed Industrial Liaison Officer.





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 at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in 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.

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 valves that 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.

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 endorsement 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.

Downloadable ITER posters
08 Feb 2016
A new series of five downloadable posters is available 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!

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 China Fusion 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.

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 Association was 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.

Korean program news
04 Feb 2016
In the latest issue of NFRI News Korea's National Fusion Research Institute reports the latest KSTAR experimental campaign. Ten overseas research institutes and nine Korean institutes collaborated on this eighth campaign, which ended in December 2015. 

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

Read the January issue of NFRI News here.

Paint it black
01 Feb 2016
The MAST Upgrade vacuum 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.

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, and Sun 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.

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 journals Nuclear Fusion and AIP 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.

Kudowa Summer School
28 Jan 2016
The Kudowa Summer School "Towards Fusion Energy" takes place every two years in Kudowa Zdrój, Poland.

Organized by 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.

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 participants here.

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 conference website for more information or to register now.

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.

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!"

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 the European 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

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 the PPPL website.

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.

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.


2015 highlights from US ITER
22 Dec 2015
The 2015 roundup of news from the US ITER Project Office is now available online.

US ITER achieved a number of project "firsts" for delivery and fabrication over the last year. Deliveries to the ITER site included the first nuclear grade hardware (drain tanks) and the first highly exceptional load shipment to ITER (a 90-ton electrical transformer). The US also supplied the first plant components installed at the ITER site (a total of four transformers). On the fabrication side, US ITER shipped its first production toroidal field conductor to the coil manufacturer in Europe and has begun fabrication of the first central solenoid module.

Read all the news here.

News & views on fusion in Europe
22 Dec 2015
Fusion in Europe is a regular magazine on the progress of fusion research published by the EUROfusion consortium. In the December 2015 issue, the magazine takes a look at ongoing preparations for the deuterium-tritium campaign at JET, at the research planned on the upgraded spherical tokamaks MAST (UK) and NSTX (US), and at topical program news from fusion laboratories all over Europe.

Read the latest Fusion in Europe here.

An Advent calendar of fusion spinoffs
21 Dec 2015
For the close of the year, EUROfusion—the European Consortium for the Development of Fusion Energy—is highlighting 24 cutting-edge technologies that have either benefited from, or are the by-products of, fusion research.

Superconducting magnets, low-activation heat-resistant materials, high-tech filters, sophisticated computer codes ... work being carried out around the world on fusion science and technology is pushing known technologies to new levels or breaking new ground for the benefit of many other sectors and, ultimately, society at large.

Follow the Spinoff Advent Calendar on EUROfusion's website.

A new fusion collaboration for MIT
17 Dec 2015
Members of MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) community are cheering the start of a long-anticipated physics experiment at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Greifswald, Germany. Two teams of PSFC researchers are collaborating on the Wendelstein 7-X device, the world's largest fusion experiment designed in the stellarator line of magnetic confinement fusion devices.

The PSFC has significant experience with a different configuration of magnetic confinement, having spent decades designing and running the Alcator series of high-magnetic-field tokamak experiments — the Alcator C-Mod device, located on campus, is the latest in that series. There are many similarities between the two designs, however. 

Both the tokamak and the stellarator seek to harness the energy released from the fusion of hydrogen isotopes to provide clean and safe electrical power. Both use helical (spiraling) magnetic fields to contain the hot plasma fuel in a donut-shaped chamber. In a tokamak, this field is generated both by external electromagnets and a large electrical current that is driven in the plasma itself. Driving and sustaining this plasma current, and its impact on stability and transport of energy and particles, is a major focus of the research at MIT.

The stellarator concept takes a different approach. First invented by the noted astrophysicist and fusion pioneer Lyman Spitzer of Princeton University in 1950, the stellarator provides the entire helical field through external electromagnets formed in highly complex and twisted shapes. 

Future experiments at W7-X will address the role that plasma turbulence plays in limiting overall performance, and PSFC researchers are working with the W7-X group to investigate this. One PSFC team — principal research scientist Jim Terry and postdoctoral researcher Seung-Gyou Baek — will develop a fast camera system for viewing light emitted from the plasma, and will make important measurements of turbulence near the edge of the plasma. The other team — physics professor Miklos Porkolab and staff scientist Eric Edlund — will develop a specialized interferometer for imaging density fluctuations deep in the hot plasma core. The issues surrounding turbulence are important in stellarators, as they are in tokamaks, since turbulence moves heat and particles across the confining magnetic field faster than would otherwise occur. Both teams expect to have first measurements during the 2017 experimental campaign.

Read the original article on PSFC's website here.

New deliveries from Russia
14 Dec 2015
The Russian Domestic Agency for ITER reports that two shipments recently left factories in Saint Petersburg and Podolsk for the ITER Project.

The first shipment contains correction coil busbars—the components that connect magnet coils to their power sources—as well as flexible links for busbar interconnections. These components were transported by truck (pictured) from the Efremov Institute (NIIEFA) in Saint Petersburg directly to the ITER site. The fabrication and supply of switching equipment, busbars and energy-absorbing resistors for the power supply and the protection of the ITER superconducting magnetic system add up to the most expensive, and one of the most complicated, systems falling within the scope of in-kind procurement from Russia (25 systems in all). In accordance with the busbar Procurement Arrangement, NIIEFA will manufacture and ship approximately 5.4 km of busbars with a total weight exceeding 500 tons.

In the second shipment, four lengths of poloidal field superconductor (two unit lengths of 720 metres and two of 414 metres) were loaded onto trucks at the Cable Institute (JSC VNIIKP) in Podolsk for delivery to the European jacketing line at Criotec (Chivasso, Italy). The conductors are destined for the ITER poloidal field coil magnet system.

-- Alexander Petrov, ITER Russia

EUROfusion Tony Donné advocates prolonged use of JET
14 Dec 2015
On 4 December the Programme Manager of EUROfusion, Tony Donné, visited ITER and spoke to staff in the ITER auditorium.

EUROfusion is a consortium of 29 research organisations and universities from 26 European countries plus Switzerland that is collaborating to achieve Europe's Fusion Roadmap, which outlines the most efficient way to realize fusion electricity by 2050. ITER is the key facility on the road to fusion energy, and Professor Donné stressed in his talk that everything possible must be done to support ITER construction, optimize ITER operation and ensure minimal delay to the next-phase device, DEMO.

Professor Donné also advocated the extension of the European tokamak JET under an international regime in support of ITER. The prolonged use of JET as a risk-mitigation device for ITER and for the training of a generation of scientists, engineers and technicians for ITER could give the world fusion community access to deuterium-tritium plasmas approximately 10 years before ITER.

Read more about EUROfusion, Europe's Fusion Roadmap, and JET.

WEST milestone: divertor coil casings installed
07 Dec 2015
The aim of the WEST project is to turn the Tore Supra tokamak (France) into a test bed for ITER, with an actively cooled ITER-like tungstendivertor.

Component installation is underway. The latest WEST Newsletter (#11) reports on the most recent milestone: the installation of the divertor coil casings. Two stainless steel rings constituting the housing for the conductor windings are now assembled and positioned inside the vacuum vessel at their nominal position. The building of the coil winding can now begin.

(Photo Christophe Roux CEA-IRFM)

Read all the latest from WEST in Newsletter 11 here.

RACE is on for ITER remote handling work
04 Dec 2015
An 18-month development program to prototype remote handling tooling for the ITER fusion device was demonstrated on 26 and 27 October as part of collaboration between the European Domestic Agency for ITER and the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) in the UK.

Representatives from the ITER Organization, the European agency, Assystem UK, and AMEC Foster Wheeler were at Culham to see a fully remote deployment of prototype remote pipe cutting and welding tooling developed by Culham's RACE (Remote Applications in Challenging Environments).

Under a grant from the European Domestic Agency, RACE and CCFE's Engineering Implementation Department have produced a set of prototype tools intended for eventual use maintaining the neutral beam heating systems at ITER. Up to now, remote cutting and welding of process piping to the required codes, and under the challenging conditions of the ITER tokamak, had not been demonstrated, and is one of the higher risk areas across the ITER remote maintenance strategy.

ITER will rely on remote handling for maintenance operations where space and/or environmental conditions in the machine do not allow manual intervention. Interconnected components, pipes, cranes and tooling will all need to be routinely repaired and maintained with millimetric accuracy.

Read the full reports of the event on the European Domestic Agency and CCFE websites.

ITER Council names new Chair
30 Nov 2015
At its seventeenth meeting in November 2015, the ITER Council named ​Won Namkung, from Korea, to succeed Robert Iotti as Chair effective 1 January 2016.

Dr Namkung is a Professor Emeritus of Physics at Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) in southwest Korea and Executive Adviser at the Pohang Accelerator Laboratory.

In the course of his career, he contributed to the construction of KSTAR, Korea's first all-superconducting tokamak. He has also been involved in Korea's contribution to ITER, serving as the project's first Management Assessor.

Dr Namkung received his BS in Physics from Seoul National University and his PhD in Physics from University of Tennessee.

Robert Iotti, from the US, finishes his two-year term as Council Chair on 31 December 2015.

