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News & Media

Latest ITER Mag

Latest ITER Newsline

  • Fusion world | Japan and Europe inaugurate largest tokamak in the world

    It was 6:00 a.m. in La Bergerie, a former sheep barn located a few kilometres from ITER in the vast Château de Cadarache domain, and that had been converted [...]

    Read more

  • Stakeholders | ITER Director-General meets Prime Minister Kishida

    In Japan, the prime minister lives and works at the Prime Minister's Official Residence in central Tokyo, just a few blocks from the National Diet Building and [...]

    Read more

  • Image of the week | Season wrapping

    Although the travel distance is short, barely exceeding one hundred metres, the transfer of vacuum vessel sector #8 from the Assembly Hall, where it is presentl [...]

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  • In memoriam | Bernard Pégourié, physicist and mountaineer

    The worldwide fusion community mourns Bernard Pégourié, of France's Institute for Magnetic Fusion Research (CEA-IRFM), who passed away on 25 November following [...]

    Read more

  • COP28 | Fusion is making a splash

    The 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28, opened on 30 November in Dubai's Expo City—a sprawling conference centre built two years ago for the W [...]

    Read more


FuseNet Master Thesis Prize 2023
06 Dec 2023
Have you written a fusion-related Master's thesis in 2023? Then you can participate in the FuseNet Master Thesis Prize 2023!

To stimulate excellence in fusion research, FuseNet would like to award several students for outstanding Master's theses that were carried out in Europe or in collaboration with international institutions.

Nominations for this Master's thesis prize can be made through the FuseNet website at the link below. Please make sure that the submission is agreed with your institution and its FuseNet contact person. Only one submission per FuseNet member institution is allowed. The submission deadline is 1 February 2024.

See all information on the FuseNet website.

Guest lecture on high-powered lasers and fusion
04 Dec 2023
Félicie Albert, Director of the Jupiter Laser Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California, delivered a guest lecture on 4 December 2023 to several hundred members of the ITER community. She returned to the achievement of fusion ignition at the National Ignition Facility in December 2022—a first-of-class milestone that had reverberated around the world and that has been replicated several times since—and brought the audience up to date on future plans for the facility.

"The National Ignition Facility has not yet reached its full potential; we have many plans for the future," she said. Increasing the energy of the laser, achieving more routine implosions of the deuterium-tritium target, and sustaining the facility through the maintenance and replacement of components are all on the list. As for the longer-term prospects of designing and building a fusion power plant based on laser technology (inertial fusion), she described the many scientific and technological challenges that would have to be overcome.

Director Albert also took time to describe other laser facilities at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where research activities are underway to investigate particle acceleration in laser-driven plasmas as a way to generate x-rays that have unique properties and that can be used for non-destructive examination of materials or the probing of matter in extreme conditions.

Félicie Albert is a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and the recipient of numerous awards including the APS Katherine E. Weimer Award (2017) and the Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineers (2019).

New resource on fusion
01 Dec 2023
After dedicating their careers to fusion power development, five recently retired engineers have launched an educational website, Facts About Fusion, that is designed to make the intricate world of fusion energy understandable and engaging for everyone.

Bill Spears, Federico Casci, Werner Gulden, Antonino Cardella, and Lorenzo Virgilio Boccaccini set out to give "a grounded view of the requirements, aims, and variety of fusion power development, highlighting the achievements so far, the current status, and the steps still needed to reach an acceptable solution."

What sets this site apart, according to its authors, is its objective viewpoint. "While the authors are knowledgeable and experienced in the field of fusion, their retirement status allows them to offer a neutral perspective that complements existing fusion project websites. This unique vantage point enhances the website's goal of fostering a better-informed public."

Click to visit Facts About Fusion.

See this introductory article by Bill Spears published on the EUROfusion website.

ITER joins other energy actors at COP28
27 Nov 2023
Join the ITER Organization at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP28, in Dubai from 30 November to 12 December. You can find the ITER pavilion in the Blue Zone, B7, Building 88, on the second floor. Follow us on social media to stay abreast of the dynamic series of talks, panel discussions and events planned around fusion energy.

ITER @ the World Nuclear Exhibition this week
27 Nov 2023
On Tuesday, 28 November, the World Nuclear Exhibition will open its doors at Paris Villepinte, and the ITER Organization will be there to hold up the fusion flag. Come and see us at our exhibition booth AE140. On Thursday, 30 November, 11.30-12.00, we will also present upcoming business opportunities in a special workshop in Room 3.

See all information about the World Nuclear Exhibition here.

NTT and ITER to collaborate on early anomaly prediction
27 Nov 2023
Global technology solutions provider NTT Corporation (Japan) and the ITER Organization are planning joint experiments on predicting anomalies in ITER plant facilities. The early detection of anomalies and failures can reduce equipment downtime and increase the efficiency of the ITER Tokamak's operational phases.

NTT's artificial-intelligence (AI) powered anomaly prediction technology "DeAnoS" (for Deep Anomaly Surveillance) will be used to understand the normal status of selected ITER plant equipment, to detect faults, and to predict anomalies. The ITER Organization has already provided some operational data from the cooling water system to set up this ambitious collaboration, and will scale up with data from other equipment in the years ahead.

These experiments result from a Cooperation Agreement signed with NTT in 2020.

See the press release issued by NTT here.

ITER manga 5.0
16 Nov 2023
In the fifth installment of ITER Japan's manga series on the project, our hero Taiyô Tenno visits the Gyrotron Test Facility at the Naka Fusion Institute where eight ITER gyrotrons were manufactured and tested. Taiyô learns about the synthetic diamond windows that were developed over 30 years of R&D and that allow strong microwave pulses to pass through to the plasma without cracking.

Download any of the comics in the "ITER: A Small Sun on Earth" series from the ITER Japan website or directly from the ITER Publications gallery (comics).
360° tour updated (October 2023)
16 Nov 2023
The virtual tour of ITER construction has been updated with high-definition 360° photos from October 2023. Enter the main ITER plant buildings or the machine assembly theatre to see what has changed since the last update in January 2023.

Accessible from the home page of the ITER website (yellow icon) or by clicking on the link below.

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

ITER @ Berlin Science Week
02 Nov 2023
On Friday 3 November, ITER Director-General Pietro Barabaschi took part in a panel discussion on nuclear fusion organized as part of the Berlin Science Week

Moderated by Sakura Pascarelli (Scientific Director, European XFEL), "Nuclear fusion for a decarbonized future" featured:

— Pietro Barabaschi, Director-General, ITER Organization (keynote)
— Masaya Hanada, Director General, Naka Fusion Institute Japan
— Steven Cowley, Director, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, USA
— Piergiorgio Sonato, President, RFX Consortium, Italy
— Hartmut Zohm, Head of Tokamak Division, MPI-IPP, Germany

After describing project status, Director-General Barabaschi commented on how ITER is contributing to the world fusion research program. "Fusion is an innovation program ... it's not just one project. [...] We see now a renaissance of fusion around the world. A lot of private investment interest, a lot of companies, a lot of opportunities for young people. [...] A lot of new ideas will come up and I believe that ITER can provide some support. [...] Others may learn from what we are doing; it's part of our job I believe."

You can watch a replay of the public event at this address.

First plasma at JT-60SA!
24 Oct 2023
The Europe/Japan team at the JT-60SA tokamak in Naka, Japan, succeeded on 23 October 2023 in producing a tokamak plasma for the first time.

The team issued the following statement: 

"This is a major achievement by the teams involved in the operation of the biggest experimental fusion device to date using magnetic confinement. The result will be carefully examined as the teams will continue to perform more tests during the next weeks. This will culminate on 1 December when the newly built fusion research facility will be officially inaugurated in Naka in the presence of delegates from Japan and Europe. Stay tuned for further updates!"

See the press release in Japanese issued by Japan's National Institutes of Quantum Science and Technology (QST) and the article published by the European Domestic Agency, Fusion for Energy.

A new source for updates on fusion energy
18 Oct 2023
The IAEA's World Fusion Outlook aims to be the global reference for authoritative information and updates on fusion energy.

The IAEA has been promoting fusion energy research and development for over 60 years, and it continues to strongly support R&D and future deployment by bringing the fusion community together to create solutions for both scientific and technological challenges. This first issue of the publication outlines achievements in fusion energy; its safety, security, safeguards, nuclear law and liability challenges; as well as the role of the IAEA.

Download the full report from the IAEA website here.

The introduction to the IAEA World Fusion Outlook 2023 is available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish here (scroll down the page).

FEC 2023: How to participate remotely
12 Oct 2023
The 29th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2023) is taking place next week in London. In-person registration has closed, but remote participation is possible. Follow the instructions on this page to register for virtual attendance.

Registered virtual attendees will be able to follow all the technical sessions of the conference online via the IAEA conference and meetings app. (Consult the preliminary program here.)

The 29th Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2023) aims to provide 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. It is organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) through the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).

Apply now: SOFT Innovation Prize
12 Oct 2023
Fusion researchers are constantly challenging the scientific state of the art and improving the technology. This drive lay the basis the conditions for innovation, much of which can be exploited in other sciences and industrial sectors for the benefit of society.

The SOFT Innovation Prize rewards outstanding achievements in fusion energy research showcasing opportunities of valorization in the sector. It is intended for researchers and/or industrial actors who find new solutions, possibly with wider applications, to the challenges of fusion.

SOFT stands for Symposium on Fusion Technology—the name of  conference where the prize is awarded. Following the success of the previous editions, the European Commission is holding the contest again in conjunction with SOFT 2024 (23-27 September 2024, Dublin, Ireland).

There are no specific categories for this prize. Participants are free to submit an application concerning any physics or technology innovation that has been developed in magnetic confinement fusion research and that has market potential or has been taken up (or recognized) by industry to be further developed for the market.

Entries will be assessed on originality and replicability, technical excellence, economic impact, exploitation, and plans for further development. Proposals are studied by an independent jury composed of experts in technology transfer, from business and academia.

The deadline to submit applications is 16 January 2024. See further details on the SOFT Prize website.

Register for the FuseNet Master Event
11 Oct 2023
Are you currently a fusion or plasma physics Master's student, or are you starting a Master's during the next academic year? Are you looking for an opportunity to meet the community and learn more about studying for this field? Then the FuseNet Master Event 2023 is the place for you.

The third edition of the FuseNet Master Event will take place on Tuesday 23 November 2023. The event will be held fully online on the Gathertown platform. All master's students in fusion-related fields are invited to join the event. The event will interest to both students who are just getting started in fusion, and students who are graduating. 

More information on the program can be found on the registrations page. See you there!

Bernard Bigot Researcher Grant winners named
09 Oct 2023
The EUROfusion consortium for the realization of fusion energy has awarded ten Bernard Bigot Researcher Grants (ERG) to talented post-doctoral researchers across Europe. The ERG grants enable early-career researchers to develop innovative ideas and techniques to advance EUROfusion's Roadmap to Fusion Energy.

The EUROfusion Bernard Bigot Researcher Grants program, named after the third Director-General of the ITER Organization, supports excellent scientists at the post-doctoral level in their career development. The ERG grants cover part of the salaries of the selected candidates and part of the cost of their research activities and missions for a duration of up to two years.

Read all about the ten awardees on this EUROfusion webpage.

Exploring the potential of science diplomacy
09 Oct 2023
The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental organization that brings together 43 countries to strengthen regional cooperation and dialogue through specific projects and initiatives that address inclusive and sustainable development, stability and integration in the Euro-Mediterranean area.

On 3 October in Barcelona, Spain, UfM and the European Union co-organized the Euro-Mediterranean Conference on Science Diplomacy, with the aim of highlighting the state of science diplomacy in the Mediterranean as well as obstacles and opportunities. More than 80 people from 22 countries attended, including scientists, diplomats, and research and innovation officials.

ITER, as an example of science diplomacy, was invited to take part. The ITER Project was represented by Marc Lachaise, director of Fusion for Energy (the European Union organization managing Europe's contribution to ITER), who participated in a panel discussion on research infrastructure. 

See the press release issued after the event here.

JT-60SA: Coil energization
26 Sep 2023
After bringing the magnetic coil systems of JT-60SA to superconducting temperatures in July 2023, energization—the process of running current through the magnets—has begun.

The toroidal field coil system (18 D-shaped coils) was put through a series of tests in August to verify that the system's quench detection and protection circuits were working optimally and that the current could be safely increased. Now, tests have begun on the tokamak's six ring-shaped equilibrium field coils, with limited voltages and currents at the start to avoid unnecessary risk.

Read more about JT-60SA commissioning activities on this website.

New IAEA publication
25 Sep 2023
"The world we live in today [has] demands for clean energy outstripping supply. This has made clean sources of energy, such as fusion, of increasing interest to policymakers, investors and the wider public. In principle, fusion could generate four times more energy per kilogram of fuel than fission and nearly four million times more energy than burning oil and coal. The current level of international commitment to this clean source of energy is bringing us closer to fusion energy.

So begins the 800-page Fundamentals of Magnetic Fusion Technology published this month by the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA. The high-level text book is written for graduate students focusing on fusion technology, as well as for established plasma physicists and others working in the field and requiring a comprehensive overview. 

"Over the coming decades fusion R&D will shift from being science-driven and laboratory-based towards a technology-driven, industry-based venture. Significant innovation is and will be required [...]. Furthermore, the transition will focus on technologies and standards associated with the 'nuclearization of fusion' which has consequences for the required competences of the workforce. The main objective of this publication is to contribute to the consolidation and better exploitation of the achievements already reached in the past to tackle the present challenges in preparing the workforce in the different areas, with special attention to continuous professional development and life-long learning."

Download or order your copy from the IAEA website.

Big science get together: ESO @ ITER
18 Sep 2023
The European Southern Observatory (ESO) is an intergovernmental organization that designs, constructs and operates powerful ground-based observing facilities for astronomy. It currently operates three unique world class observing sites in the Atacama Desert region of Chile and is building the Extremely Large Telescope, which will be the largest optical/near-infrared telescope in the world. 

Professor Xavier Barcons, the Director General of ESO, was a guest on site at ITER on Friday 15 September. After exchanges with management and an extended tour of the worksite, he delivered a guest lecture to hundreds of members of the ITER community who were present in the amphitheatre or logged on remotely.

"What we can say, to start, is that we both work with plasmas, although many orders of magnitude apart in size," said ITER Director-General Pietro Barabaschi in his introduction of Professor Barcons. "And there are other things that we share—we are delivering research infrastructures at the frontier of science and technology, we are unique in our fields, and we face common challenges not only in engineering and technology ... but also in procurement, administration and staffing issues such as diversity. Beyond the pleasure of welcoming Professor Barcons today, we also hope to find areas where we can assist one another."

You can learn more about the European Southern Observatory here.

FuseNet Teachers Day
14 Sep 2023
Registrations are open for the 2023 European Fusion Teacher Day!
The goal of the European Fusion Teacher Day, which will take place on 6 October, is to introduce nuclear fusion to secondary school teachers throughout Europe, discuss teaching nuclear fusion to secondary school students, and create enthusiasm for the field of fusion at the secondary education level.
You can find the agenda and the registration page at the event site here. Registration closes on 2 October.
Vacancy: FuseNet Student Council
05 Sep 2023
Do you want to be more involved in the promotion of fusion education in Europe? Do you have ideas on how to make the fusion scientific community bigger? Do you want to give input as a student to FuseNet, the European Fusion Education Network? 

The FuseNet Student Council is a separate advisory body in which Master and PhD students from member institutions across Europe convene and provide input to the Board of Governors. Members of the Student Council take part in Work Packages, and they are responsible for the organization of the FuseNet Master Event. The Student Council convenes predominantly online but also has at least one live meeting each year at the FuseNet PhD Event.

All current Master and PhD students affiliated with a FuseNet member institution are welcome to apply. Member terms are one year with the possibility of a one-year extension.

The deadline is 10 October 2023. See all information here.

United Nations: "Science as a public good"
04 Sep 2023
After designating 2022 as the "International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD)," the United Nations (UN) General Assembly has now proclaimed 2024 to 2033 as the "International Decade of Sciences for Sustainable Development (IDSSD)," acknowledging the imperative to "create bridges accross scientific disciplines and knowledge forms in order to address the complex and intricate challenges of our time."

Recognizing that developing countries face specific challenges in accessing new sciences and technologies, the resolution—proposed by Argentina, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Serbia, South Africa, Spain and Vietnam—proclaims the International Decade of Sciences for Sustainable Development represents "a unique opportunity for humanity to use the critical role that sciences play in the pursuit of sustainable development in its three dimensions as one of the key means of implementation as well as in responding to the complex challenges of our time to ensure a safe and prosperous future for all."

The ITER Organization is one of many scientific organizations that supports the IYBSSD.

Read the UN declaration in English here.

MT-28 Conference: last days to register
01 Sep 2023
The technical program of the 28th International Conference on Magnet Technology (MT-28) will kick off in Aix-en-Provence, France, on 11 September 2023. Interest has been high, with nearly 1,000 registered participants and extensive paper submissions. Plenary talks, topic sessions, short courses and an industrial exhibition are all on the schedule.

Registration is still available on line through Tuesday, 5 September.

For members of the press, please contact Sabina Griffith ( to be kept abreast of the planned press event.

JET running final campaign
01 Sep 2023
JET, the Joint European Torus in Culham, Oxfordshire (UK), has just kicked off a third and final campaign in deuterium and tritium. The planned experiments, known as "DTE3," will run for seven weeks and focus on plasma science, materials science, and neutronics.

This campaign comes just 20 months after JET demonstrated sustained fusion over five seconds at high power and set a world record. In June, JET celebrated 40 years of science.

JET's research findings have been critical to planning at ITER, as well as to that of the UK's prototype fusion powerplant STEP, the European DEMO prototype fusion plant, and other national laboratory and private projects around the world.  

Repurposing and decomissioning activities on JET are scheduled to begin in 2024. 

See the announcement on the UKAEA/Culham Centre for Fusion Energy website.

Fusion Energy Camp in Denmark
01 Sep 2023
For the third year in a row, the Department of Physics at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) has held its Fusion Energy Summer Camp for high school students.

19 participants aged 16 to 19 got to work as researchers and conduct experiments on DTU's small, and Scandinavia's only, NORTH tokamak. From early morning to late evening, from 30 July to 4 August, they followed lectures, practiced problem solving and programming in fusion energy and plasma physics, and participated in experiments, while also having fun and getting a taste of university life on campus.

The DTU Physics teams thanks the Novo Nordisk Foundation for its generous support in helping to inspire the young generation to consider an education in science and engineering and be part of the push to develop a sustainable future.

--Søren Bang Korsholm, Senior Scientist, and Alexander Simon Thrysøe, Scientist at DTU Physics.

Photo: Students are introduced to the NORdic Tokamak device (NORTH) that is enriching the physics and engineering programs at the Technical University of Denmark. Credit: Magnus Møller 

JT-60SA: coils are superconducting
27 Jul 2023
The transition to superconducting has been observed in the JT-60SA's central solenoid and toroidal field magnets, according to reporting by the team.

Superconductivity is a natural property of certain metals, alloys and ceramics when cooled below a defined "critical temperature." Below the critical temperature—which varies for each material—electrical resistance drops to zero, allowing these materials to carry large amounts of electrical current without losing energy.

JT-60SA's central solenoid is wound from niobium tin (Nb3Sn) cable-in-conduit conductor, which in the absence of any magnetic field becomes superconducting at about 18 K (-255°C). Early on 22 July the four modules of the central solenoid reached this temperature and the resistance of the magnets dropped to almost zero. The superconducting transition for the tokamak's 18 toroidal field coils and 6 equilibrium field coils (made from niobium titanium (NbTi) cable-in-conduit conductor) occurred at about 9 K (-264°C) on 24 July.

The JT-60SA tokamak is a joint program of fusion research and development agreed and co-financed by the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and the government of Japan.

See the full report on this JT-60SA webpage.

The ITER Podcast: Episode 6, Season 2
24 Jul 2023
The sixth and last episode of Season 2 of The ITER World is now available.

"Narrating A Giant" caps off the season by interviewing ITER Head of Communication Laban Coblentz. What public information strategy should be followed for this project that has so many complex layers of science, engineering, technology and politics? How to sustain interest in a project that spans decades? How to combat misconceptions? 

Listen to the latest episode directly on the ITER website or through Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, PodBean, Spotify, or Tune In.

Problems, and solutions, at ITER (video)
24 Jul 2023
Physicist Hartmut Zohm from Germany's Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics (IPP) invites ITER's Head of Science, Alberto Loarte, to discuss the recent technical setbacks at ITER and plans for recovery. 

What are the specific problems and solutions? How will the setbacks affect full-power operation? Is scientific planning affected? Is the delay for repair also an opportunity in some areas to modify strategy? In what ways does ITER remain a "teaching" device?

The 17-minute talk "Nuclear Fusion: Problems at the ITER Research Project and Current Solutions" is available in English and German.

CGTN's RAZOR Science visits
20 Jul 2023
RAZOR, CGTN Europe's science and technology show, has published a 27-minute episode on the ITER Project.

Host Neil Cairns takes the viewer into some of the most interesting spaces of the ITER site, including the cathedral-like Tokamak pit, the gargantuan Assembly Hall and ITER Headquarters where staff from 35 nations are collaborating to "recreate the Sun's energy" on Earth. Through interviews with workers, managers and staff, the documentary captures the ambition of ITER and the gamechanging nature of fusion. "It's like when humans learned how to use fire," says one of the Chinese consortium members involved in machine assembly. "This is the second fire of humans in our history."

Watch "Are we any closer to recreating the Sun's energy at ITER?" on the RAZOR Science YouTube channel here.

An "electrifying year" for fusion
13 Jul 2023
The Fusion Industry Association has released its third annual survey of private fusion enterprises around the world.

The fusion industry continues to grow globally, with 13 new entrants, USD 1.4 billion (EUR 12.5 billion) in fresh funding, and nearly 1,000 direct jobs (+3,000 in the supply chain) created.

Private fusion initiatives exist in Australia (1), Canada (1), China (2), France (1), Israel (1), Italy (1), Germany (3), Japan (3), New Zealand (1), Sweden (1), the United Kingdom (3), and the United States (25).

These fusion companies are also benefitting at times from public money, as governments seek to spur innovation through public-private partnerships.

The companies participating in the survey spoke of their optimism about delivering fusion power to the grid, although "challenges remain."

You can download "The Global Fusion Industry in 2023" from this page on the Fusion Industry Association website.

Diamonds for ITER
10 Jul 2023
Offering unsurpassed hardness, broad band optical transparency, and extremely high thermal conductivity, synthetic diamonds are the material of choice for 60 small windows that offer access to the machine for the high-frequency electromagnetic waves of ITER's electron cyclotron heating system, yet ensure a tight vacuum boundary.

The European Domestic Agency for ITER, Fusion for Energy, has procured 60 synthetic diamond discs through the German firm Diamond Materials. Now they must be polished, optically inspected, and finally joined with the diamond window unit through brazing.

See the original story on the Fusion for Energy website for all the details.

Smoothing the legal path to fusion
03 Jul 2023
The second edition of the Fusion for Energy Contracting Professionals Roundtable took place at ITER Headquarters from 26 to 28 June 2023. The event, organized in collaboration with the International Nuclear Law Association (INLA) and the ITER Organization, focused on innovative legal thinking for successful fusion megaprojects.

During the three-day event, participants worked together to discuss and develop conditions for the successful delivery of fusion megaprojects. Themes such as contract strategies, forms of contract, nuclear liabilities, export control, insurance, competition law, public procurement law, intellectual property law and the regulation of fusion technologies were at the centre of the discussions. Approximately 300 participants from 20 countries took part.

See this report on the Fusion for Energy website.

JT-60SA: cooldown underway
03 Jul 2023
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—has officially restarted operations, according to news posted to the JT-60SA website

On 30 May 2023, the team kicked off vacuum pumping operations to evacuate particles from the vacuum vessel and cryostat. Leak testing of the cryostat, cryostat helium pipes and vacuum vessel followed, before steps were taken to initiate magnet cooldown. The cooling of the JT-60SA magnets has been underway since 14 June and is proceeding steadily; you can follow progress on this webpage.

JT-60SA has been designed to support the operation of ITER by following a complementary research and development program, and to investigate how best to optimize the operation of fusion power plants that are built after ITER. Further details of its experimental program are explained in the JT-60SA Research Plan. During device commissioning in 2021, a short circuit at the terminals of one of the machine's largest poloidal field coils resulted in a period of assessment, analysis and repair. The restarting of the device is excellent news for the integrated project team and for the fusion community as a whole.

The ITER Podcast: Episode 5, Season 2
03 Jul 2023
In the latest episode of ITER Stories (Season 2, Episode 5), hear what it's like to move from abroad for the ITER Project ... from the point of view of five ITER spouses.

In "ITER Spouses, A Journey of Transformation," Mansi, Joke, Moon-Jeong, Zijin and Pieter speak about their experiences moving to Provence to support their spouses and their voyage into the ITER World. From raising children, to learning the ropes of living in Provence, rebuilding identities, and taking life into their own hands, they share thoughts that may be interesting to families who are considering a move to ITER in the future, other expats, or the simply curious.

Listen to the latest episode directly on the ITER website or through Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, PodBean, Spotify, or Tune In.

The people of ITER
28 Jun 2023
The 2022 Report on Human Resources offers the most recent snapshot of the human element of ITER. Who is behind the engineering, the science, and the day-to-day management and administration of the world's largest research collaboration?

ITER Organization staff grew by 3.3% in 2022 over the preceding year, reaching 1,069 members. European staff members represent 69% of the 2022 total, while staff from the six other Members is distributed as follows: China 8.1%, India 2.4%, Japan 3.6%, Korea 6.1%, Russia 7.2% and the United States 3.4%. Staff joined the project from all ITER Members in 2022, with the Human Resources Department fielding 3,098 applications for 111 newcomer recruitments. Of total appointments in 2022, 12.3% were women.