New mechanism for stabilizing tokamak plasmas
30 Nov 2015
--Raphael Rosen, PPPL
A team of physicists led by Stephen Jardin of the US Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has discovered a mechanism that prevents the electrical current flowing through fusion plasma from repeatedly peaking and crashing.
This behaviour, known as a "sawtooth cycle," can cause instabilities within the plasma's core.
The team, which included scientists from General Atomics (San Diego) and the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (Germany), performed calculations on the Edison computer at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, a division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Using M3D-C1, a program they developed that creates three-dimensional simulations of fusion plasmas, the team found that under certain conditions a helix-shaped whirlpool of plasma forms around the centre of the tokamak. The swirling plasma acts like a dynamo—a moving fluid that creates electric and magnetic fields.
Together these fields prevent the current flowing through plasma from peaking and crashing.
The researchers found two specific conditions under which the plasma behaves like a dynamo. First, the magnetic lines that circle the plasma must rotate exactly once, both the long way and the short way around the doughnut-shaped configuration, so an electron or ion following a magnetic field line would end up exactly where it began. Second, the pressure in the centre of the plasma must be significantly greater than at the edge, creating a gradient between the two sections. This gradient combines with the rotating magnetic field lines to create spinning rolls of plasma that swirl around the tokamak and gives rise to the dynamo that maintains equilibrium and produces stability.
Image: A cross-section of the virtual plasma showing where the magnetic field lines intersect the plane. The central section has field lines that rotate exactly once. (Credit: Stephen Jardin)
Read the full article at PPPL.
Capturing a spectacular operation
23 Nov 2015
One of the most spectacular operations ever performed on the ITER site was the lifting of the Assembly Hall roof structure during the night of 10 to 11 September 2015.

Hoisting the 700-ton structure to a height of 60 metres was a long and delicate operation monitored and controlled by computer.
This video, produced by the companies and organizations involved in the operation, captures the technical achievement as it unfolded.
Vacuum vessel sectors take shape in Italy
20 Nov 2015
The ITER vacuum vessel is composed of nine sectors, two of which are being procured by Korea and seven by Europe.

In Italy, production of a first sector has begun at the AMW consortium (Ansaldo - Mangiarotti - Walter Tosto).
Click here to watch a video of manufacturing progress at AMW.
Rob Goldston wins "Best Paper" award
20 Nov 2015
​The editorial board of the journal Nuclear Fusion has selected Rob Goldston, a fusion researcher and Princeton University professor of astrophysical sciences, as winner of the 2015 Nuclear Fusion Award. The award recognizes Goldston's paper describing a new model for estimating the width of the scrape-off layer — the hot plasma that is exhausted in fusion facilities called tokamaks — as the most outstanding paper published by the journal in 2012.

The journal will present the honor, which includes an engraved award, a certificate and $2,500, during the 2016 Fusion Energy Conference in Kyoto, Japan.

On receiving the reward Goldston said, "It is a great pleasure to win this scientific award for a paper written three years after I stepped down from my leadership post at PPPL. It is fun to be back in the fray working with top-quality scientists, helping to make sense of very important, and very carefully measured, data."

Read the full article on the PPPL website.

ITER releases new website
16 Nov 2015

ITER launched its new website this week! A techier look to go with our ultra-hi-tech mission. For all those friends who ask you over lunch: "How does magnetic confinement fusion work — really?" You now have a place to point them to. And don't miss the machine pages! If you find yourself swooning over a cryostat or a divertor in 3D, you're not alone ...
FuseNet PhD event: off to an enthusiastic start
16 Nov 2015
The ramp-up time for achieving a fusion reaction inside a tokamak machine varies, depending on a certain number of boundary conditions such as volume, temperature and density and, of course, the fuels injected.

In the auditorium of the Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering, at Prague's Czech Technical University, all the variables were in place on Sunday night—drink, food, room temperature and body density—and so it took less than two minutes after the official opening of this year's FuseNet PhD event before the room started to buzz and the volume tripled. The only thing missing to make the molecules fuse on the dance floor was the music, which soon set in very vibrantly in form of the Apples, a local female rock band.

With a record participation of 130 students, the fifth edition of the FuseNet PhD event is off to an enthusiastic start. Physicist Richard Pitts, from the ITER Organization, opened the scientific part of the program on Monday 16 November with an overview of the ITER Project, assuring those assembled in the auditorium that they were entering the discipline at exactly the right time. "You are at the golden age of fusion." 

The event, organized each year under the umbrella of the FuseNet association with the financial support of EUROfusion, brings together a large fraction of the PhD students in Europe that work in the fields of fusion science and engineering. Young researchers get the opportunity to share their ideas, learn from each other's experiences and develop a network of contacts.

"We are seeing some very high quality research," said Jean-Marie Noterdaeme from the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Garching and Head of the Advisory Board of the European Erasmus Mundus program.

Follow the three-day event through the dedicated FuseNet website.

-- Sabina Griffith
MIIFED - IBF 2016: registration has started!
16 Nov 2015
The Monaco ITER International Fusion Energy Days (MIIFED) and the ITER Business Forum (IBF) 2016 will take place in Monaco from 8 to 11 February 2016. It will be the sole event dedicated to industrial opportunities at ITER in 2016. Over three days, participants will have the opportunity to learn about progress achieved so far, the current status of ITER construction and manufacturing, and upcoming business opportunities. Through B2B and B2C meetings, the event will also facilitate networking between companies and the exploration of partnership opportunities in the context of the technological challenges of ITER. An industrial and R&D exhibition will also be staged. On 11 February, delegates will have the option to visit the ITER worksite as well as two industrial sites where ITER component manufacturing is in progress (Simic S.p.A and Cnim).

For the first time, this international event will combine an ITER Business Forum with the MIIFED international event. The rationale is 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 such as heating systems, diagnostics or remote handling systems.

Registration has started! Come and join us! This international conference offers an excellent opportunity for exchanging views and experiences and forming valuable international business relationships for the ITER program and beyond. From 8 to 11 February, we will bring you into contact with high-level decision makers, international industrialists, experienced researchers and ITER staff, giving you plenty of opportunity to meet reliable partners for your core business. Join us at MIIFED-IBF 2016 in Monaco, under the High Patronage of H.S.H. Prince Albert II.
Please register here.
The chancellor, the terrorists and the tokamak
16 Nov 2015
Former German chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who died on 10 November at age 96, played an essential but little-known role in the decision to site the large European tokamak JET in Culham, UK.

In the mid-1970s, the parties involved in the project were facing the difficult task of deciding where to build the ground-breaking machine. Four sites were volunteering: Culham in the UK; Garching in Germany; Cadarache in France and Ispra in Italy.
As neither Ispra, nor at the time Cadarache, hosted a fusion research infrastructure that could support the new project, the choice soon narrowed to Culham and Garching.
Political discussions to decide between the two had been dragging on for almost two years when, on 17 October 1977, the conclusion of a tragic event contributed to breaking the deadlock.
Five days earlier, terrorists had hijacked a Frankfurt-bound Lufthansa airliner to eventually land it in Mogadishu, Somalia. Eighty-six passengers were held hostage; one crew member had been killed.
The German chancellor decided to have the airliner stormed by special troops. The successful operation, with no passengers injured, was a political triumph for Schmidt. The German special troops had benefitted from key intelligence and special equipment from the British Special Air Service, who had sent observers to Mogadishu.
The following day, a meeting was scheduled in Bonn between Schmidt and the British Prime Minister James Callaghan. The atmosphere was one of relief and gratefulness. In an obliging gesture, Schmidt accepted to be more accommodating on the JET siting issue.
One week later, the European partners all agreed on building JET at Culham.
Testing the thermal tolerance of the fusion reactors of the future
09 Nov 2015
Nuclear  is an attractive option for creating , in principle using the same reactions found at the centre of stars to generate large quantities of power without carbon emissions.

But creating those conditions on Earth is difficult, and part of the problem is finding the correct materials to contain the fierce reactions.

The most common approach is to magnetically contain the high-energy particles, known as a plasma, in a tight circle running through the centre of a giant metal torus. This set-up is employed at the JET facility in Culham, just outside Oxford, as well as in the forthcoming ITER experiment in the south of France.

But even constrained by large magnetic fields, the plasma still subjects the walls of the vessel, likely to be made of tungsten, to extreme conditions.

Oxford University researchers, along with researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, have been carrying out experiments to investigate the effect of radiation on the properties of the material used in the walls and on the materials' thermal conductivity.

Read the full article on the PhysOrg website.

Adam Cohen succeeds Michael Knotek as Deputy Under Secretary for Science and Energy (US)
09 Nov 2015
After nearly seven years as deputy director for operations at the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), Adam Cohen has been named Deputy Under Secretary for Science and Energy in Washington D.C. He succeeds Michael Knotek, who retired 30 September.
"I am very excited and humbled by the opportunity to take on this role," Cohen said. "I look forward to working with Secretary [Ernest] Moniz, Under Secretary [Lynn] Orr and all within the department, as well as across the complex, in supporting the research mission of the department and helping to ensure the vitality of the national laboratories."
Cohen's contributions to the Laboratory have been invaluable, said A.J. Stewart Smith, Princeton University vice-president for PPPL. "He evolved the management structure that we all enjoy today," Smith said. "He has been a superb colleague and will be sorely missed."
At PPPL, which recently completed construction of the $94 million National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade, the Laboratory's major fusion experiment, Cohen has played many critical roles. As deputy director for operations, he was in charge of the upgrade and ran the indirect — or non-research — side of the Laboratory, whose departments range from engineering and infrastructure to information technology. He recently headed preparation of the Campus Plan, a 10-year program for modernizing the Laboratory whose first steps are under way, and set the Lab on its current path to a business system upgrade that will replace all financial software by 2018.
Cohen will make use of his fusion experience by heading the U.S. delegation to ITER, the international fusion experiment that is under construction in France. His contact with ITER will be at the international level; he will not be directly involved in the US ITER Project Office at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Read the full article on PPPL website.

New clip revisits installation of the on-site transformers
09 Nov 2015
A new video clip produced by the European Domestic Agency revisits the installation of first four on-site transformers.

A total power of 1200 MVA will be made available to the ITER installation through two networks—the pulsed power electrical network (PPEN) that services the AC/DC converters, the heating and current drive systems, and the system for reactive power compensation, and the steady state electrical network (SSEN) which will provide power to the cryogenic and cooling water systems, the tritium plant and general infrastructure.
Four of seven transformers have been installed on the ITER site.
Watch the clip on the European Domestic agency website.
A precious contribution to MIT's proposed tokamak
02 Nov 2015
​Mechanical Engineer Jeff Doody from MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) received a "Best Paper Award" on 9 October at the COMSOL Conference 2015. The paper, "Structural Analysis of the Advanced Divertor eXperiment's Proposed Vacuum Vessel," describes how Doody used COMSOL Multiphysics modeling software to predict loads and stresses on the vacuum vessel in the initial design for the Advanced Divertor eXperiment (ADX), a proposed high field, high-power-density fusion tokamak.

Collaborating with him at the PSFC were Chief Mechanical Engineer Rui Viera, Senior Research Scientist Brian LaBombard, Principal Research Scientist Bob Granetz, Mechanical Design and Fabrication Specialist Rick Leccacorvi, and Principal Research Engineer Jim Irby.

Photo: Mechanical Engineer Jeff Doody of MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center.

Read the whole article on the PSFC website.

Plasma heating puzzle comes together
02 Nov 2015
​The complex puzzle that makes up MAST Upgrade's main plasma heating system is well on the way to completion at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) in the UK.

The neutral beam injection system will provide most of the heating power for MAST Upgrade (around 5 megawatts). It works by firing fast-moving neutral particles into the plasma, where their motion is transferred into heat.

Recent work has focused on the system's bend magnets and ion dump assemblies. These components steer stray charged particles away from the heating beam and absorb their energy, which can be as much as 12 megawatts per square metre — much more than the loads on spacecraft re-entering the atmosphere.

The bend magnets were delivered to site during the summer and passed acceptance testing before undergoing a trial fit in the neutral beam injection tanks to check their alignment. Meanwhile, the build of the welded ion dump assemblies has proceeded well throughout the year.

By the end of 2015, the pre-assembly of these components will be complete, leaving them ready for installation into the tanks. The re-build of the neutral beam injection system will take place in 2016.

Read the original article on CCFE's website.

Installation of lower divertor coil box brings Tore Supra closer to ITER
29 Oct 2015
Operation since 1988, the CEA-Euratom tokamak Tore Supra (France) is undergoing a major transformation in order to serve as a test bench for ITER—the WEST project.
Equipped with a new, actively-cooled tungsten divertor, WEST will test tungsten technology, acquire data on metal fatigue, and explore the component boundary conditions in advance of ITER.
As early as 2016 the machine will be ready to test the first samples of plasma-facing units—an arrangement of small tungsten blocks that, once assembled, will form the new divertor.
The recent installation of the lower divertor coil box marked an important step in this direction. © Christophe Roux CEA-IRFM
Visit the WEST website here.
American Physical Society elects new Fellow
26 Oct 2015
In recognition of his outstanding contributions in physics, Professor Dr Thomas Sunn Pedersen from the Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics, IPP, has been elected Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS).

With this distinction his colleagues in the Plasma Physics Section of APS are honouring in particular "his seminal studies of pure electron plasmas in a stellarators," according to the Fellowship Certificate, and for "active stabilization of resistive wall modes"—a special kind of plasma instability in a tokamak.

The objective of the American Physical Society is to extend physical knowledge, support physicists worldwide, and promote international cooperation. The venerable society, based in Maryland, US, was established in 1899 and has a present membership of 40,000. No more than half a percent of the members may be elected Fellow.
Read the full report on the IPP website.
A new director for the European Domestic Agency
22 Oct 2015
​The European Domestic Agency for ITER, Fusion for Energy, announced on 21 October that Johannes Schwemmer, from Germany, has been appointed as its new Executive Director.

Fusion for Energy is the European Union's Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy. The organization was created under the Euratom Treaty by a decision of the Council of the European Union in order to provide Europe's contribution to ITER, to support fusion research and development initiatives through the Broader Approach (signed with Japan), and to contribute down the road to the construction of demonstration fusion reactors.

Johannes Schwemmer was selected by the Fusion for Energy Governing Board from a list of candidates proposed by the European Commission after an open competition, following a publication in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

Read the full announcement on the European Domestic Agency's website.

Korea celebrates ten years of fusion research at NFRI
19 Oct 2015
Korea's National Fusion Research Institute (NFRI) celebrated its tenth anniversary on 1 October in the presence of distinguished guests Chairman Sangchun Lee of the National Research Council of Science and Technology and Deputy Minister Jaemun Park of the Ministry of Science ICT and Future Planning (MSIP).

Since NFRI's inception in 2005, the institute has successfully brought the KSTAR tokamak to the level of a world-class superconducting fusion device (2007), celebrated its first plasma (2008) and surpassed the 10,000th plasma experiment mark (2014), testifying to the stability of the device. KSTAR is now playing an important role by running experiments in support of ITER.

During the ceremony, participants from industry, academia and national research institutes reflected on the 20-year effort in Korea toward the development of fusion energy. Awards of recognition were granted to distinguished contributors and a certification plaque was awarded to KSTAR, selected as one of the Top 70 scientific and technological achievements in the country.
"With the passion and confidence that has brought us so far during the past decade," said NFRI Director-General Keeman Kim, "we will continue to strive forward to bring Korea to the top when it comes to fusion energy commercialization."
Russian TV explores ITER complexity
19 Oct 2015
A 14-minute documentary on ITER aired on Russia's TV Channel 24 on Saturday 17 October.

The documentary brings the viewer into the heart of ITER construction for an update of work underway on the lower levels of the Tokamak Complex, future home to the 23,000-ton ITER machine. The team of journalists also travels to the European winding facility in La Spezia, Italy (ASG Superconductors) to investigate the complexities of ITER engineering and manufacturing.
At La Spezia, Russian-produced niobium-tin superconductor is integrated through a complex series of steps into ITER's giant toroidal field magnets.
Watch "Horizons of the atom" here (in Russian).
Princeton Lab honours engineer Neumeyer and physicist Maingi
15 Oct 2015
​PPPL presented its 2015 outstanding research awards to engineer Charles Neumeyer and physicist Rajesh Maingi on 5 October.

Neumeyer received the Kaul Foundation Prize for "the design analysis and overall management of the US contributions to the steady state electric network that will supply power to ITER. This culminated in the successful delivery of the first major plant components to ITER, establishing procedures for all future shipments of ITER components."

This accomplishment was made possible in part by the strong and trusting relationship that was established years ago between Neumeyer and the present members of the ITER "electricians".

"In this long venture, the human dimension was essential", says Joël Hourtoule, ITER Electrical Power Distribution section leader.

Maingi received the Distinguished Research Fellow award for "seminal research and program leadership in tokamak boundary and divertor physics."

Read more on the PPPL website.
Demonstration of high conductor performance in Japan
12 Oct 2015
​In a press release issued on 6 October, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) announced the successful testing of the ITER central solenoid conductor under conditions comparable to ITER operation.

The tests, which were carried out at a JAEA test facility in Naka, Japan, by an international team, measured the performance of the central solenoid conductor under the same magnetic field and strain that it will face in the ITER machine. Results showed high performance.

According to Procurement Arrangements signed with the ITER Organization, the central solenoid will be wound in the US from niobium-tin conductor produced in Japan.

The positive test results are a significant milestone on the road to producing the 1,000-metric-ton electromagnet that will allow a powerful current to be induced in the ITER plasma and maintained during long plasma pulses.

The JAEA press release is available here (in Japanese).

Europe reports on a year of progress for ITER
12 Oct 2015
​The European Domestic Agency for ITER has published a highlights document that retraces one year of activity and progress. Contract signatures, industrial achievements, events, construction milestones and fusion R&D activities are gathered in an illustrated 50-page brochure that is downloadable here.

Visit the European Domestic Agency website for more information.

"Is nuclear fusion about to change our world?" asks CNN
09 Oct 2015
Imagine a world powered by a cheap, safe, clean, virtually limitless, sustainable fuel source such as water. If fuel and energy are cheap and available to all nations, that reduces global political tensions. If our energy comes from a clean-burning fuel source, that reduces air pollution. All that would be good, right?