Just over 77% of ITER staff members have an advanced degree (Master's, engineering degree, or PhD). Women represent 18.6% of the staff body, and hold 9% of management positions. The average age of all staff is 45.3 years old (43.9 years for women, and 45.6 years for men). In 2022, global turnover was 7%, with 73 departures.

Nearly 80% of staff choses to live in either Aix-en-Provence (pop. 147,000) or Manosque (pop. 23,000), two of the larger towns in the ITER environment, and 75% have at least one dependent child. Nearly 70% of staff were rewarded in 2022 for performance, and 19.3% were promoted through contract renewal.

See all this granular detail and more in the 2022 ITER Organization Report on Human Resources here.

Latest ITER drone video
28 Jun 2023
Besides attending an ITER Open Doors Day, the best way to familiarize yourself with the ITER construction project is to watch our latest drone video. It takes you in and out of the buildings on site—including the tall Assembly Hall where ITER's some of ITER's largest components are viewable—and flies far overhead for an update on the latest site infrastructure achievements.

Watch it on the ITER website or YouTube.

Replay: The Limitless Potential of Fusion Energy
22 Jun 2023
The Energy Subcommittee of the US House Committee on Science, Space and Technology held a hearing on fusion energy on Tuesday 13 June 2023. 

Titled "From Theory to Reality: The Limitless Potential of Fusion Energy," the hearing focused on how this "history-changing energy source" is progressing from scientific experiment to commercial reality. 

Invited to speak before the Subcommittee members were: Kathryn McCarthy, Director, US ITER Project Office; David Kirtley, CEO, Helion Energy; Wayne Solomon, Vice President, Magnetic Fusion Energy, General Atomics; Andrew Holland, CEO, Fusion Industry Association; Scott Hsu, Senior Advisor and Lead Fusion Coordinator, US Department of Energy.

You can watch the full hearing in replay at this address (starts at 44:45).

The ITER Planet
06 Jun 2023
For your wall at home or in the office! Download an annotated photo of the ITER site—part of the annual ITER Planet brochure, featuring descriptions in English and French. Or, see this page of the ITER website for all the latest ITER Organization publications.

Download the ITER Planet brochure here.

Register: September magnet conference near ITER
05 Jun 2023
Registration for the 28th International Conference on Magnet Technology (MT-28) is open on line through 5 September 2023 on the conference website.

See all fee information here, including reductions for retired participants, students and one-day attendees. The registration fee includes access to the exhibition, all technical sessions, all poster sessions, and receptions.

The conference will take place in Aix-en-Provence, France (only 30 minutes from the ITER site) from 10 to 15 September 2023. ITER site visits will be organized.

To register to MT-28, see this link.

Huge growth ahead? Fusion supply chain report
05 Jun 2023
From a survey of 26 private fusion companies and 34 supplier companies, the Fusion Industry Association—a US-registered non-profit independent trade association for the acceleration of the arrival of fusion power—predicts a huge growth in demand for fusion suppliers over the coming years. 

Its report The Fusion Industry Supply Chain: Opportunities and Challenges calculates that from USD $500 million in 2022, the fusion supply chain is set to increase to over USD 7 billion by the time companies build their first-of-a-kind power plants. When the fusion industry reaches maturity, the supply chain is predicted to be worth trillions of dollars.

Seventy percent of fusion companies surveyed, however, said their suppliers see building the capacity to meet future demand as too risky without committed orders. "It is clear more long-term certainty is needed—through a mix of finance, regulation, risk-sharing mechanisms, and more communication—so suppliers are prepared to scale ahead of industry need."

Read the full report on the Fusion Industry Association website.

24-jour live online "Basic Sciences" event today
05 Jun 2023
The International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development (IYBSSD), in partnership with UNESCO, is taking place this year on 5 June.

Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development is the ambitious program that the Member States of the United Nations have agreed on to ensure a balanced, sustainable and inclusive development of the planet.

Basic sciences have an important contribution to make to the implementation of this program. They provide the essential means to meet crucial challenges such as universal access to food, energy, health coverage and communication technologies. They enable us to understand the impact of the currently nearly 8 billion people on the planet and to act to limit, and sometimes even to reduce it: depletion of the ozone layer, climate change, depletion of natural resources, extinction of living species.

Applications of technology are easy to recognize. On the other hand, contributions of basic, curiosity-based, sciences are not well appreciated. They are nonetheless at the basis of major technological advances that stimulate innovation, as well as essential for training future professionals and for developing capacity of populations who can take part in decisions that affect their future. UNESCO is well aware of this: its Recommendation on Science and Scientific Researchers, revised in 2017, recalls the importance of bringing together politicians, scientists, diplomats, international organizations, entrepreneurs and every goodwill person.

The International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development, that we organize in 2022 and 2023, focuses on these links between basic sciences and the Sustainable Development Goals. This is a unique opportunity to convince all stakeholders that through a basic understanding of nature, actions taken will be more effective, for the common good.

ITER Head of Communication Laban Coblentz will be delivering a talk on "The ITER Project: collaborating on basic science for a new energy future" at 18:30 Paris time (CET).

Click here for the livestream. See all information about the IYBSSD event here.

The ITER Podcast: Episode 4, Season 2
30 May 2023
Episode 4 of The ITER World, ITER's second podcast miniseries, is now available.

What do a 14 year old in the south of France, a robot competition, and a scientist at a pioneering nuclear fusion experiment have in common? The love for coding and human collaboration!

In "ITER Robots: Connecting as Humans," host Kruti Mawani Fayot joins middle and high school students at the annual ITER Robots event, where they compete with Lego-based robots that have been designed and programmed to complete ITER-like handling tasks.

Listen to the latest episode directly on the ITER website or through the following channels: Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, PodBean, Spotify, and Tune In.  

Visit the podcast page of the ITER website for all Season 1 and Season 2 episodes.

Register now: FuseNet PhD event
30 May 2023
Join fellow fusion PhD candidates from all over Europe in August in Lausanne, Switzerland!

The annual PhD Event organized by the European Fusion Education Network, FuseNet, will take place this year at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).

From 23 to 25 August, meet and greet fellow fusion researchers. The event 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.

See all information here. Register before 14 June 2023.

Fusion "myths" (video)
15 May 2023
Listen to physicist Hartmut Zohm from Germany's Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics (IPP) as he addresses what in his view are the five most common misconceptions about fusion research: 1) Fusion energy is always 30 years away; 2) With the money flowing into fusion research right now, a fusion power plant can be built in 10 years; 3) Using alternative fuels circumvents all the challenges; 4) Your Q values are not correct; 5) In fusion research, every success is a breakthrough.

The 20-minute talk""5 Myths About Nuclear Fusion" is available in English and German.

The ITER Podcast: Episode 3, Season 2
05 May 2023
Episode 3 of The ITER World, ITER's second podcast miniseries, is now available.

"Falling for Fusion" features interviews with two young fusion enthusiasts who explain how they came to find out about fusion science and technology, how they joined the effort to increase the visibility of this very active field of research, and where they think fusion fits into the future.

Listen to the latest episode with host Kruti Mawani Fayot directly on the ITER website or through the following channels: Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, PodBean, Spotify, and Tune In.  

Visit the podcast page of the ITER website for all episodes.

EUROfusion Engineering Grants
02 May 2023
The European Consortium for the Development of Fusion Energy, EUROfusion, has launched a call for 2024 EUROfusion Engineering Grants. These grants provide funding for up to twenty outstanding early-career engineers to conduct research projects starting in the first half of 2024. The EUROfusion grant will cover their salaries under the EUROfusion funding rules as well as contribute to their research activities and missions for the duration of two years.

EUROfusion encourages young engineers who are passionate about fusion research to apply for this opportunity. To be eligible, candidates must currently hold a Master's degree in engineering and have finished their degree within six years preceding the submission deadline. Interested candidates should jointly prepare their application with a EUROfusion consortium member or affiliated entity, who will submit the application and offer to employ the candidate for the proposed duration of the project.

Interested candidates are invited to attend the EUROfusion Training and Education Office's Q&A Information Session on Wednesday, 24 May 2023, at 14.00 CEST (connection details can be found on the EUROfusion wiki pages or requested by emailing

The submission deadline is 5 June 2023. For all information, see these pages.

Introductory plasma physics course
02 May 2023
During the weeks of 5 to 15 June 2023, the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) will host a intensive virtual course on plasma physics and fusion energy sciences, taught by world-renowned scientists from various US and international institutions. The course is targeted at undergraduate students interested in plasma physics and fusion energy science and is open to the public at large.

Registration is free and participants who attend the full course will receive a certificate of completion.

The introductory course will be fully conducted via Zoom, and in half-day sessions (12PM-5PM EST) in order to accomodate various time zones.

The content will reflect the broad research under the fusion energy sciences and plasma physics umbrella, including discovery plasma sciences, magnetic fusion energy, fusion materials and technology, and high energy density plasmas.

See all information here.

A boot camp for climate change
24 Apr 2023
The third edition of "Education Boot Camp," organized by the Indian Youth Nuclear Society (IYNS) and Shiv Nadar School, Noida, attracted 2,000 participants from the Delhi region, from grade 5 through university. The goal? To raise awareness about sustainable development and climate change.

Over one month, participating students were asked to develop ideas to tackle the environmental challenge of their choice, and present them at the two-day culminating event on 20-21 April. Team Swachh Bin from the Shiv Nadar School won first prize with a project on waste management. 

Nintendra Singh, founder and president of the IYNS, founding board member of Women in Nuclear India (WiN-India), and current ITER Project Associate in the Tritium Breeding Blanket Section, was satisfied with the dedication and enthusiasm of the students. "The event was an excellent opportunity for students to learn and connect with industry experts and academia, and to connect with peers. The idea that it is necessary to find local—and innovative—solutions to global issues was very well assimilated."

Shira Tabachnikoff, Internal & Stakeholder Relations Manager at ITER and co-chair of the Women in Fusion network, participated in panels on women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and shared the status of the ITER Project with students in high school and university.

INFUSED: Training and postdoc opportunities
24 Apr 2023
The INFUSED pages of the ITER Organization website are the place to go for students and teachers interested in educational resources in fusion science and technology. The resources have been developed all over the world, and are offered in many languages and formats.

At this time of year, it is also good to keep an eye on the INFUSED event calendar, where deadlines are fast approaching for summer training opportunities, specialized courses, and postdoctoral research grants.  

At the top of this page, click on "View all upcoming events" to see a list of opportunities through November. Click on the titles to find out more about application procedures and deadlines.

And for organizers, you can contact if you don't see your training opportunity listed in INFUSED.

FuseNet PhD event
18 Apr 2023
Join fellow fusion PhD candidates from all over Europe in August in Lausanne, Switzerland!

The annual PhD Event organized by the European Fusion Education Network, FuseNet, will take place this year at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL).

From 23 to 25 August, meet and greet fellow fusion researchers. The event 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.

See all information here. Register before 18 June 2023.

The ITER Podcast: Episode 2, Season 2
07 Apr 2023
Episode 2 of The ITER World, ITER's second podcast miniseries, is now available.

"Visiting Planet ITER" takes the listener into the heart of ITER's assembly activities, where visitors from France, Thailand and the Netherlands are discovering the project and sharing their views about ITER's goals and nuclear fusion energy overall. Kirsten Haupt, from the ITER visits team, lifts the veil on the popular ITER visitor program that attracted approximately 20,000 people last year, and nearly 200,000 since it started in 2007.

Listen to "Visiting Planet ITER" with host Kruti Mawani Fayot directly on the ITER website or through the following channels: Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, PodBean, SpotifyTune In and World Radio Paris.  

Visit the podcast page of the ITER website.

Apply to the JT-60SA International Fusion School
07 Apr 2023
The new JT-60SA International Fusion School (JIFS), jointly funded and organized by Japan's National Institutes for Quantum Science and Technology (QST) and EUROfusion, aims to prepare the next generation of fusion physicists and engineers from Japan and Europe by focusing on the main aspects of fusion research, from plasma physics to engineering, with special attention to their combination into tokamak operation.

School attendance is limited to 20 students—10 from Japan and 10 from Europe. The two-week program in Japan will include lectures, visits to JT-60SA, and practical exercises using JT-60SA laboratories and JT-60SA data, analysis and computational tools.

The first JT-60SA International Fusion School will take place from 4 to 15 September 2023. Registration ends 15 April 2023. For all information see this page.

EUROfusion Bernard Bigot Researcher Grants
07 Apr 2023
The European Consortium for the Development of Fusion Energy, EUROfusion, has launched a call for applications for the next round of EUROfusion Bernard Bigot Researcher Grants, which will fund up to ten outstanding early-career researchers for research projects starting in the first half of 2024. The grants will cover their salaries and part of the cost of their research activities and missions for up to two years.

To be eligible, candidates must currently hold a PhD and have defended their doctoral thesis within the two years preceding the submission deadline. Interested candidates should jointly prepare their application with a EUROfusion consortium member, who will submit the application and offer to employ the candidate for the proposed duration of the project.

Interested candidates can join the EUROfusion Training and Education Office's Q&A Information Session on Wednesday, 19 April 2023, at 14.00 CET.