Billionaires such as Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen apparently think so.
They've each thrown their money into a different fusion development company, each with its own idea how to solve the fusion puzzle, according to Forbes.
"What we're really doing here is trying to build a star on Earth," said Laban Coblentz at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), a massive fusion reactor being built by 35 countries in southern France.
When Coblentz said "star," he meant that quite literally. Fusion is what keeps stars, including our own sun, burning bright.
Photo: "When we succeed, it will be for the benefit of the whole world," says ITER Engineer Anna Encheva in the CNN program.
Follow this link to the CNN program.
China and Korea work together for the future of fusion
08 Oct 2015
The 3rd Joint Coordination Meeting (JCM-3) in fusion R&D and related areas took place between China and Korea in Xi'an, China from 13 to 14 August.

Gathering government officials, scientists and engineers from national research institutes, industries participating in ITER and the Chinese and Korean Domestic Agencies, the meeting was hosted by the Department of International Cooperation of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology MOST and ITER China, with support from Western Superconducting Technologies—a supplier of ITER China located in Xián.
At the meeting, the current status of the Chinese and Korean fusion programs was passed in review as well as reports from bilateral working groups on the collaborative activities of the previous year. In 2014, China and Korea collaborated in the areas of tungsten wall/divertor and plasma-wall interaction; DEMO reactor design; lower hybrid current drive (LHCD) physics and technology; and ITER procurements including blanket shield blocks, AC/DC convertors and Test Blanket Modules.
The next bilateral meeting will take place in August 2016 in Korea.
Public gets rare glimpse of General Atomics' giant magnets
05 Oct 2015
​General Atomics (San Diego) opened a facility making the world's largest magnets for rare public tours on 2 October in honour of the nationwide Manufacturing Day in the US.

The factory in Poway, California, is making seven giant magnet modules, each weighing approximately 110 metric tons, for the $20 billion International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, or ITER, being built in France.

Each magnet is made of 560 turns of superconducting cables made from stands of a rare niobium-tin alloy wound around a tube that will carry liquid helium. In operation, the magnets will be cooled to -269°C while 50,000 amps of power are applied.
Their role in the ITER Project is to contain a fusion reaction — literally trapping the sun in a bottle.
Photo by Chris Jennewein

Read the full article in the Times of San Diego.

Russia ships last batch of toroidal field conductor
02 Oct 2015
​On 28 September, the last lengths of Russian-procured conductor for ITER's toroidal field magnets were loaded onto trailers at the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow for shipment to the European winding facility in La Spezia, Italy.

Through a Procurement Arrangement signed in February 2008 with the ITER Organization, the Russian Domestic Agency took on the responsibility of procuring 20 percent of toroidal field conductor lengths (28 lengths, including two dummies), plus testing and transport to the European winding facility.

The building blocks of the ITER magnets are high-performance, internally cooled superconductors called CICC (cable-in-conduit) conductors, made up of bundled superconducting and copper strands that are cabled together and contained in a structural steel jacket. For the toroidal field magnets, the completed conductor will be wound into D-shaped "double pancakes," inserted into the grooves of a radial plate to hold it in place, stacked to form winding "packs," and finally contained in steel cases to form the completed coil.

The shipment of three final lengths procured in Russia (pictured) completes Russia's longest-lead procurement campaign for ITER.

-- Alex Petrov, ITER Russia
In close contact about intellectual property
28 Sep 2015
On 17-18 September, the ITER Organization hosted the annual meeting on intellectual property issues that brings together contact persons and specialists from the ITER Central Team and the seven Domestic Agencies

Chaired by the ITER Organization Legal Adviser, the Intellectual Property Contact Persons meeting is the forum for discussions on intellectual property-related issues encountered with suppliers, legal issues related to non-disclosure agreements, the use of the ITER logo, and the utilization of the intellectual property database.

The fundamental principles of intellectual property management within the ITER Project are set out in Article 10 of the ITER Agreement: The ITER Organization and the Members shall support the widest appropriate dissemination of information and intellectual property they generate in the ITER Project. The ITER Members benefit from accessing the intellectual property that results from the project through intellectual property provisions included in each contract, in compliance with the ITER Agreement and fully detailed in its annex on information and intellectual property (IIP Annex).

The network of Central Team-Domestic Agency contact persons plays a significant role in the implementation of intellectual property provisions in the framework of the project, confirming progress, sharing best practice, and furthering the management of intellectual property issues.

-- Akiko Takano, Legal Affairs 

Nuclear fusion could work — but only if we cough up some money
21 Sep 2015
By Steven Cowley

Chief Executive Officer of the UKAEA
Head of the EURATOM/CCFE Fusion Association

This December, world leaders will gather in Paris for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, where they will attempt — yet again — to hammer out a global agreement to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Despite the inevitable sense of déjà vu that will arise as negotiators struggle to reach a compromise, they must not give up. Whatever the political or economic considerations, the fact remains: if global temperatures rise more than 2˚C from pre-industrial levels, the consequences for the planet will be catastrophic.

But the challenge does not end with reducing emissions. Indeed, even if we make the transition to a cleaner world by 2050, we will need to determine how to meet a booming global population's insatiable appetite for energy in the longer term — an imperative that renewables alone cannot meet. That is why we need to invest now in other technologies that can complement renewables, and provide reliable electricity for many centuries to come. And one of the most promising options is nuclear fusion — the process that powers the sun and all stars.

(Photo Elle Starkman/PPPL)

Read the full article on the WorldFinance website.

Assembly phase activities progress at ITER satellite
02 Sep 2015
T​he Satellite Tokamak Program, JT-60SA, is a major modification of the existing JT-60U tokamak at the Naka Fusion Institute in Japan. Part of the Broader Approach Agreement signed between Japan and Euratom (and implemented by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and the European Domestic Agency for ITER), it is designed to support the operation of ITER and to investigate how best to optimize the design and operation of fusion power plants built after ITER.

Recent progress has been reported in the fabrication of equilibrium field coils and the vacuum vessel thermal shield, as well as the procurement of the quench detection system.

Read more in the August issue of the JT-60SA Newsletter or on the European Domestic Agency website.

Mega-science projects are the focus of training program in China
02 Sep 2015
​To encourage the participation of Chinese professionals in international organizations and international mega-science projects such as ITER, a week-long training program was held at Zhejiang University, Hangzhou from 16 to 21 August.

Cao Jianlin, Vice Minister of the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and head of the Chinese delegation to the ITER Council participated, along with other 13 distinguished scholars, high-level officials from international organizations, representatives of government, and the heads of the Chinese and Korean Domestic Agencies for ITER.
Through expert lectures, case studies and seminars, participants were updated on progress in research and technology at home as well as the status of international mega-projects in science and participation opportunities.
Video record of first European component delivery
02 Sep 2015
The European Domestic Agency has produced a five-minute video on the delivery of its first manufactured components to the ITER site in southern France—six drain tanks for the ITER Tritium Plant. 
Click here to watch.

Proyecto Huemul: from fusion fraud to physics fortune
31 Aug 2015
It was arguably the scientific fraud of the century, but a hugely expensive failed project to create energy from nuclear fusion laid the foundation for Argentina's success in physic.

The ruins are ghostly, silent. The crumbling buildings and labs — hidden on an island that's drowning in a dense, green forest — look as if they are an abandoned villain's lair from an early James Bond movie. And in a way, they are a villain's making — they're all that remains of a top-secret project, 'Proyecto Huemul', which turned out to be one of the biggest and most expensive frauds in scientific history — and ironically also became the foundation of a scientific success story.

Tiny Isle Huemul, with an area of just two square kilometres, is covered in alerce trees; it resembles the head of a giant crocodile taking a snooze on a sunny August afternoon, poking out of the mesmerising deep blue waters of Lake Nahuel Huapi in Patagonia, amid the snow-capped mountains of the Argentinian Andes.
Read the whole article on Engineering and Technology Magazine website.
Also in Newsline # 196
ITER International School in December
31 Aug 2015
​The ITER International School (IIS) is an annual event jointly organized by the French Aix-Marseille University and the ITER Organization. The 2015 edition will take place from 14 to 18 December at the University of Science and Technology (USTC) in Hefei, China, hosted by USTC and the Academy of Sciences Institute of Plasma Physics, ASIPP.

The primary objective of the IIS is to provide a regular forum for conducting a post-graduate training school in the area of fusion science for young researchers with a view to attracting them to participate in the scientific exploitation of ITER. The IIS will present the current and future scientific and technical challenges facing fusion science. The academic program of the IIS will be focused on a chosen scientific theme relevant to ITER and which may change from year to year.

The theme chosen for 2015 is: Transport and pedestal physics in tokamaks
Previous editions have taken place in Aix-en-Provence, France; Gandhinagar, India; and Austin, TX, USA. For more on the ITER International School, or to enroll, please visit the IIS 2015 website.

FuseNet PhD event in November
24 Aug 2015
​Registration is open through 1 October 2015 for the fifth FuseNet PhD event, which will take in Prague, Czech Republic from 15 to 18 November.

The aim of the event is to enable students to disseminate their research, develop a network of contacts and learn from each other's experiences.

Organized by the Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering of the Czech Technical University under the umbrella of the FuseNet Association and with financial support by EUROfusion, the PhD Event 2015 brings together PhD students working in the field of fusion science and engineering.

The PhD Event is open to all PhD students whose topic is associated with nuclear fusion research and registered at a European university, or at a FuseNet member university. Financial support for attending students is available, granted by EUROfusion through FuseNet, at the FuseNet website. More details will be posted on the registration form.

Registration is open online through 1 October 2015.
Europe concludes last Procurement Arrangement for remote handling
24 Aug 2015
​The European Domestic Agency for ITER is responsible for delivering four remote handling systems to ITER: the divertor remote handling system, the neutral beam remote handling system, the in-vessel viewing and metrology system, and the cask transfer system for activated components—in all, about EUR 250 million of investment.

In July, the European agency announced that it had signed the fourth and final Procurement Arrangement for remote handling systems with the ITER Organization—the Cask and Plug Remote Handling System. Responsible for confining and transporting the machine's activated in-vessel components, this complex system will interface with more than 50 different ITER systems and comply with the strictest nuclear safety requirements.

The casks, which are automated, mobile containers weighing approximately 50 tons, will move equipment such as divertor cassettes and heating plugs between the Tokamak Building and the Hot Cell Building in order for them to be repaired, tested or disposed of. These transfer devices will need to be able to lift components weighing up to 45 tons and operate with high accuracy within a tightly confined space within the buildings.

The procurement contract for a fleet of 14 units is expected to be awarded in 2016.

Read the full article on the European Domestic Agency website.

ITER hosts Project Management Conference
28 Jul 2015
​"Fusing the Project World" is the title of a Project Management Conference organized by "eVa in the UK" in collaboration with the ITER Organization. The event will take place at the ITER Headquarters on 4 September 2015.

This one-day conference offers first-hand opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences with world leading project managers. The list of speakers lined up includes CERN's leading engineer Roberto Saban, Didi Hopkins from the National Theatre of Great Britain and Harvey Maylor from the Said Business School. The fusion part of the conference will be covered by ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot and Steven Cowley, the CEO of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority. For more information please click here.
10th Asia Plasma & Fusion Association Conference
22 Jul 2015
​The 10th Asia Plasma & Fusion Association Conference (APFA) will be held in Gandhinagar, India from 14 to 18 December 2015.

The purpose of the APFA is to organize Asian scientists and engineers working in plasma and fusion science and engineering fields, to exchange information on mutual interests, to strengthen friendships, to promote education of young scientists and engineers, and to contribute to the development of plasma science and fusion engineering.

Abstract submission closes on 1 August. For more information, visit the APFA website.

Chuck Kessel (PPPL) wins the 2015 Fusion Technology award
13 Jul 2015
​Chuck Kessel, a principal engineer at the US Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), has won the 2015 Fusion Technology Award. The honour, from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society, recognizes outstanding contributions to fusion engineering and technology.

"Chuck has long been a widely recognized pioneer in developing advanced tokamak operating scenarios that have served as the basis for several machine design concepts," said Michael Williams, associate director for engineering and infrastructure at PPPL and a past recipient of the honour. "Receiving the 2015 Fusion Technology Award duly recognizes Chuck's outstanding contributions to the development of fusion technology."

Presentation of the award came during the 2015 Symposium on Fusion Engineering (SOFE) that was held in June in Austin, Texas. The annual event focuses on the latest developments in the quest for fusion energy. While at the conference Kessel gave a plenary talk about the Fusion Nuclear Science Facility (FNSF), a proposed next step in the US fusion program. Kessel heads a nationwide study that will detail options for the FNSF and consider its role in relation to ITER.

(Photo by Elle Starkman/ PPPL Office of Communications)

Read the whole article on the PPPL website.

Summer school on plasma diagnostics in Poland
11 Jul 2015
The first edition of the new Summer School "PhDiaFusion" for students and postdocs was successfully realized last week (16-20 June 2015) in Poland.

 The aim of this initiative (cooperation between CEA Cadarache, Institute of Nuclear Physics PAN and Rzeszow Technical University in Poland) is to establish a thematic school, i.e. Summer School of Plasma Diagnostics, with a strictly defined topic: the first edition was devoted to 'Soft X-ray diagnostics for Fusion Plasma'.

 The choice of the School's venue, in the south-eastern part of Poland, was not accidental. In this region the 'green field' for DONES is proposed under the auspices of local government and Consortium IFMIF/ELAMAT. This region has a heavy concentration of aerospace industry, scientific research centers, as well as educational and training facilities.

 The next edition of the School in 2017 will be devoted to neutron and gamma for fusion plasma diagnostics. Book your time in the summer of 2017 for PhDiaFusion !

 Photo: Chairman of the School Didier Mazon (CEA) has invited the eminent scientists who led lectures and tutorials for young students. Among them they were: Luigi Alloca, Robin Barnsley, Dimitri Batani, Andreas Dinklage, Tony Donne, Christian Ingesson, Hans-Joachim Kunze, Martin O'Mullane, Jef Ongena, Marek Rubel, Marek Sadowski, Jan Stockel and Tom Todd.
Russian suppliers pass ITER quality audit
11 Jul 2015
​For one week at the end of June, a representative of the ITER quality assurance team inspected a number of Russian industries for compliance with the quality system requirements of the ITER Organization.

These companies are producing hardware in the framework of Russia's commitments to ITER's in-kind procurement program, which distributes the manufacturing of ITER components and systems among the seven ITER Members.

The industries inspected—the Dollezhal Institute (Moscow), the Efremov Institute (St. Petersburg), JSC Energopul (Moscow), Fusion Centre (Moscow), and CJSC RTSoft (Moscow)—are responsible for the development and procurement of switching networks and fast distribution units, DC busbars and instrumentation; the blanket first wall; the electron cyclotron radio frequency gyrotrons; blanket module connections; and diagnostic systems and port plug integration. The Russian Domestic Agency was also inspected for its compliance to quality systems requirements.

The final report highlighted compliance with ITER Organization requirements and identified a number of "good practices" at the industries inspected. 

Alexander Petrov, ITER Russia 

European Domestic Agency for ITER seeks interns
06 Jul 2015
​Do you want to gain professional experience and contribute to the work of the European agency for ITER, Fusion for Energy? Are you curious about the ITER Project and what it's like to work in an international environment? A Fusion for Energy (F4E) traineeship could be the perfect opportunity for you!

F4E´s traineeships program aims to promote awareness, knowledge and understanding of F4E's role in the ITER Project and within the European context, as well as to provide training to university graduates in the fusion field. The traineeship is paid and lasts from four to nine months with F4E in any of the three sites: Barcelona (Spain), ITER site (France), or Garching (Germany), starting on either 1 March or 1 October.

Click here for a list of opportunities.

Overcoming the "mysterious barrier"
06 Jul 2015
​Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have developed a detailed model of the source of a puzzling limitation on fusion reactions. The findings, published in June in Physics of Plasmas, complete and confirm previous PPPL research and could lead to steps to overcome the barrier if the model proves consistent with experimental data. "We used to have correlation," said physicist David Gates, first author of the paper. "Now we believe we have causation." This work was supported by the DOE Office of Science.

At issue is a problem known as the "density limit" that keeps donut-shaped fusion facilities called tokamaks from operating at peak efficiency. This limit occurs when the superhot, charged plasma gas that fuels fusion reactions reaches a certain density and spirals apart in a flash of light, shutting down the reaction. Overcoming the limit could facilitate the development of fusion as a safe, clean and abundant source of energy for generating electricity.

Read the full article on the PPPL website.

Image: Magnetic island geometry showing the asymmetry effect that is crucial in determining the mechanism for the density limit. Reprinted with permission from Phys. Plasmas 22, 022514 (2015). Copyright 2015 AIP Publishing LLC.

FuseCOM team meets in Finland
06 Jul 2015
In June, a group of Communications Officers from fusion laboratories across Europe met in Finland for two days of exchange.

Representing the 29 research organizations and universities from 26 European countries plus Switzerland, the communicators from FuseCOM met for the first time on behalf of the newly built EUROfusion consortium to discuss European fusion communication.
EUROfusion, the European Consortium for the Development of Fusion Energy, manages and funds European fusion research activities on behalf of Euratom, in accordance with the Roadmap to the realisation of fusion energy, which outlines the most efficient way to realize fusion electricity by 2050. It is the result of an analysis of the European Fusion Programme undertaken in 2012 by the Research laboratories within EUROfusion's predecessor agreement, the European Fusion Development Agreement, EFDA.
The FuseCOM members met in Finland, where they were hosted by Finland's Research Unit VTT. Through presentations and working groups, participants shared news from the research units across Europe, practical examples of communication work, and strategies for the future. Meeting organizer and head of EUROfusion's Communications Office, Petra Nieckchen, commented: "We have established a trusting network that is the very basis needed to reach our long-term goal: creating, with the network, a coherent European voice for fusion."
Learn more about FuseCOM here.
"Festival de Théorie" begins in Aix-en-Provence, France
03 Jul 2015
The 8th edition of the Festival de Théorie opens on Monday 6 July in Aix-en-Provence, France.

Held every two years, the Festival organizes theory working groups on well-focused subjects in magnetized plasma physics and aims to foster interdisciplinary links between magnetic fusion, astrophysics, plasma physics and related fields.

The international meetings usually bring together 25 to 35 experts and about 80 younger researchers, including PhD students and post-docs. The Director Committee for this year's edition is chaired by ITER Organization Director-General Bernard Bigot. The scientific committee is chaired by Prof. P.H. Diamond (UCSD and NFRI) and co-chaired by Dr. X. Garbet (CEA).