Further details on the overall procedure and the information session are provided on this website. The submission deadline is 28 April 2023.

--The Researcher Grants are named after Dr Bernard Bigot, Director-General of the ITER Organization from 2015 to 2022.

Publication: The global fusion state of play
27 Mar 2023
The European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy, has published the "Foresight study on the worldwide developments in advancing fusion energy, including the small scale private initiatives."

Commissioned from the consultancy Trinomics, the paper provides an analysis of the leading public and private fusion initiatives globally and uses the analysis to generate four foresight scenarios for fusion development to inform European Commission decision making on fusion.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of various fusion approaches? When can the next fusion devices be expected? What are the most optimistic and least optimistic estimations for the arrival of fusion power on the grid? What technical challenges remain? 

The 113-page document can be consulted free of charge at this link. (© European Union, 2023)

Can Nuclear Fusion Power the Future?
20 Mar 2023
It's the Holy Grail for limitless clean energy, but will nuclear fusion come soon enough to avoid the worst of the climate crisis?

As part of the Bloomberg series The Future with Hannah Fry, follow Episode 4, "Can Nuclear Fusion Power the Future?" as Hannah visits the ITER Project in southern France, checks in with an expert at Imperial College London on the economics of fusion, and flies to Los Angeles to witness a new generation of private start-ups racing to put fusion energy on the grid. 

Her hosts at ITER are Richard Pitts, head of the Experiments & Plasma Operation Section, and Sabina Griffith, from Communication.

Watch "Can Nuclear Fusion Power the Future?" here. Browse all episodes here.

ITER Talks | The Tritium Plant
13 Mar 2023
Join Ian Bonnett, ITER's Tritium Plant Section Leader, for a deep dive into the hydrogen isotope tritium—its particular characteristics, and how it will be used and recycled at ITER as part of a closed fuelling loop. A dedicated Tritium Plant at ITER contains all of the systems and sub-systems needed for safe tritium management.

Watch the eleventh episode of the ITER Talks here.

See the full ITER Talks playlist on YouTube.

MT-28: registration is open
13 Mar 2023
Registration for the 28th International Conference on Magnet Technology (MT-28) is open on the conference website beginning today, 13 March 2023.

See all fee information here, including reductions for retired participants, students and one-day attendees. The registration fee includes access to the exhibition, all technical sessions, all poster sessions, and receptions.

The conference will take place in Aix-en-Provence, France (only 30 minutes from the ITER site) from 10 to 15 September 2023.

To register to MT-28, see this link.

The ITER podcast: new episode released
10 Mar 2023
The ITER World, ITER's second podcast miniseries, debutes this week for International Women's Day with Episode 1: "The Women at ITER." It is available directly through the ITER website or through the following channels: Amazon MusicApple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsPodBeanSpotifyTune In and World Radio Paris

Season 1 of the ITER podcast, All About ITER, took a look at what nuclear fusion is and how one of the largest, most complex science experiments on Earth is taking shape in the south of France.

Season 2 begins to orbit this world in order to understand its multifaceted inhabitants, their motivations and challenges. From hearing about their love for fusion, to meeting some of the women involved or gaining a first-hand perspective on what it's like to be a part of this extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime global project. Six episodes are planned, with host Kruti Mawani Fayot.

See the podcast page of the ITER website.

Fusion Industry School announced (CDT/UKAEA)
09 Mar 2023
Te Fusion Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) and the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) have worked with the fusion community to prepare a two-week program created to meet the needs of the emerging fusion industry and associated supply chain companies and organizations.

The Fusion Industry School is a two-week interactive program of lectures from world-leading experts in fusion, aimed at providing an overview of the current progress and challenges to industry professionals. The school consists of lectures, networking sessions, panel discussions and Q&As as well as visits to the UKAEA national fusion facilities.

The first week (19-22 June 2023) takes place in York (UK) and focuses on the underpinning fusion science and technology. The second week (25-28 September 2023) in Oxfordshire (UK) builds on the first week, with more of an emphasis on engineering applications. The program is optimized for delegates attending both weeks, but there is still benefit to only attending one. No prior knowledge of fusion science and technology is necessary.

The target audience is: early and mid-career scientists, engineers and regulators.

See all information on the CDT website.

New! Women in Fusion mentoring program
09 Mar 2023
Women in Fusion—the one-year-old global platform established to highlight the role that women play in advancing cutting-edge research and technology in fusion and to promote networking and advocacy—has launched a new initiative: mentoring.

By connecting mentors with mentees, the Women in Fusion program aims to support women with backgrounds in science, engineering, legal or administration in all aspects of their career development, including goal setting, leadership, and work/life balance. Expand your network and foster your career growth as a mentee, or grow your leadership skills and assist an early-career professional as a mentor.

All details are available on this page of the Women in Fusion website.

2023 Culham Summer School announced
07 Mar 2023
The 60th Culham Plasma Physics Summer School will take place from 17 to 27 July 2023 at the Culham Science Centre in Oxfordshire (UK).

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. It assumes no previous knowledge of the subject, but familiarity with electromagnetism and applied mathematics at first degree level would be helpful.

The 2023 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 visit the dedicated website. The deadline for applications is 19 June 2023.

MT-28: exhibition and sponsorship opportunities
06 Mar 2023
Visit the exhibition and sponsorship pages of the MT-28 website to find out more about participating as a company or an academic partner in this premier international forum for magnet-related technology and design. 

The 28th International Conference on Magnet Technology (MT-28), planned in Aix-en-Provence, France, during the week of 10 to 15 September 2023, is a unique opportunity to reach the superconducting magnet community, industry, and students and researchers. Multiple exhibition and sponsorship opportunities are available.

For all information, see the MT-28 website.

Europe: Technology Transfer Award 2023
03 Mar 2023
The European Domestic Agency for ITER, Fusion for Energy, seeks to reward the commercial use of fusion technologies in non-fusion markets. Its Technology Transfer Award 2023, open to European companies and organizations, comes with a prize of EUR 10,000.

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. 

Applications are open from 1 February 2023 to 19 May 2023 at this link.

Toward an Arab Initiative for Fusion Energy
17 Feb 2023
Under the patronage of H.R.H. Prince El Hassan Bin Talal of Jordan, the Al Hussein Technical University cordially invites you to a join a webinar that it is organizing on 8 March 2023.

The webinar, titled "Towards an Arab Initiative for Fusion Energy," will feature speakers Tim Luce, Chief Scientist at ITER; Prof. Tony Donné, CEO of EUROfusion; Prof. Sir Steven Cowley, Director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL); and Andrew Holland, CEO of the Fusion Industry Association.

Scan the QR code on the poster at right or click here to sign up.

MT-28: abstract submission extended
16 Feb 2023
The 28th International Conference on Magnet Technology (MT-28) will be held in Aix-en-Provence, France, during the week of 10 to 15 September 2023. The scientific program of MT-28—the preeminent international forum for magnet-related technology and design—will cover fusion, high-energy physics, power engineering and medical diagnosis. 

The deadline for submitting abstracts has been extended to 6 March 2023.

Don't miss the opportunity to submit your abstract now!

PhDiaFusion 2023 announced
14 Feb 2023
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.

Diagnostic measurements are essential in plasma experiments to infer the relevant plasma properties, both for physical interpretation and for real-time control. In modern fusion devices such as ITER, DEMO, or the DONES neutron facility, the huge amount of generated data may require fast and efficient processes to infer the physical quantities with a reasonable computational cost. The use of artificial intelligence can be of a great help to achieve this goal by feeding learning systems with experimental data and/or simulation results.

The 2023 edition of the PhDiaFusion Summer School will cover diagnostics data processing, interpretation, validation and real-time control aspects with a focus on artificial intelligence methods.

Join us for the next edition of PhDiaFusion from 19 to 23 June 2023 on the topic of "Artificial Intelligence for Plasma Diagnostics and Controlled Fusion." 

Register on line by 15 May 2023. See all information on this page

Commonwealth Fusion Systems opens 50-acre campus
13 Feb 2023
With a ceremonial event on 10 February, Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS) officially opened its new 50-acre campus in Devens, Massachusetts (USA). 

The campus is home to the company's corporate headquarters, an advanced manufacturing facility, and the building dedicated to SPARC—a compact 100 MW magnetic confinement fusion experiment now under construction.

CFS spun out of MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center as a private company in 2018 and is backed by more than $2 billion from the world's leading investors in clean energy.

Attending the event on campus were US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, US Senator Elizabeth Warren, US Senator Edward Markey, and US Representative Lori Trahan, Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, with other state and local leaders.

See the full news story here.

360° tour updated (January 2023)
13 Feb 2023
The virtual tour of ITER construction has been updated with 360° photos from January 2023. Enter the main ITER plant buildings or the machine assembly theatre to see what has changed since the last update in April 2022.

Accessible from the home page of the ITER website (yellow icon) or by clicking on the link below.

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

Fusion for Energy appoints new Director
10 Feb 2023
The Governing Board of Fusion for Energy (F4E), the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the Development of Fusion Energy, has appointed Marc Lachaise as Director.

Carlos Alejaldre, Chair of the F4E Governing Board, thanked all delegates for their cooperation and congratulated Marc Lachaise on their behalf. "We look forward to working with you in order to lead Europe's contribution to ITER, and its participation in various fusion projects aiming to demonstrate the full potential of this energy source."

Trained in engineering, Marc Lachaise worked for 27 years as part of the French EDF Group (Électricité de France), where most recently he was Deputy Head of Department for Nuclear Procurement (2015), then Contract Manager Director of the EDF Group (2018), and Supply Chain Control Director in the newly formed assurance function for the EDF New Build nuclear projects (2021).

"It is an honour to be appointed Director of Fusion for Energy and I promise to lead this organization and its staff with commitment, integrity and a truly collaborative spirit. During my career I have worked in the field of energy, building experience on management, supply chain, and big nuclear projects. I'm ready to offer my expertise to the fusion community because I'm truly convinced of its potential. The responsibility bestowed on me is also an opportunity to honour Europe's contribution to ITER, empower teams, and collaborate with our partners to deliver ITER."

Read the full report on the Fusion for Energy website.

The Road to 2050: fusion and other game changers
10 Feb 2023
"Science and technology have the potential to solve some of the most critical issues of our time, to improve our lives, and to inspire our curiosity about the world around us." 

This conviction, from the Franklin Institute's mission statement, animated the production of the Institute's new six-part documentary series, "The Road to 2050," where some of the world's top innovators take the viewer on a journey of exploration into the future, covering everything from environmental challenges to off-world expansion and the exciting possibilities of jetpacks and teleportation. 

Shira Tabachnikoff, ITER's Internal & Stakeholder Relations Manager, features in part two of the docuseries: "Act 2: Energy of the Future." Moving toward a world that is increasingly electrified, new, cleaner sources of energy will be needed. Fusion is one of the potential solutions, and minds around the world are working to make it happen. 

Access the full series on YouTube at this address.

(The 200-year-old Franklin Institute is a centre for science education and development located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.)


FuseNet Master Thesis Prize
31 Jan 2023
To stimulate excellence in fusion research, the European Fusion Education Network FuseNet awards the Master Thesis Prize to students who write outstanding Master's theses that were carried out and completed across Europe. The prizes serve as an acknowledgement of the excellent and important research that is carried out by fusion students.

The application period has been extended to 10 February 2023. To nominate your best students of the past year, please fill out the submission form at this address

For more information about the Master Thesis Prize 2022, see the FuseNet website.

Recent TEDx talks on fusion
30 Jan 2023
Worth watching: two recent TEDx talks featuring fusion and ITER.

In the first, "Why should we make a star on Earth?" EUROfusion's Tony Donné, explains the advantages of fusion--a baseload source clean and safe energy, power dense, requiring only small amounts of fuel and a small footprint for reactor construction, and without any long-lived radioactive waste. He touches on recent accomplishments in the field and the large numbers of industrial spinoffs that have already resulted from investment in fusion research.

In the second, "Entering the Fusion Energy Delivery Era," JET's Head of Operations Joe Milnes outlines a bright future for fusion, taking the audience from recent milestones in the fusion world to the turbo-charged current state of play and his hope for a fusion future, where all countries can build reactors based on fuels that are accessible to all. What are the breakthrough technologies that will help us access fusion electricity? What challenges still remain?

MT-28: Student program announced
30 Jan 2023
The 28th International Conference on Magnet Technology (MT-28) will be hosted by the ITER Organization and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in Aix-en-Provence, France, during the week of 10 to 15 September 2023

The MT-28 Local Organizing Committee (LOC) team has planned a dynamic student program to make MT-28 a moment to remember for all participating students. There are grant opportunities, short courses and workshops, best paper awards, recruitment and career opportunities, and fun extracurricular events.

See this page for a description of all student events and opportunities.

And a reminder to all: abstract submission is open now through 20 February 2023.

The Financial Times on fusion
23 Jan 2023
In Fusion Power: How Close Are We?, Simon Mundy from the Financial Times introduces his viewers to the quest for fusion energy, described as "one of the hottest and most controversial topics within the push for clean energy."

Through interviews with scientists, engineers and investors in the United Kingdom, the United States and France—including Director-General Pietro Barabaschi, Head of Science Tim Luce, and Postdoctoral Fellow Valentina Nikolaeva from ITER—Mundy captures the growing enthusiasm for the potential of fusion energy, as national labs reach milestones and investment in the field from both public and private sources is growing.

Watch the 28-minute documentary here.

Register for Episode 4 of the IAEA's "Breakthroughs" series
11 Jan 2023
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) organizes regular webinars focusing on the latest breakthroughs and landmark achievements announced in fusion R&D. The series aims to give an overview and put in perspective ground-breaking results, to understand how such progress brings fusion energy closer to realization.

In the next episode (#4) on 19 January 2023, experts from the US DOE Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) National Ignition Facility (NIF) will present results from its recent historic fusion breakthrough—scientific energy gain for the first time in a fusion experiment.

Follow this link to register.

Doctoral program APPLAuSE: apply by 3 February
11 Jan 2023
The Instituto de Plasmas e Fusão Nuclear (IPFN) invites applications for its Doctoral Program in Plasma Science and Engineering, APPLAuSE, from eligible candidates by 3 February 2023 (for a September 2023 start, full time).

Successful applicants, up to a maximum of three, will benefit from a four-year doctoral scholarship supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology. The official language of APPLAuSE is English.

For more information and to apply, see this IPFN webpage.

Reminder: Submit your abstract for MT-28
09 Jan 2023
The 28th International Conference on Magnet Technology (MT-28) will be held in Aix-en-Provence, France, during the week of 10 to 15 September 2023. Abstract submission is open through 20 February 2023.

For the first time in four years, the MT-28—the international forum for magnet-related technology and design—will bring participants together in person. The conference offers all participants increased networking opportunities and interactive sessions.

The lead areas of the scientific program are fusion, high-energy physics, power engineering and medical diagnosis. In addition to plenary debates we offer opportunities for exchanges with industries and for career management. An industrial exhibition, an active program for students, as well as opportunities to visit the nearby ITER site will round out the event.

Don't miss this opportunity to submit your abstract now!

The MT-28 Local Organizing Committee

Apply now to the FUSION-EP Master's program
03 Jan 2023
Applications are open through 15 February 2023 for the next wave of the FUSION-EP Master's program (September 2023 start). Scholarships are available to top-ranked candidates. 

The ideal candidate has, or is in the process of obtaining, a Bachelor's degree or recognized equivalent (minimum 3 years of study, 180 ECTS or more) in physics or engineering (nuclear, materials, chemical, electrical). Students from all countries can apply. The program language is English.

The FUSION-EP program aims to train the next generations of magnetic confinement fusion physicists and engineers. It offers high-level, multinational, research-oriented education in fusion-related engineering or physics in close relation to the research activities of the partners, including the ITER Organization.

More information about the program can be found on the dedicated website. To apply, click here.

See the 2022 IAEA survey of fusion devices
03 Jan 2023
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has just released its 2022 worldwide survey of public and private fusion devices that are currently in operation, under construction or in the planning stages.

The publication, which lists just over 130 devices/projects, is intended to complement and further elaborate on the IAEA's online database, the Fusion Device Information System (FusDIS). Together, they provide a global overview of fusion research and development activities from the perspective of device capabilities.

Download the pdf of the "World Survey of Fusion Devices 2022" or order a printed copy at this address.


Apply now for an ITER internship
13 Dec 2022
The ITER Organization has opened its 2023 internship program with the publication of 66 offers on the ITER website. These opportunities are geared toward undergraduate and postgraduate students, with a broad array of topics across scientific, technical and support departments. Applicants must hold a passport from one of the countries participating in the ITER Project (the People's Republic of China, the European Union, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the USA).

See this page to apply before 15 February 2023 (or 1 January 2023 for internships beginning in Q1 2023).

An ITER stop on the highway to the Alps
12 Dec 2022
There are many ways to promote ITER and to reach out to the general public: Open Doors Days, site visits, exhibitions, conferences, publications, press interviews...

The year 2022 saw all of the above in terms of ITER Organization outreach, and one newcomer was added to the list—an outdoor exhibit at a rest stop on highway A51 north of the ITER site.

Organized in a circle, five large exterior panels tell the story of fusion energy and ITER through written and interactive content (through QR codes). For the thousands and thousands who travel the road heading north toward the Alps, it is a reminder that the region is home to a major international scientific collaboration that is building the world's largest tokamak. 

The exhibit was inaugurated on 12 December in the presence of the local authorities, representatives for Vinci Autoroutes (highway) and Argedis TotalEnergies (service station), and Head of the ITER Engineering Domain Alain Bécoulet.

--Left to right: Damien Laffon de Colonges, Vinci Autoroutes Director, south-east region; Jerome Dubois, Mayor of Volx; and ITER Alain Bécoulet.

12th ITER International School: registration is open
08 Dec 2022
Registration is open now for the 12th ITER International School, which will be held from 26 to 30 June 2023 in Aix-en-Provence, France.

Hosted by Aix-Marseille University, the 2023 school will address a particularly timely and multidisciplinary topic—"The Impact and Consequences of Energetic Particles on Fusion Plasmas." Plasma self-heating by fusion-born alpha-particles, the influence of energetic particles on stability, how to diagnose energetic particle transport and loss, and the understanding of runaway electrons are all part of the planned scientific program.

Click here to see the School website and for further information about registration.

--Cutting-edge predictive simulation with the ORB5 code [T. Hayward-Schneider] showing a fast ion driven instability (n=12 Toroidal Alfvén Eigenmode) in ITER.

Abstract submission opens for MT-28
07 Dec 2022
The 28th International Conference on Magnet Technology (MT-28) will be held in Aix-en-Provence, France, during the week of 10 to 15 September 2023. Abstract submission is open now through 20 February 2023.

MT-28 is the major international forum for magnet-related technology and design. Conference aims are threefold: to diffuse into the scientific community information about new applications for magnets; to encourage an exchange between research activities and industrial applications; and to encourage professional scientists and engineers to follow careers in magnets. It will be supported in 2023 by the fusion project ITER, with opportunities to visit the nearby ITER site and see the huge ITER superconducting magnets in various stages of manufacturing and assembly.

The foundation of the conference remains the scientific program, with conference presenters having the opportunity to submit papers to a special edition of the prestigious IEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity (impact factor > 1.9). 

Please see this website for abstract submission.

ITER featured on the Italian channel RAI
07 Dec 2022
Follow the RAI team as it discovers the ITER Project through the eyes of three Italian members of ITER staff: Federico Forunato, a Section Leader in the Field Engineering Installation Division; Mario Merola, Head of the Plant Construction Department; and Sergio Orlandi, Head of the Engineering Design Department.

The 4-minute feature "Fusione nucleare," which aired on the RAI2 TV show Re Start on 21 November 2022, can be seen in replay at this address.


FuseNet Master's Thesis Prize 2022
07 Dec 2022
Thesis supervisors are invited to nominate a student for the 2022 FuseNet Master Thesis Prize by 1 February 2023.

FuseNet will award the prizes to students who write outstanding Master's theses that were (at least partially) carried out and completed across Europe. The prizes serve to highlight the important research that is carried out by dedicated and talented fusion students.

See more about the 2021 winners here.

Learn more about the nomination process on the FuseNet website.

Tree lighting ceremony
05 Dec 2022
The ITER community gathers on 2 December around the Christmas tree offered by ITER's neighbours and hosts, the town of Saint-Paul-lez-Durance. At the foot of the tree is the Provençal crèche, with the traditional nativity scene plus figures that depict village life such as The Mayor, The Lace-Maker, The Apothecary, and the Shepherd (bowing into the fierce Mistral wind). A tree has been delivered to the ITER Organization by the town of Saint-Paul-lez-Durance for 11 consecutive years—ever since ITER Headquarters opened in 2012.

--From left to right: Eisuke Tada, Deputy of the Director-General; Romain Buchaut, Mayor of Saint Paul; and Laban Coblentz, Head of Communication.

EUROfusion research grants awarded
28 Nov 2022
EUROfusion grant programs aim to promote the education and training of a new generation of scientists and engineers in the fusion field.

EUROfusion Engineering Grants (EEG) are open to early career engineers within three years after their Master or PhD (or six years if relevant professional (industry) experience can be demonstrated). They enable selected candidates to specialize in a EUROfusion-relevant engineering topic.

EUROfusion research grants (ERG)—now renamed the EUROfusion Bernard Bigot Researcher Grants in honour of the former ITER Director-General—are attributed at postdoctoral level or equivalent to develop innovative ideas and techniques to advance EUROfusion's Roadmap to Fusion Energy.

The results of the latest campaign have just been announced by EUROfusion, with a total of 22 beneficiaries.

Click to read about the awardees under the EEG and ERG programs.

Following repairs, JT-60SA commissioning to restart in 2023
28 Nov 2022
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—could restart cooldown operations and coil energization as early as March 2023, according to an article published by Fusion for Energy (Barcelona), the implementing agency for Euratom.

In 2021, a short circuit at the terminals of one of the machine's largest poloidal field coils had necessitated a pause in commissioning and a thorough assessment and analysis. One year of repair and further testing is now behind the joint Japan-Europe team, and plans are being laid for the restart of commissioning and possible first plasma next year.

See the full report on the Fusion for Energy website

ITER Talks | The ITER Test Blanket Module Program
21 Nov 2022
ITER will procure the tritium fuel necessary for its research program from the global inventory. But the fusion power reactors of the future will have to produce all of the tritium fuel they require for operation from within their own vessels.

ITER's Tritium Breeding Module (TBM) Program, involving the ITER Organization and all seven ITER Members, is a research activity that will run in parallel to the main ITER research program. In this latest ITER Talk, Luciano Giancarli, head of the Tritium Breeding Blanket System Section, explains how ITER will provide a unique opportunity to test the feasibility of tritium breeding. 

First, he walks us through the principles behind tritium breeding—what a breeding blanket looks like, how to achieve it in principle, and in practice, and what are the potential candidates for breeding blanket materials. Next, he delves into the ITER TBM Program, which aims to test complete tritium breeding blanket mockups in reactor-relevant conditions. Space allocations in the machine and four initial TBM concepts have already been decided.

Finally, he describes the objectives of the test program and how they fit into the ITER Research Plan.

Watch the tenth episode of ITER Talks here.

See the full ITER Talks playlist on YouTube here.

2021-2022 photobook: JAPAN Edition
21 Nov 2022
The Japanese Domestic Agency has released a JAPAN Edition of the 2021-2022 ITER Organization photobook.

The main difference from the original? A significantly expanded gallery of manufacturing photos from Japan. See pages 76 to 90 for an idea of the broad expertise and knowhow that ITER Japan suppliers are bringing to bear in completing their commitments to the ITER Project.

Powerful gyrotron devices, robotic manipulators, advanced diagnostics, precise divertor targets, superconducting magnets ... view, or download, the JAPAN Edition of the 2021-2022 ITER Organization photobook here.

Watch the COP27 panel discussion "Fusion: Clean Energy for All"
15 Nov 2022
Tuesday 15 November was Energy Day at the COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, and fusion was part of the discussion through a panel called "Fusion: Clean Energy for All" (UNFCCC Pavilion).

The one-hour discussion was hosted by Gabriela Hearst, Creative Director of Chloé, and moderated by Jane Hotchkiss of the NGO Energy for the Common Good. Invited panelists were: Tim Bestwick, Chief Technical Officer at the UKAEA; David Livingston, Senior Advisor in the office of US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry; Jennifer Ganten, Chief Movement Builder at Commonwealth Fusion Systems (US); and Jessie Barton, Communications Lead at Helion Energy (US).

You can watch the full replay of the discussion here.

Open call: Fusion technology transfer award
14 Nov 2022
If you are a European company registered in a Fusion for Energy (F4E) member country, you can apply by 17 February 2023 to F4E's Technology Transfer Fusion Demonstrator Project Award.

The award (EUR 35,000) will go to a company that sees a use for its fusion technology outside of the traditional fusion market. 

In collaboration with In Extenso Innovation Croissance, Fusion for Energy seeks to unleash your entrepreneurial potential by helping you to carry out a project that integrates a fusion technology in a non-fusion application.

To read more about the requirements and guidelines, see this open call.

For more information about F4E's Technology Transfer Marketplace, click here.

ITER @ Falling Walls, Berlin
14 Nov 2022
For three days every year, the Falling Walls Science Summit in Berlin invites some of the most important researchers and thinkers of the day to discuss "Which are the next walls to fall in science and society?" with global leaders in science, politics, business, and the media.