The 2015 Festival de Théorie will run from 6 to 24 July 2015. The main topic is "Pathways to Relaxation." This includes — but is not limited to — reconnection events such as solar flares and general impulsive relaxation in astrophysics, sawteeth, Edge Localized Modes and edge relaxation phenomena in confined plasmas, Taylor relaxation, Potential Vorticity mixing dynamics and homogenization in fluids, and general aspects of constrained relaxation.

More information at the conference website 

X marks the spot
29 Jun 2015
​Rotation is key to the performance of salad spinners, toy tops, and centrifuges, but recent research suggests a way to harness rotation for the future of mankind's energy supply. In papers published in Physics of Plasmas in May and Physical Review Letters this month, Timothy Stoltzfus-Dueck, a physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), demonstrated a novel method that scientists can use to manipulate the intrinsic — or self-generated — rotation of hot, charged plasma gas within fusion facilities called tokamaks. 

Such a method could prove important for future facilities like ITER, the huge international tokamak under construction in France that will demonstrate the feasibility of fusion as a source of energy for generating electricity. ITER's massive size will make it difficult for the facility to provide sufficient rotation through external means.

Rotation is essential to the performance of all tokamaks. Rotation can stabilize instabilities in plasma, and sheared rotation — the difference in velocities between two bands of rotating plasma — can suppress plasma turbulence, making it possible to maintain the gas's high temperature with less power and reduced operating costs.

Today's tokamaks produce rotation mainly by heating the plasma with neutral beams, which cause it to spin. In intrinsic rotation, however, rotating particles that leak from the edge of the plasma accelerate the plasma in the opposite direction, just as the expulsion of propellant drives a rocket forward.

On the Tokamak à Configuration Variable (TCV) in Lausanne, Switzerland, Stoltzfus-Dueck and the TCV team influenced intrinsic rotation by moving the so-called X-point — the dividing point between magnetically confined plasma and plasma that has leaked from confinement. 

Read the full article on the PPPL website.

(Images obtained on the TCV tokamak.)

JET's next tritium experiments materialize
29 Jun 2015
​Since 2011, JET has been using beryllium and tungsten as plasma-facing materials in the vessel. As the name suggests JET's ITER-like wall is constructed using the same materials that will be used in ITER, the next generation fusion experiment which is currently being built in France.

So far, experiments with the new wall have been fuelled by hydrogen and deuterium. Since the most economic fuel for future fusion power plants is a mix of deuterium and tritium, this mixture needs to be put to the test.

As part of the preparations for this extraordinary event, the first delivery of tritium has arrived at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE), the home of JET. Tim Jones, project sponsor from CCFE explains: 'For licensing reasons, only a limited amount of tritium may be transferred over the JET tritium storage facility in an individual batch quantity. Additional batches will later be delivered in order to collect together a total amount of 55 grams that will be needed for the scheduled campaign."

Dedicated sets of experiments using deuterium and tritium are necessary to promote understanding of the influence of the fuel isotope on plasma performance and on interactions between the plasma and the new wall.

Similar experiments to those planned with tritium are being prepared with hydrogen and deuterium, so far the results show that ITER operating regimes are compatible with the new wall materials.


Read the full article on the EUROfusion website.

June issue of F4E News
29 Jun 2015
​A round-up of the latest news articles, videos and images from the European Domestic Agency for ITER can be found in the June edition of the F4E News, accessible by clicking on this link.

Hot forming the vacuum vessel
29 Jun 2015
The European consortium responsible for manufacturing seven of the nine ITER vacuum vessel sectors has begun hot forming activities on sector #5.

In this video filmed by Patrick Vertongen (ITER Quality Assurance & Assessment Division) at Walter Tosto SpA in Chieti, Italy (part of the AMW consortium, with Ansaldo Nucleare S.p.A and Mangiarotti S.p.A) a stainless steel plate is pressed into the required shape through an open die hot forming process.
First, the 60 millimetre-thick plates are heated to 930 °C in a gas-fired furnace and maintained at this temperature for 30 minutes. Then, the plate is removed from the furnace and positioned in a die to be pressed. After two hours in the die, the plate is removed and cooled for the next manufacturing operation.
Each of the nine vacuum vessel sectors will be 13 metres high, 6.5 metres wide, 6.3 metres deep and will weigh approximately 500 tons; all of the sectors are double-walled, containing thermal shielding in the interstice to protect the super conducting coils. The other two sections of the ITER vacuum vessel are being supplied by Korea.

Click here to watch the video
(With the authorization of Walter Tosto SpA.)
Fusion energy sooner and cheaper?
25 Jun 2015
What would it mean to have an essentially limitless amount of energy? If we can harness fusion power, we can have energy that is clean, safe, sustainable, and secure. It will be the power of a sun on earth. The dream of fusion energy has been a scientific goal for decades, but it has remained elusive.

On Tuesday, June 16, 2015, Dennis Whyte, the Director of the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center showed that a series of scientific and engineering breakthroughs could enable fusion to become a feasible a power source faster and cheaper than anyone had thought possible. These technological breakthroughsHigh Temperature Superconducting magnets, 3D printing techniques, and a new liquid salt material that could be used as a liquid blanketwere not originally developed for fusion, but they could revolutionize the development of fusion energy.
As a part of New York Energy Week, Whyte presented the recent and ongoing technological breakthroughs to a group of professionals from energy, finance, and media at FTI Strategic Communications' Wall Street office. This event was sponsored by the American Security Project as part of their program on Next Generation Energy.
See the original article and slide show presentation here.
​​​​The ITER godfather on site
22 Jun 2015
If only it were possible to read minds. It would have been interesting to know what that particular visitor was thinking as he leaned over the fence to stare down into the busy Tokamak Complex construction area, with its massive rebar and concrete structures. Perhaps how ITER is taking shape, after all these years... 

Academician Evgeny Velikhov, current President of the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, is one of the masterminds behind the ITER Project. He helped to initiate the project at the highest political level by persuading Secretary-General Mikhail Gorbachev that the next generation of fusion device needed to be a joint international effort. He was ITER Council Chair during the technical design phase for ITER and again at the start of ITER construction from 2010-2012.

Academician Velikhov was on-site to attend the sixteenth ITER Council meeting held at Headquarters from 17 to 18 June, but for now it was time to see how construction was progressing. Escorted by the acting head of the ITER Tokamak Engineering Department, Alexander Alekseev, as well Section Leader Igor Sekachev, Velikhov—now in his eighties—was able to take full measure of the road travelled as he looked over the 42 hectare construction site spread out before him.
Back at Headquarters, he quickly removed the obligatory safety shoes and safety equipment to meet some of the Russian staff members at ITER before returning later that day to Moscow.
High-tech remote handling for the ITER divertor
19 Jun 2015
​​In this five-minute video produced by the European Domestic Agency for ITER, the type of specialized robotics, networks and virtual reality techniques used in deep sea or space operations find their application for ITER, where remote handling will be used to perform maintenance, inspection and repair tasks.

The European agency is responsible for delivering four remote handling systems to ITER: the divertor remote handling system, the neutral beam remote handling system, the cask transfer system for activated components, and the in-vessel viewing and metrology system—in all, about EUR 250 million of investment.

Recently, conclusive tests were carried out at the VTT Technical Research Centre in Tampere, Finland for the remote handling of ITER divertor cassettes—10-ton components that must be installed and/or exchanged through high-tech robotics. 

Watch the video here.

Princeton's upgraded NSTX to be largest of its kind
15 Jun 2015
​The signature nuclear fusion experiment at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab is expected to relaunch this summer after being shuttered for upgrades for about three years.

When it reopens, the reactor there will be the most powerful of its kind in the world, lab directors say.

"We expect to start up probably toward the end of June. We'll do the initial tests that will get us toward research operations, and (research) will start later in the summer, let's say August time frame, maybe mid-September," said Adam Cohen, chief operating officer for the lab.

The National Spherical Torus Experiment, also known as NSTX, is a plasma in the shape of a cored apple heated to between 50 million and 100 million degrees.

The experiment's $94 million upgrade bought a stronger magnet for the plasma's nuclear reactor and a second neutral beam accelerator to heat plasma even further.

Read the whole article on the Newsworks website.

Supercomputer, and researchers, pair up to shed light on material interactions
12 Jun 2015
​As part of a Scientific Discovery through Advanced Computing (SciDAC) project, a partnership between the US Department of Energy's Advanced Scientific Computing Research Leadership Computing Challenge and Fusion Energy Sciences programs, researchers are using the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility's (OLCF's) Titan supercomputer to try to get closer to producing sustainable fusion for electricity.


The project, led by Brian Wirth, a researcher with the University of Tennessee and DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, brings researchers from various organizations together to work on different aspects of the ITER experimental fusion reactor.