During the 2022 edition, a panel titled "Advances in Fusion Technology/Breakthrough in Unlimited Energy Generation" was animated by Constantin Häfner, Managing Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT; Peter Leibinger, Vice Chairman and CTO of TRUMPF (high-tech manufacturing solutions); ITER's Chief Scientist Tim Luce; and Vinod Philip, Member of the Executive Board of Siemens Energy. The discussion was moderated by plasma physicist Melanie Windridge, Founder of Fusion Energy Insights

The main takeaway of the 50-minute discussion was that fusion energy should no longer be considered a "technology of the future." Just as mature science is converging with increasingly powerful technologies such as AI and computer modelling, there is a real interest—and real investment—by governments and the private sector. It is a good time for industry to get involved, both from the point of view of helping to solve the technical challenges that remain and for the kind of long-term visionary bets that can help accelerate the emergence of a fusion industry.  

Replay the livestream of the event on the Falling Walls website here (from 6:26:50 to 7:18:16).

12th ITER International School announced for June 2023
08 Nov 2022
The 12th ITER International School will be held from 26 to 30 June 2023, hosted by Aix-Marseille University in Aix-en-Provence, France.

The subject of the 2023 school is "The Impact and Consequences of Energetic Particles on Fusion Plasmas" with a scientific program coordinated by Simon Pinches (ITER Organization). As the start of ITER operations approaches, it is timely to address this multidisciplinary topic that includes plasma self-heating by fusion-born alpha-particles, the influence of energetic particles on stability, diagnosing energetic particle transport and loss, and understanding runaway electrons.

Click here for further information on the 2023 school. Find out more about past schools here.

--Cutting-edge predictive simulation with the ORB5 code [T. Hayward-Schneider] showing a fast ion driven instability (n=12 Toroidal Alfvén Eigenmode) in ITER.

Two new European Commission videos on fusion and ITER
03 Nov 2022
The European Commission's DG ENER (unit D4) has produced two new videos on ITER and fusion. The first (ITER - Technology) focuses on European Union investment in fusion over the years and explains the basic principles of fusion; the second (ITER - Ecology) showcases fusion as a possible future source of clean, efficient and reliable energy.

Watch ITER-Technology here.
Watch ITER-Ecology here.
See all language versions on this page.

ITER wins "Construction Story of the Year" award
03 Nov 2022
The B1M, a popular video channel for construction, architecture and engineering, and the Nemetschek Group, a leading software providers for the same industries, named ITER as the Construction Story of the Year award on 2 November 2022 in Munich.

The expert judging panel was "particularly impressed by the extraordinary levels of collaboration between the construction team, and the scheme's propensity to inspire future generations of engineers."

"ITER is a remarkable project that impressively demonstrates what the construction industry is able to achieve. The team has come together collaborating across international borders working on a massive project scale inspiring this and future generations of engineers and all roles contributing to our built world. The project team has proven that working together knows no bounds—regardless of segment, trade or project size, amazing goals can be realized," said Don Jacob, VP Technology and Innovation, Build & Construct Division at the Nemetschek Group.

The Construction Story of the Year program aims to highlight the world's most impressive and inspiring construction stories, seeking out amazing projects, ideas or initiatives that show the best of the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. It aims particularly to highlight innovation in the construction industry and projects that represent its digital transformation. 

Read press releases from The B1M and the Nemetschek Group.

See the video published about ITER by The B1M channel in April 2022.

--Jens Reich, Head of ITER's Vessel Delivery and Assembly Division (centre) at the ceremony in Munich on 2 November 2022, alongside The B1M founder Fred Mills (left) and Nemetschek's VP of Technology and Innovation, Build and Construct Division, Don Jacob (right).

New partnership on fusion energy education and training
02 Nov 2022
The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently signed an agreement to forge a partnership to strengthen education, training, and outreach programs in nuclear fusion research all over the world.

Steve Cowley, PPPL director, and Mikhail Chudakov, IAEA deputy director general and head of the Department of Nuclear Energy, signed the agreement at the 66th IAEA General Conference on Sept. 28 in Vienna.

The goal of the program is to help train the next generation of scientists, engineers and technicians who can contribute to develop fusion energy as a clean, green and plentiful source of electricity, Cowley said. The IAEA, which is based in Vienna, is the world organization for intergovernmental cooperation in the nuclear field, with 175 member states.

See the full announcement on the PPPL website.


New partner from Norway for EUROfusion
25 Oct 2022
The Arctic University of Norway (UiT) has joined the EUROfusion consortium as an associate partner.

UiT's dedicated plasma research centre in Tromsø, DYNAMO, has collaborated for years with European fusion labs on stand-alone projects. With UiT's associate membership comes an observer status in EUROfusion's decision making body and full access to the consortium's research data and facilities such as jointly operated fusion devices and computing centres.

See the full announcement on the EUROfusion website.

General Atomics announces a pilot fusion plant
24 Oct 2022
General Atomics, the American company that operates the DIII-D National Fusion Facility for the US Department of Energy, announced plans on 20 October 2022 for a steady-state, compact fusion power plant based on an advanced tokamak design.

According to Wayne Solomon, Vice President of Magnetic Fusion Energy at General Atomics, the company's practical approach to a fusion power plant (FPP) is "...the culmination of more than six decades of investments in fusion research and development, the experience we have gained from operating the DIII-D National Fusion Facility..., and the hard work of countless dedicated individuals. This is a truly exciting step towards realizing fusion energy."

The facility would utilize the company's proprietary Fusion Synthesis Engine (FUSE) to enable engineers, physicists, and operators to rapidly perform a broad range of studies and continuously optimize the power plant for maximum efficiency. General Atomics has also developed an advanced modular concept (GAMBL) for the breeding blanket which is a critical component (of the fusion power facility) that breeds tritium, a fusion energy fuel source, to make the fusion fuel cycle self-sufficient.

Read the full press release here.

FuseNet Master Event: sign up now
24 Oct 2022
The second edition of the FuseNet Master Event will take place on Tuesday 22 November 2022. The event will be held fully online on the Gathertown platform. All master's students in fusion-related fields are invited to join the event.

The day is filled with interesting talks by top scientists, introductions to fusion start-ups and ITER-related companies, and chances to meet your fellow students. 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? This event is for you.

More information on the program can be found on the registrations page. See you there!

ITER Talks | The Integrated Control System
24 Oct 2022
"The ITER control system performs the functional integration of the ITER plant and enables integrated and automated operation."

With the ninth talk in the series, we have the opportunity to take a deep dive into a less familiar part of the ITER Project—integrated control. Without it, the vast plant and the machine itself couldn't operate. System by system, what are the requirements? How has the overall architecture been designed? What protocols are respected by the software? What special role for the safety control system? And finally, what is the status on site?

Anders Wallander—Head of the ITER Controls Division—is our guide to "the brain of ITER."

Watch the ninth episode of ITER Talks here.

See the full ITER Talks playlist on YouTube here.


Applications open: Fusion Research Fellowships
20 Oct 2022
The UK Atomic Energy Authority is accepting applications now through 16 December 2022 for its Fusion Research Fellowships. These aim to appoint outstanding scientists or engineers who have recently completed (or will soon complete) a doctorate to a two-year research fellowship in any field of fusion research. Fellowships start in summer of 2023 and can be based at either UKAEA's Culham or Rotherham site.

For more details and to apply, see  Any queries, please contact Chris Warrick at

Fusion for Energy appoints new ad interim Director
10 Oct 2022
Following the appointment of Pietro Barabaschi as Director-General of the ITER Organization, the Governing Board of the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy (F4E) has appointed his replacement. Mr Barabaschi had been Acting Director of Fusion for Energy since June 2022. 

Jean-Marc Filhol is the new Fusion for Energy Director ad interim beginning 16 October 2022 and until the formal appointment of the new Director.

In thanking the members of the Governing Board for their trust, Jean-Marc Filhol highlighted his priorities for this interim period: "I will work together with the rest of the Senior Team to ensure a smooth operation of F4E and preserve a peaceful working environment for all staff, to support the new ITER Organization Director-General in the restructuring of the ITER project and the integration of ITER Organization and F4E, and to prepare the ground for the new F4E Director."

A French national, Mr Filhol has been with F4E since August 2011 and has occupied several senior management positions as Head of ITER Department and Head of ITER-Programme Department. In his role of European Domestic Agency representative in the ITER project since 2015, he has represented F4E to the ITER Organization and Domestic Agencies, in the Executive Project Board, and at other ITER governance bodies.

See the original report at Fusion for Energy.

FUSION22 Conference: Sign up to attend on line
27 Sep 2022
On Tuesday 18 October 2022, the London Science Museum will host FUSION22: The World Needs Fusion Energy. This hybrid event, which can be attended on line or in person, will showcase the incredible developments taking place in fusion all over the world. 

Why do we need fusion energy? How will fusion change the world? What is the path to commercial fusion? What innovations are needed? What benefits from fusion R&D and spinoff technologies for your business? What does investing in fusion look like? (See the full agenda here.)

"Whether you're coming to fusion energy for the first time or have been involved in its development since the beginning, you'll find engaging, thought provoking and insightful sessions to fit your needs," say the organizers of the event. 

The event is free. See this website to register to attend on line.

European Fusion Teacher Day: 14 October
21 Sep 2022
The European Fusion Education Network, FuseNet, is organizing its third annual European Fusion Teacher Day on 14 October 2022. Open to all secondary school science and physics teachers in Europe, the fully virtual event aims to introduce educators to nuclear fusion and demonstrate 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 on what is going on in the field of fusion in your geographical zone. After the local sessions, participants will come together for a global livestream with presentations by keynote speakers and the distribution of free educational resources. The ITER Organization is one of the featured participants during the global livestream. 

Participation is free and registration is open now. Register before 1 October here.

SOFT Innovation Prize: three researchers awarded
20 Sep 2022
On 19 September, the European Commission revealed the winners of the 2022 edition of the SOFT Innovation Prize. This prize, awarded at the 32nd Symposium on Fusion Technology (SOFT2022), gives recognition to outstanding researchers or industries who have found innovative ideas or proposed new solutions in fusion research.

This year's winners are:

First prize (€50,000): GRATUL (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Forschungszentrum Jülich) for the development of plasma sprayed, functionally graded tungsten/EUROFER coating as protective for the first wall of future fusion power plants. This technology was successfully transferred to industry, achieving a new record in coating large first wall mockups. The functional grading, which led to outstanding heat flux resistance, opens up the potential deployment of this innovation in other components of fusion technology, in high-voltage components, and in the concentrated solar power sector.

Second prize (€30,000): D1SUNED (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, UNED) for the development of an improved radiation transport code for dose rate evaluation in fusion application. Due to their high energy, fusion neutrons are penetrating deeply in the facility producing direct and indirect radiation fields whose evaluation is a challenging task. The D1SUNED provides a powerful tool to calculate and analyze these radiation fields required for safety and radioprotection studies that must be addressed properly during the design phase to secure successful licensing.

Third prize (€20,000): Dia Disk (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Diamond Materials GmbH) for the development of diamond window technology in high-power microwave applications as a vacuum barrier and confinement barrier for hazardous materials. The achieved higher disk diameter results in a substantially increased energy efficiency of the deposition process of diamond.

See the full announcement here.

Top ITER scientist testifies at US Senate Committee
20 Sep 2022
On 15 September 2022, the US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a "Hearing on the Federal Government's Role in Supporting the Commercialization of Fusion Energy."

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Joe Manchin, had visited the ITER Project in France in March 2022. He opened the meeting by evoking the visit, saying that it left him "profoundly reflective of the potential of [fusion] technology to transform our energy future." The purpose of the hearing was to hear from a panel of experts on what they are doing to bring this "exciting technology" to fruition and to ask: What can the federal government do to help?

On the witness panel was: Dr Scott Hsu, Lead Fusion Coordinator, Office of the Undersecretary for Science and Innovation, Department of Energy; Professor Steven Cowley, Director, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory; Dr. Tim Luce, Chief Scientist and Head of the Science & Operation Domain at the ITER Organization; Dr. Bob Mumgaard, CEO and Co-Founder, Commonwealth Fusion Systems.

You can watch the archived webcast here.

You can access the testimony of Tim Luce here.

SOFT conference opens in Dubrovnik
19 Sep 2022
The 32nd annual Symposium on Fusion Technology (SOFT) has opened in the Croatian city Dubrovnik. 

The biennial symposium on fusion technology is the most important conference in the field in Europe, bringing together scientists, engineers, industry representatives and exhibitors from all over the world and focusing on the latest developments in fusion experiments and activities. SOFT includes invited, oral and poster presentations, as well as industry and R&D exhibitions.

SOFT 2022 is organized by the Ruđer Bošković Institute (RBI) from 18-23 September in a hydrid format. ITER's Alain Bécoulet, Head of the Engineering Domain, opened the first plenary session on Monday 19 September with a talk on the status of ITER procurement and assembly. During a satellite event in the afternoon, the SOFT 2022 Industry Day, numerous business opportunities in fusion for European industry were presented by representatives of the ITER Organization, Fusion for Energy (F4E), EUROfusion, and the Consorcio IFMIF-DONES España.

The ITER Organization is present throughout the week with the ITER stand. In this photo, the newly appointed ITER Director-General Pietro Barabaschi (right) is at the stand with Alain Bécoulet.

See the conference website for more about SOFT 2022.

An award for Sergio Orlandi, given and received in Latin
19 Sep 2022
Sergio Orlandi's mastery of Latin—a language he considers "more perfect than mathematics"—proved precious when, on 15 September, he was awarded an Honorary Professorship from the University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Poland.

In Poland, Latin is the language universities use in such circumstances. The Rector of the University pronounced his speech in Latin, Sergio's laudation was issued in Latin, and it is in Latin that the Head of the ITER Plant Construction Department responded.

What connects Sergio and the University of Life Sciences in Lublin is his experience in the nuclear field and his reflexion on sustainable energy as a member of the European Academy of Science and Arts, and as the Dean of the Academy's Technical and Environmental Science commission. His experience in the construction of Chernobyl's "sarcophagus" following the nuclear plant's 1986 accident, and also in the management of the liquid waste from the devastated reactors was also an important factor in the connexion between the nuclear engineer and the university. Lublin is located 600 kilometres from the site of the accident, and Poland is understandably quite concerned by the fallout that ensued.

In Lublin, switching from Latin to English, Sergio gave a talk titled "Flying into Nuclear Fission and Fusion Technologies in the Short and Medium Term." He will soon be back to Latin and to his favourite bedside book—Ovid's Metamorphoses.

Hurrah for new books!
12 Sep 2022
School is back in session in France! And at the International School of Manosque, students in the Chinese Section are the beneficiaries of a new set of textbooks thanks to the generosity of the Chinese Domestic Agency, which shipped ten boxes of books and materials in time for the new school year.

ASCENDANT podcast: Live at ITER
01 Sep 2022
Andrew Crusoe takes the listeners of the ASCENDANT podcast on site at ITER in August to explore the power and potential of fusion, and find out how ITER is posed "to create technology that will allow an abundance of clean, renewable energy."

ITER Communication's Sabina Griffith explains how interest in fusion got started, why it stalled after the oil crises of the 1970s, and why it is so important. Is fusion energy the key to our green, renewable future?

You can listen to the 45-minute podcast "Live at ITER: A Sun in a Bottle & The Way to Our Fusion Future" (ASCENDANT podcast 1:13) at this link.

Last chance to register for beryllium workshops BeWS-15 and BeYOND-IX
30 Aug 2022
Registration for the 15th International Workshop on Beryllium Technology (BeWS-15) and the 9th Industrial Forum on Beryllium Opportunities & New Developments (BeYOND-IX) closes this week on Wednesday 31 August. See this link for all information.

The workshops are organized by Kartlsruhe Institute of Technology and will be held in conjunction with the 32nd SOFT-2022, which is taking place in Dubrovnik, Croatia, from 18 to 23 September 2022 ( Sessions on fusion blanket design, breeder/mulitplier materials, and risks and regulations are planned as part of the program.

See all information here.

Russian electrotechnical equipment delivered
25 Aug 2022
On 3 August 2022, the last of 14 trucks of Russian electrotechnical equipment was delivered to ITER at the DAHER warehouse in Port-Saint-Louis-du-Rhône, where mid-sized components are stored pending their transfer to the ITER site.

The delivery included a large number of high-current DC busbars (photo), which provide power supply to the ITER magnet system superconducting coils and are designed for long-term flow of direct current at 55 kA. In addition, DC switches, energy-dissipating resistors, and elements of control and cooling systems were part of the shipment. All of the equipment is destined for one of ITER's most crucial systems—power supply, without which it would be impossible to reach First Plasma. 

The material represented the 25th delivery of electrotechnical equipment developed and manufactured at the Efremov Institute (NIIEFA) in Saint Petersburg on behalf of the ROSATOM State Corporation. The manufacturing is being carried out under the terms of the Procurement Arrangement for switching networks, fast discharge units, DC busbars and instrumentation, concluded in 2011 between the ITER Organization and Russian Domestic Agency. 

--ITER Russia

London Science Museum to host FUSION22
24 Aug 2022
On Tuesday 18 October 2022, the London Science Museum will host FUSION22: The World Needs Fusion Energy. This hybrid event, which can be attended on line or in person, will showcase the incredible developments taking place in fusion all over the world. 

"Whether you're coming to fusion energy for the first time or have been involved in its development since the beginning, you'll find engaging, thought provoking and insightful sessions to fit your needs," say the organizers of the event. Events planned throughout the day include: "What Fusion Needs: Solutions To Technical Challenges,"How Will Fusion Make The Transition To An Industry?" and "The Energy Jigsaw: Where Does Fusion Fit Into The Future Energy Mix?"

The event is free. See this website to register.

--© Science Museum


Women in Big Science recognition awards
24 Aug 2022
The Big Science Business Forum (BSBF 2022) is a business oriented congress planned in Granada (Spain) from 4 to 7 October 2022. All the principal European research infrastructures will be present for a forum that aims to be the main meeting point between research infrastructure and industry.

This will be the second edition of the event after the success of the previous edition in Copenhagen, with more than 1,000 participants from 500 organizations and 29 countries in attendance.

Registration is still open at this address.

On 4 October, a side event—Woman in Science—will provide a platform where public organizations and industries operating in Big Science can share the experience, lessons learned and best practices on policies to increase the participation of women. It will also offer the participants a framework for networking.

The roundtable will conclude with the presentation of the Awards on Best Practices to recognize the efforts of companies and organizations toward improving gender equality in the work environment at different levels. To learn more about the award and modalities to apply, click here. The deadline is 18 September 2022 at 12:00 CET.

French YouTuber is back with a second video
17 Aug 2022
The French YouTuber and scientific populizer Dimitri Ferrière, alias Monsieur Bidouille, has published a second video on the ITER Project.

His first video, based on a three-day visit to the ITER worksite, introduced the project to over one million viewers in September 2021. This month, he is back with a video that reviews recent developments in the world of fusion, including startup projects, and compares their scope and ambition with ITER.

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

Recruiting: European agency for ITER seeks new Director
04 Aug 2022
Fusion for Energy (F4E), the European Union organization managing Europe's contribution to ITER, is currently seeking to recruit a new Director.

The Director will be appointed as a member of staff of F4E for a period of five years, which may be extended once in accordance with the F4E statutes. The Director is the chief executive officer responsible for the day-to-day management of F4E and is its legal representative.

F4E manages the European contribution to ITER, and is also involved in three major fusion R&D projects stemming from the Broader Approach Agreement signed between Europe and Japan. The agency is currently staffed by approximately 440 employees and 400 external contractors.

Read the full announcement on the F4E website here.

Go straight to the vacancy notice here.

Massive increases in "private" fusion investment
25 Jul 2022
Investment in private fusion companies has more than doubled in the past year and eight new companies have been founded, bringing the total to around 33.

According to the global fusion industry 2022 Report, six companies have now each raised over $200m in total, with notable investments in the last year including over $1.8 billion for Commonwealth Fusion Systems and $500m for Helion Energy, allowing them to develop pilot plants to demonstrate fusion electricity.

The huge step up in investment, coupled with increasing government support for fusion in the U.K. and the U.S., is increasing confidence within the fusion industry.

Andrew Holland, Chief Executive Officer of the Fusion Industry Association, states in the report, "We must not see a 'competition' between publicly funded and privately funded fusion approaches; instead, we must build real partnerships [...] With investment accelerating, it is increasingly likely that commercial fusion will become a reality within the next two decades, providing the basis for prosperity, safety, and security for many years to come."

Photo: Commonwealth Fusion Systems and its SPARC project raised over $1.8 billion last year.

Read the full article in Forbes.


Gallery: 5 European sectors, different stages
22 Jul 2022
In advance of the delivery of the first European vacuum vessel sector this autumn, the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy has released a new series of photos from the European workshops in Italy where the sub-parts of five sectors are manufactured and assembled.

At Mangiarotti S.p.A (Monfalcone), see the final activities underway on sector #5, which will be the first to arrive. The four sub-segments have been welded into the final D shape and detailed inspections are underway.

At Walter Tosto S.p.A (Chieti), technicians on working on multiple sectors, performing welding, inserting in-wall shielding, and carrying out inspections.

And at Belleli Energy EPC (Mantova), one poloidal segment is shown in the radiographic testing bunker, while others are prepared for welding, or cleaned during final inspection.

Fusion for Energy (F4E), managing the European contribution to ITER, has entrusted the fabrication of five European vacuum vessel sectors to the AMW consortium (Ansaldo Nucleare, Mangiarotti, Walter Tosto) and their subcontractors ENSA, Belleli. Completion figures range between 81% (Sector #2) and 97% (Sector #5). 
See the photos on the Fusion for Energy Flickr page (May 2022).
EUROfusion 2023 researcher grants open for application
18 Jul 2022
Two EUROfusion grant programs aim to promote the education and training of a new generation of scientists and engineers in the fusion field.

EUROfusion Engineering Grants (EEG) are open to early career engineers within three years after their Master or PhD (or six years if relevant professional (industry) experience can be demonstrated). They enable selected candidates to specialize in a EUROfusion-relevant engineering topic.

EUROfusion research grants (ERG)—now renamed the EUROfusion Bernard Bigot Researcher Grants in honour of the former ITER Director-General—are attributed at postdoctoral level or equivalent to candidates who have defended their doctoral thesis in the two years preceding the submission deadline. Ten grants, for missions of up to two years, are foreseen for award every year.

Both calls are open until 13 September 2022. Applications should be submitted via one of the EUROfusion consortium members (acting as employing institute). See all details here.

See an article on the launch of the grants on the EUROfusion website here

Women in Fusion: website to go live
18 Jul 2022
Women in Fusion (WiF) is a new global platform for highlighting and encouraging the role of women in the field of fusion. This collaborative effort, driven by founding partners the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), ITER Organization, Fusion for Energy (F4E), General Atomics and EUROfusion, seeks to increase and promote the participation of women in fusion science, research, engineering and operations.

Women in Fusion was established in 2021 after a successful webinar at the Fusion Energy Conference (FEC2020). The Women in Fusion website, which will go live at around midnight CET on 18 July, creates a space for sharing experience, networking and promoting events and policies aligned with the group's mission.

Visit the website and join this week.

New ITER video: Going deeper and deeper into virtual reality
13 Jul 2022
The ITER Organization, in collaboration with colleagues from CEA Cadarache, is deploying advanced virtual reality tools that allow users to interact with objects inside of a real-scale simulation. Immersed in a virtual 3D environment, designers can detect clashes, carry out integration studies, and assess accessibility. Join Benoit Manfreo (Tokamak Integration Technical Officer) and Chiara di Paolo (ITER Project Associate) for a tour of the many possibilities.

See the video "Going deeper and deeper into virtual reality" on the ITER YouTube channel here.

FuseNet Phd Event 2022: PechaKucha and networking
13 Jul 2022
The first in-person FuseNet PhD event in three years took place from 4 to 6 July in Padova, Italy, hosted by the University of Padova and Consorzio RFX. A full roster of 131 participants from 23 countries and 44 different institutes and universities took part.

The FuseNet PhD Event is the place where European fusion PhD students meet and interact with affirmed international fusion researchers, aiming to strengthen and expand the fusion research network.

This session's participants were able to tour the Consorzio RFX facilities, including the ITER Neutral Beam Test Facility and the reversed field pinch device RFX-mod2.

See the full news story on the FuseNet website.

Gyrotrons and tetrodes for fusion (Thales)
27 Jun 2022
Produced by the Microwave & Imaging Sub-Systems group of the French multinational Thales, which provides electrical systems and services for the aerospace, defence, transportation and security markets, this video describes the company's work to design and build radio frequency and microwave sources for the ITER Project.

The mastery of vacuum, high voltage and microwave technologies is critical to creating wave-generating sources of ITER's radiowave external heating systems. The company is bringing all of its expertise to bear to build the European-sourced gyrotrons of the electron cyclotron heating system and the tetrodes of ion cyclotron heating system and contribute to "a disruptive alternative" in the 21st century energy mix.

See "Radiofrequency and Microwave Sources for Fusion Energy" on YouTube

EPS Forum—where physics meets industry
20 Jun 2022
The first week of June, the European Physical Society (EPS) organized the EPS Forum for the first time. The aim of the conference, which took place at the Sorbonne University in Paris, was to connect young physicists with big science and industry.

No fewer than three Nobel Prize Laureates were among the speakers—Barry Barish, Serge Haroche and John Michael Kosterlitz—to present the latest developments in the fields of quantum technology, energy science, accelerators, high-energy particle and nuclear physics. The European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, and the Vice-President of the European Research Council, Andrzej Jajszczyk, opened the EPS Forum on the first day.

As one of the first scientific speakers, Alberto Loarte, Head of the ITER Science Division, presented the physics basis of ITER and the status of the project. The interest showed by the young audience was enormous—as the steady traffic to the joint ITER/FuseNet booth proved.

One physics student from Macedonia, still undecided about his professional future, was so interested that he boarded the fast train from Paris down to Aix-en-Provence to see ITER with his own eyes.

For more impressions from the first EPS Forum click here.

2d IAEA Workshop on Fusion Enterprises
14 Jun 2022
A virtual workshop organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on 11 and 12 July 2022 will bring together actors in the fusion community to discuss the commercialization of fusion energy.