Wirth and his collaborators are using Titan, a Cray XK7 supercomputer capable of 27 petaflops, or 27 quadrillion calculations per second, to shed light on how fusion plasma interacts with the materials used to build the reactor. Specifically, they're investigating how tungsten—one of the toughest materials known—will be affected by the plasma over time.
As helium particles bombard the tungsten wall, they begin to form clusters within the material. Once a helium atom is embedded in the wall, it attracts other helium particles. When enough helium is bunched together, it can "knock out" a tungsten atom from its normal position within the material, forming a nanoscale cavity, or hole, within the tungsten.
Read the full report published on the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's website here.
ITER Director-General speaks out
12 Jun 2015
Ten years ago this month, a group of industrial nations agreed on the location for the world's largest nuclear-fusion experiment: ITER, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, which they had decided to build jointly.
Today, roughly €4 billion worth of construction contracts and €3 billion in manufacturing contracts worldwide are underway and the first large components are being delivered to the site at St-Paul-lez-Durance in southern France.
Faced with slippage in the schedule—despite the best efforts of the more than 2,000 dedicated people working on ITER—in March 2015 the ITER Council moved to appoint Bernard Bigot, from France, to the top management position of the project.
In this Comment in Nature, published on 11 June, the new ITER Director-General explains how he will strengthen leadership and management to refocus the project's aim of harnessing nuclear fusion.
"Plasmoids" could simplify the design of future tokamaks
08 Jun 2015
​Researchers at the US Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have for the first time simulated the formation of structures called "plasmoids" during Coaxial Helicity Injection (CHI), a process that could simplify the design of fusion facilities known as tokamaks.

The findings, reported in the journal Physical Review Letters, involve the formation of plasmoids in the hot, charged plasma gas that fuels fusion reactions. These round structures carry current that could eliminate the need for solenoids — large magnetic coils that wind down the centre of today's tokamaks — to initiate the plasma and complete the magnetic field that confines the hot gas.

"Understanding this behavior will help us produce plasmas that undergo fusion reactions indefinitely," said Fatima Ebrahimi, a physicist at both Princeton University and PPPL, and the paper's lead author. 

Left: Plasmoid formation in simulation of NSTX plasma during CHI / Right: Fast-camera image of NSTX plasma shows two discrete plasmoid-like bubble structures. (Photo by Left: Fatima Ebrahimi, PPPL / Right: Nishino-san, Hiroshima University)

Read the full article on the PPPL website.

Job fair proposes 350 local jobs
08 Jun 2015
Facilitating the encounter between job opportunities and local jobseekers was the objective of the third "L'Energie pour l'Emploi" (Energy for Employment) job fair held last Thursday 4 June at the Château de Cadarache near ITER.

This year's fair, organized by Saint-Paul Emplois (the municipal employment association of Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, France) in collaboration with a number of neighbouring municipalities and the national employment agency Pôle Emploi, had broadened its outreach beyond the ITER construction site and the CEA research centre.

To make the fair even more attractive to the 500 job seekers that had come from all over the region, 40 local companies were present as well as the French Army and the Gendarmerie.

Long queues formed at each of the stands as jobseekers waited for their turn in this professional speed-dating exercise with human resource specialists from each organization.

In total more than 350 jobs were on offer, in a variety of fields such as construction, engineering, nuclear industry, army and services. "Every day, more than 8 000 people come to work in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance at one of the worksites or organizations based on its territory," says Roger Pizot, Mayor of Saint Paul, "and this also creates considerable indirect employment.  This Forum helps to ensure that the first ones to benefit from these job creations are the local jobseekers."

The ITER stand. From left to right, Sophie Gourod, Sophie Flechel and Emilia Fullmer-Bourree from the Human Resources Department.

Like a beast, with its horns...
08 Jun 2015
Before it can become operational, the main body of an electrical transformer must be equipped with several additional elements such as oil radiators, an oil conservator, and insulators called "bushings" — long ceramic devices that deliver the current to the transformer and stick out like horns on the head of a beast.

In order to prevent electrical discharge in the air, the length of the bushings must be proportional to the voltage: at 400 kV, no less than 6 metres of conductor, filled with oil and encased in a ceramic structure, are necessary.

Installing each one-ton component is a long and delicate operation that must be replicated three times for each transformer (one per electrical phase).

When all accessories are installed, the transformer will be filled with oil (an operation that will take three days straight). More than 60,000 litres of oil are necessary per transformer.

MAST-Upgrade fusion device advances ahead of schedule
01 Jun 2015
​Another key step in the building of the MAST-Upgrade fusion device was taken last week with the joining of the first two main segments of the new machine. 

MAST-Upgrade was designed to be divided into seven modules to maximize the amount of assembly work that could be carried out at the same time. On Thursday 28 May, a day ahead of schedule, two modules were brought together for the first time. The 30-tonne MAST-Upgrade vacuum vessel (known as the outer cylinder module) was lifted onto the lower cassette module, a key part of the Super-X divertor — the innovative plasma exhaust system that is a key feature of the new device.

This was the culmination of a huge amount of design, procurement and assembly effort by the MAST-Upgrade team over the past 12 months. It means the project remains on track to hit its major build milestones over the coming months and deliver a machine ready for pump-down by October 2016.

Read the full story on the website of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE).

Chinese ambassador tours site
31 May 2015
On Wednesday 27 May, ITER received the Chinese ambassador to France, Mr Zhai Jun, who visited the project with a delegation of 12 as part of a diplomatic tour of southern France.

Ambassador Zhai met with ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot, toured the construction site, and met Chinese staff members. To all, he expressed his interest in the project that "may change the future course for all humanity."
Ambassador Zhai was accompanied by his wife, Mme Wang Xinxia (second from left); the Chinese Consul-General in Marseille, Mme Yu Jinsong (second from right); and members of the embassy and consular staff. Also pictured: Management Advisory Committee member Peng Yiqi (far right) and head of the Chinese Domestic Agency Luo Delong (far right).
US participation in Wendelstein 7-X stellarator renewed
30 May 2015
The Wendelstein 7-X fusion project at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Greifswald, Germany is slated to begin operation later this year. The US, through the Department of Energy, contributed financing to the construction of the device; now, US scientists will have the opportunity to be involved in the research conducted on the machine from 2015 to 2017 with a contribution of about $4 million annually.

The renewed funding enables US universities to take an active role in the research program during the next three years. Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will measure the turbulence in the plasma by various methods; scientists from the universities at Wisconsin and Auburn will be concerned with the properties of the plasma edge. Finally, studies on a probe for measuring electric fields in the plasma will be conducted by a private research company, Xantho Technologies, in Madison, Wisconsin.
Three national research centres (Princeton, Oak Ridge and Los Alamos) will also be involved in projects on Wendelstein 7-X, including the construction and operation of an X-ray spectrometer, development of a pellet injector that injects tiny frozen hydrogen pellets to refuel the plasma, and operation of the five large auxiliary coils supplied by the US.
Read the full article on the IPP website.
(image credit: RST Rostock/EADS)
A three-day training session for DAHER partners
29 May 2015
Since February 2012, and the signature of a major framework contract with the ITER Organization, the group DAHER is the Logistics Service Provider for the project's global transport, logistics and insurance needs.

Through implementation agreements concluded with each ITER Domestic Agency, DAHER (or DAHER partners nominated locally) will manage the complex logistics related to the transport of ITER components from suppliers all over the globe to the ITER site.
In May 2015, as part of a three-day training session held by DAHER for its logistics partners from China (Sinotrans) and India (Deugro India), a site visited was organized at ITER.
"Our main objective is to offer an equal level of services to all the Members of the global ITER Project," said François Genevey, Daher director for ITER logistics. "Our partners located in each Member are recognized specialists who offer a regional point of contact and expertise. DAHER ensures that each partner is provided with all IT tools and processes that allow for the delivery of the best services to the Domestic Agencies."
In addition to the site visit, the training program also included a visit of facilities at the Mediterranean arrival point for all ITER components arriving by sea (Fos-sur-Mer); the discovery of the 104-kilometre itinerary to ITER; an introduction to DAHER logistics tools for ITER; and a session on the management of Protection Important Components (PIC) and, more generally, on the specific demands of a basic nuclear installation like ITER in France.
A similar kick-off meeting was held in September 2014 for DAHER partners from Japan, Korea and the US.
Daher partners for ITER are : Cosco and Sinotrans (China), Deugro (India), Hitachi (Japan), Shin Jo (Korea), and Transproject (US).
KIT International School on Fusion Technologies
26 May 2015
​Applications are now open for the 2015 edition of the International School on Fusion Technologies that will be held at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT, Germany) from 31 August 2015 to 11 September 2015.

The twelve-day program focuses on the current status of key fusion technologies and on long-term R&D—particularly in view of the next step beyond ITER, the demonstration power station DEMO.

The deadline for applications is 15 July. More information can be found on the KIT website.

Tiny grains of lithium to improve fusion plasmas
25 May 2015
By Raphael Rosen

Scientists from General Atomics and the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have discovered a phenomenon that helps them to improve fusion plasmas, a finding that may quicken the development of fusion energy.

Together with a team of researchers from across the United States, the scientists found that when they injected tiny grains of lithium into a plasma undergoing a particular kind of turbulence then, under the right conditions, the temperature and pressure rose dramatically. High heat and pressure are crucial to fusion, a process in which atomic nuclei — or ions — smash together and release energy — making even a brief rise in pressure of great importance for the development of fusion energy.

"These findings might be a step towards creating our ultimate goal of steady-state fusion, which would last not just for milliseconds, but indefinitely," said Tom Osborne, a physicist at General Atomics and lead author of the paper. This work was supported by the DOE Office of Science.

 Left: DIII-D tokamak. Right: Cross-section of plasma in which lithium has turned the emitted light green. (Credits: Left, General Atomics / Right, Steve Allen, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

Read the whole article on the PPPL website.

Director-General Bigot presents Action Plan to citizen's watchdog group
20 May 2015
​The ITER Commission locale d'information (the citizen watchdog group that monitors ITER activities in accordance with the French 2006 Transparency and Nuclear Safety Act) held its plenary session in the ITER Council chamber on 18 May.

The session provided ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot with an opportunity to present his Action Plan and develop his vision for the future of the project.
"You are a very important body because you are conveying to us the preoccupations of the local populations regarding the ITER Project," he said to the assembled CLI members. "We need to have a confident relationship and I am open to any question and debate."
Grant awarded to Princeton physicist for work on plasma impurities
15 May 2015
Physicist Luis Delgado-Aparicio, of the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), has won a highly competitive Early Career Research award sponsored by the DOE's Office of Science. The five-year grant of some $2.6 million will fund Delgado-Aparicio's research aimed at eliminating a key barrier to developing fusion power as a safe, clean and abundant source of electric energy.
Delgado-Aparicio's research focuses on the impurities that migrate from the interior walls and plasma-facing components of a fusion facility—or tokamak—into the plasma. These impurities are tiny particles that can cool the plasma and halt or slow the fusion reaction. Delgado-Aparicio is developing a process to enable researchers to pinpoint and analyze the impurities and quickly flush them out of the plasma.
Ridding plasmas of these impurities is becoming increasingly vital as experiments utilize longer pulses to produce more sustained fusion energy.
Read the full story on the PPPL website.
Applications open for doctoral program APPLAuSE
15 May 2015
Applications for the 3rd edition of the doctoral program in plasma science and engineering APPLAuSE (Portugal) are now open for the course starting in February 2016.

The aim of the four-year program is to provide each student with broad knowledge in the field of plasma science and engineering by promoting close interaction with renowned specialists. It consists in a student-centred and highly modular PhD program designed to enhance each student's capabilities and maximize his/her potential in a chosen area of specialization.

The course language is English. Find out more on the host institution website: IPFN (Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear) or at APPLAuSE

Applications close on Sunday 7 June.

​Transformers loaded for delivery
15 May 2015
Three high voltage transformers for ITER's steady state electrical system have been loaded onto transport trailers in the Mediterranean port of Fos-sur-Mer and are ready for delivery to ITER.

Procured by the US Domestic Agency for ITER, the 87-ton transformers and their transport vehicles will cross the inland sea Etang de Berre by barge before travelling the 104 kilometres of the ITER Itinerary in one night, for arrival on 21 May.
Four identical transformer units (one was delivered to ITER in January) will serve to connect the ITER site's 400kV Prionnet substation, operated by the French operator RTE, to the ITER steady state electrical system AC distribution system. 
Before the end of the month, two of the four units will be installed in their definitive location on the ITER construction site.
New head of 'Conseil départemental' reaffirms committment
07 May 2015
The Conseil général, the executive body of the French départements recently had their name changes to Conseil départemental. In Bouches-du-Rhône, the département that is home to ITER, this change in name was accompanied by a change in president.

Since 2 April and for the first time in 225 years, a woman, Martine Vassal from Marseille, sits in the presidential seat. On 6 May, she paid an official visit to ITER in order to reaffirm the département's support to the project (Bouches-du-Rhône contributes 152 million EUR to ITER).
"We are committed to ITER and determined to stand along with you in this great venture", she said to ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot before taking a tour of the construction site.
President Vassal with Vice-President Gazay (centre) and DG Bigot on the ITER site.
The ITER site from a drone's point of view
04 May 2015
​View this spectacular video of the ITER site seen from a drone's point of view. (Produced in April by the European Domestic Agency.)

Construction: what to expect in 2015?
27 Apr 2015
In this new video the European agency for ITER Fusion for Energy recaps the main progress achieved in ITER construction in 2014 and presents the activities for the year ahead.

"2015 is the year of construction," says Romaric Darbour, F4E's Deputy Project Manager. "The works for ten new buildings or facilities will start, including the cryoplant, buildings for magnet power conversion and radio frequency heating, the cooling towers; cleaning facilities and the control building. The construction of the second floor of the Tokamak Building is also expected to begin this summer."
What's new at WEST?
27 Apr 2015
​The April issue of the WEST Newsletter is out.

The 2nd WEST Governing Board took place on March 5, 2015. WEST international partners have come from China, Europe, India, Japan, Korea and USA to share the progress on the project, joining efforts to achieve the common objective : first plasma in 2016.

Series production launched for complementary divertor components. In addition to the ITER-like prototypes to be tested in WEST, the divertor is constituted of complementary elements based on alternative technologies. The series production of these key plasma-facing components has been launched.

New European partners for WEST. On March 4, 2015, two European laboratories, KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany) and IPP.CR (Institute of Plasma Physics, Czech Republic) signed a Letter Of Intent to join the collaboration on the WEST project.
Engineering professor undertakes innovative research in reactor design
27 Apr 2015

Anne White has always relished challenges. As an undergraduate, she was fascinated by fluid dynamics, and the prospect of nuclear fusion as a game-changing energy source. She followed those passions to her current position as the Cecil and Ida Green Associate Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT, where she spends much of her time studying plasma turbulence — which is a challenge unto itself.
"I like it because it's really difficult," she says. "You take fluid turbulence and add electrical and magnetic fields, which make it even harder to understand. Then you heat it to 100 million degrees and have to figure out ways to measure it and see what it's doing. That's why I'm at home here at MIT — everyone's really excited about tough things."
Read more on the MIT News webpage.

Another day, another transformer...
20 Apr 2015
Same component, same origin, same route: the second of four high voltage transformers procured by the US and manufactured in Korea reached Marseille's industrial port (Fos-sur-Mer) on Sunday 19 April.

The 87-ton component was unloaded the following morning and placed in storage, where it will remain until the last two transformers reach Fos (delivery expected around 10 May).

On the ITER platform, near the 400 kV switchyard, workers are putting the finishing touches to the large concrete pit that will host the first transformer, which should be operational in the early months of 2016.

Connected to the switchyard, it will bring down the voltage to 22 kV and dispatch power to the various plant systems of the installation.

MAST-Upgrade coil installation completed
20 Apr 2015
​An important milestone has been reached on the MAST-Upgrade project, with the re-installation of four of the largest magnetic coils inside the machine.

Many of the internal poloidal field magnetic coils are new, especially around the upper and lower parts of the device. Only four coils in MAST-Upgrade remain from the original MAST experiment — the large mid-plane P4 and P5 (upper and lower) coils.

But it was not as simple as just leaving them in the vessel — they were removed with all the other internal equipment to enable the interior to be fully stripped down and cleaned. The coils were also comprehensively cleaned, including a hydroblast pressure wash. The P5 coils were then fitted with new flux loops.

Prior to re-installation, a full spatial survey of the vessel and coil supports and indeed of the shape of the coils themselves was undertaken. All four cleaned and surveyed coils were re-installed a few weeks ahead of schedule, on new strengthened coil supports inside the MAST-U vessel. A final survey indicated they were within 0.5mm of their optimum position — minimizing any stray fields when operations commence.

Coil re-installation is an important step, marking in many ways the beginning of the rebuild of the tokamak.

Studying plasma physics online
15 Apr 2015
​The Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) is presenting the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on plasma physics and its applications, including fusion energy, astrophysical and space plasmas, societal and industrial applications. Enroll now !

A team including Prof. A. Fasoli, Prof. P. Ricci and colleagues at the Plasma Physics Research Center (CRPP) of EPFL, recorded the first MOOC on the basics of plasma physics and its main applications.
Current titles include:
• Basics of plasma physics
• Basics of space plasmas in astrophysics
• Industrial and medical applications of plasmas
• Basics of fusion as a sustainable energy
• Advanced concepts in fusion such as magnetic confinement, plasma heating and energy extraction.
Classes start on 1 May 2015. The course is given in English and will last nine weeks.
Register or get more information here or view the course introduction on YouTube.
News from JT-60 SA
15 Apr 2015
​The mission of the JT-60SA tokamak (based in Naka, Japan, and financed jointly by Europe and Japan) is to contribute to the early realization of fusion energy by addressing key physics issues for ITER and DEMO. It is a fully superconducting tokamak capable of confining high-temperature (100 million degree) deuterium plasmas, equivalent to achieving plasma energy balance if 50/50 deuterium/tritium were used. It is designed to help optimise the plasma configurations for ITER and DEMO, and has a large amount of power available for plasma heating and current drive, from both positive and negative ion neutral beams, as well as electron cyclotron resonance radio-frequency heating. The machine will be able to explore full non-inductive steady-state operation.

More news in the March issue of the JT-60 SA newsletter.

"Father of the modern flywheel" dies at 96
11 Apr 2015
Lawrence Livermore Lab physicist Richard "Dick" Post, the "father of the modern flywheel" who worked at the lab for 63 years, died Tuesday night following a short illness, lab officials said. He was 96.
Post joined the Livermore lab in 1952, just months after it opened. He researched magnetic fusion energy alongside luminaries such as physicists Herb York, the lab's first director, and Edward Teller, "the father of the hydrogen bomb."
Post retired in 1994, but continued to work, driving himself to the lab four days a week to research various projects, including his flywheel battery. He