What does market analysis tell us about the potential demand for fusion? What is fusion's place in the future energy mix? What steps remain to commercialization? What are the economic constraints?

Panels will also discuss recent trends in public and private investment, the enabling technologies that can accelerate deployment, and the incredibly dynamic fusion startup ecosystem. The ITER Organization's Taka Omae, Chief Strategist, will participate in Session 6 "Future Considerations" on Day 2.

Monday 20 June is the last day to register. See this page for all information.

Bottling the Sun: a CNN report on ITER and fusion
03 Jun 2022
"From a small hill in the southern French region of Provence, you can see two suns. One has been blazing for four-and-a-half billion years and is setting. The other is being built by thousands of human minds and hands, and is—far more slowly—rising. The last of the real sun's evening rays cast a magical glow over the other—an enormous construction site that could solve the biggest existential crisis in human history."

Follow journalist Boštjan Videmšek and photographer Matjaž Krivic as they take you through the science of fusion, the recent milestone at the JET tokamak, construction at ITER, and how fusion could become the "11th-hour hero" of the climate crisis.

See the article on the CNN website here.

IAEA Technical Meeting on Plasma Disruptions and their Mitigation
30 May 2022
The Second IAEA Technical Meeting on Plasma Disruptions and their Mitigation will take place at ITER Headquarters in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, France, from 19 to 22 July 2022, hosted by the Government of France through the ITER Organization. (A virtual connection will also be made available.) 

The event aims to serve as a forum to help coordinate experimental, theoretical and modelling work in the field of plasma disruptions with special emphasis on developing a solid basis for possible mitigation strategies in ITER and next generation fusion devices.

It aims to bring together junior and senior scientific fusion project leaders, plasma physicists, including theoreticians and experimentalists, and experts (researchers and engineers) in the field of plasma disruptions.

See all information at this link.

Helium-3: why go the Moon?
23 May 2022
Fusion can theoretically be achieved by several combinations of light elements such as hydrogen, helium or boron. However, in the present state of technology, the only fusion within our reach at industrial level is that of deuterium (D) and tritium (T), both isotopes of hydrogen. DT fusion however has one downside—it generates highly energetic neutrons that activate and alter the structures they bombard. (The good side of fusion neutrons is that they will be used to breed tritium from lithium inside the machine).

For decades, fusion physicists have pursued what is sometimes referred to as the "Holy Grail" of fusion: the fusion combinations that involve helium-3, which, instead of generating neutrons like in DT fusion, produce highly energetic protons. Advantages: no material activation or alteration and, protons being charged particles, the possibility of direct electricity generation (they can be manipulated by electric and magnetic fields). Downside: helium-3, which abounds on the Moon (hence the renewed interest for lunar exploration) is exceedingly rare on Earth.

Now, scientists at the University of California San Diego have discovered evidence that helium-3 could be much more abundant on Earth than previously known.

Led by Benjamin Birner, a postdoctoral scholar in geosciences, the team is developing tools and measurement methods to quantify the puzzling increase of helium-3 in the atmosphere, and understand where it could be coming from.

We might not need to go to the Moon, after all, to mine the fuels for second or third-generation fusion power plants.

Read the full story on Vice website.

ITER International School: pre-register before 1 June
23 May 2022
Pre-register before 1 June 2022 for this year's ITER International School on the topic of "ITER Plasma Scenarios and Control."

This in-person event will be held from 25 to 29 July 2022 at the University of California San Diego, hosted by the U.S. Burning Plasma Organization, the ITER Organization, UC San Diego, and General Atomics.

Most attendees will be graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and early career faculty and research staff working in fields relevant to the ITER program. Although the agenda will focus on topics of scenarios and control, attendees are not required to be working in these subfields. All nationalities, whether representing an ITER Member or not, are welcome.

To register, see this webpage.

360° tour updated (April 2022)
23 May 2022
The virtual tour of ITER construction has been updated with 360° photos from April 2022. Enter the main ITER plant buildings, fly over the worksite, and plunge 30 metres into the ITER Tokamak pit to see what has changed since the last update in September 2021.

Accessible from the home page of the ITER website (yellow icon) or by clicking on the link below.

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

New video on fusion from the Financial Times
27 Apr 2022
The Financial Times channel FT Rethink produces multimedia content that focuses on "the people, technology, strategies and systems moving us from an economy that is wasteful, idle, lopsided and dirty towards one that is circular, lean, inclusive and clean."

In a video published on 21 April 2022, the channel turns its lens to nuclear fusion and its "enormous potential" as an energy source.

Join host Anjana Ahuja to learn more about fusion science, recent breakthroughs in the field, and growing interest from private investors in "Making the heart of a star power the world."

Registration opens for the 2022 ITER International School
22 Apr 2022
Registration is open now for the 11th ITER International School. This in-person event will be held from 25 to 29 July 2022 at the University of California San Diego, hosted by the U.S. Burning Plasma Organization, the ITER Organization, UC San Diego, and General Atomics.

The subject of this year's school is "ITER Plasma Scenarios and Control." As the start of ITER operation approaches, it is timely to address this challenging multidisciplinary topic: the development of integrated operating scenarios and required plasma control to facilitate the ITER goals, particularly for plasmas self-heated by fusion-born alpha particles.

Most attendees will be graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and early career faculty and research staff working in fields relevant to the ITER program. Although the agenda will focus on topics of scenarios and control, attendees are not required to be working in these subfields. All nationalities, whether representing an ITER Member or not, are welcome.

The ITER International School is organized regularly with the goal of giving young scientists and engineers a taste of the stimulating, multi-disciplinary and challenging field that is nuclear fusion.

For all information on the 2022 edition and to register, see this webpage.

The B1M construction channel visits ITER
14 Apr 2022
The B1M—the world's largest, most subscribed-to video channel for construction—aims to inspire people to join the construction industry by showcasing the incredible projects and feats of engineering it delivers.

In March 2022, the team came to ITER. The result is an entertaining and educational nine-minute video that takes you into the very heart of ITER machine construction. "This is so much more than just an energy project; it's a $22 billion science experiment between a whole host of nations all coming together to try and change how we generate power on this planet," says host Fred Mills as he guides the viewer through a maze of components and tooling in the ITER Assembly Hall.

Colette Ricketts, deputy head of the ITER Project Control Office, also makes a cameo appearance to explain how the arrival of components from the ITER Members is planned and managed ... and re-planned if necessary, as when international events have an unexpected effect on manufacturing or shipping.

"It's a pretty nuclear level of project collaboration," says the B1M team. "It's kind of like building a LEGO kit ... just 10 million times more complicated."

Watch "We Went Inside the Largest Nuclear Fusion Reactor" on YouTube here.

ITER Talks | The Tokamak Cooling Water System
11 Apr 2022
Donato Lioce, head of ITER's Tokamak Cooling Water System Section, describes the plant system that will remove heat from the ITER machine and in-vessel components as "absolutely unique."

One of its peculiarities is the sheer volume of equipment—which is absolutely huge compared to the cooling system in a nuclear fission plant. More than 6,000 tonnes of equipment, 43 kilometres of piping, 3,000 valves, heat exchangers, pumps ... all housed over the seven levels in the Tokamak Building. Another is the fact that the system is designed not only to cool, but also to heat: the same equipment that circulates cooling water can also circulate hot water to "bake" tokamak components before plasma operation, or hot gas to "dry" components before maintenance. The cyclical nature of the ITER machine, designed for 30,000 plasma pulses, also has repercussions for the design of the tokamak cooling water system and its hundreds of clients.

Follow along as Donato describes in detail the different functionalities of the ITER tokamak cooling water system, system equipment, and the procurement effort that is underway now.

Watch the eighth episode of ITER Talks here. 

See the full ITER Talks playlist on YouTube here.



China honours ITER's Alain Bécoulet
04 Apr 2022
On Monday 28 March 2022, the Chinese Embassy in France organized a ceremony in honour of the two French laureates of the 2020 China International Science and Technology Cooperation Award. Eight international scientists had been named during the National Science and Technology Award Conference held in Beijing in November 2021; due to the pandemic, the prize ceremonies are being organized by Chinese embassies.

Fusion expert Alain Bécoulet and French hematologist Jacques Caen received their awards from the hands of Ambassador Lu Shaye.

Alain Bécoulet is former director of the Institute for Magnetic Fusion Research (IRFM), part of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), and current Head of the ITER Engineering Domain. In the course of his career, he helped to develop scientific collaboration between the Chinese and European fusion communities, particulary between the WEST project that he headed at IRFM and China's EAST tokamak. He has been a frequent visitor to the country, making more than 30 trips and developing "warm and confident relationships." HE expressed his "honour, pride and joy" at receiving the prize during his acceptance speech in Paris. 

The International Science and Technology Cooperation Award was initiated by China's State Council in 1994, and is conferred on foreign individuals or organizations that have made important contribution to China's science and technology development.

Calling for nominations: 2022-23 Fusion Technology Awards
30 Mar 2022
During the 30th Symposium on Fusion Engineering (SOFE 2023, 9-14 July 2023), the Fusion Technology Awards for 2022 and 2023 will be presented to individuals who have distinguished themselves through innovation in all fusion approaches that have shown significant promise or progress in the design of reactors or in the understanding of fusion plasmas.

The awards each consist of a USD 3,000 cash prize and a plaque. The nomination package should be sent to the Fusion Technology Committee Awards Chair, Dr. Carl Pawley (, and it should consist of a letter describing the technical contributions on which the nomination is recommended and a current resume of the candidate. Other supporting endorsements are encouraged.

The nomination deadline for the 2022 and 2023 Fusion Technology Awards is 8 April 2022.

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

Industrial opportunities in Big Science
28 Mar 2022
The 2022 Big Science Business Forum is the "one-stop meeting point" in Europe between Big Science and industry.

Scheduled from 4 to 7 October 2022 as an in-person event in Granada, Spain, the forum will feature the procurement and technology transfer opportunities of eleven prominent European Big Science research facilities in the areas of astrophysics, space, synchrotrons, high-energy accelerators and fusion. The European Domestic Agency for ITER, Fusion for Energy, is one of the founding members of the Big Science Business Forum. Some speakers from the ITER Organization will also be present at the event.

Business opportunities worth EUR 37 million (for the period 2022-2026) will be presented. More than 1,000 participants from 500 companies and organizations across Europe are expected. 

A specific "Technology Transfer track" will provide research entities and companies at the forum with the means to share and seek technologies that have potential cross-market applications, either in Big Science or in other markets.

Opportunities to get involved in the IFMIF-DONES materials research facility, a key step on the European Roadmap to Fusion Energy that is planned for construction in Granada, Spain, will also be highlighted.

A special event dedicated to "Women in Big Science" is scheduled on Day 1.

See all information at this address.

The Easiest Thing Nature Does (video)
18 Mar 2022
The European Fusion Education Network FuseNet has released a new 30-minute video on fusion energy. In "The Easiest Thing Nature Does," the viewer is introduced to the whats, whys, and hows of fusion by some of the very people who are working on the ground in Europe to make fusion energy a reality.

Meet researchers from CIEMAT (Spain), the Max Planck Institute for Fusion Energy (Germany), the ITER Organization, and York University (United Kingdom). Hear from members of the UKAEA/JET tokamak team, including a mechatronics engineer, a plasma spectroscopist, a senior operations manager, and a diagnostics project engineer. Learn about tokamaks, stellarators and the current dynamism of the private fusion sector. And drop by ITER, where construction is underway on the world's largest fusion device.

It's an exciting time for those involved in fusion worldwide, and it's a sector that is recruiting. "The Easiest Thing Nature Does" lists the many types of skills that are needed and invites you to get involved!

See the video on this FuseNet page or on YouTube.

How to find the ITER podcast
10 Mar 2022
"All About ITER," ITER's first podcast miniseries, is now available through World Radio Paris, the only 24/7 English-speaking national radio channel in France. If you haven't heard about it already, "All About ITER" is a miniseries with six episodes that dive deep into what makes ITER tick: from the science behind fusion, to the manufacturing taking place all over the world, to the people behind the project.

You can listen to "All About ITER" live on World Radio Paris (WRP) between the weeks of 7 March and 16 May (schedule below), on the WRP website, or by downloading the WRP app.

And if you're not in France, the ITER podcast "All About ITER" is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Tune In, PodBean and the ITER website.

Schedule: World Radio Paris
Mondays, 2 p.m.
Tuesdays, 11 a.m.
Fridays, 7 p.m.
Episode 1: Week of 7 March
Episode 2: Week of 21 March
Episode 3: Week of 4 April
Episode 4: Week of 18 April
Episode 5: Week of 2 May
Episode 6: Week of 16 May

Bécoulet's "Star Power": Fusion made simple and inspiring
07 Mar 2022
A theoretical physicist, but one who views theory as something "to be put to use," Alain Bécoulet can speak (and write) about fusion in terms that are both simple and inspiring. In his recently published Star Power: ITER and the International Quest for Fusion Energy (MIT Press), he offers a concise and accessible overview of fusion energy promises and challenges, not only explaining the underlying science and technology but also describing the massive international effort to harness this potential new energy source.

Having embraced plasma physics in the mid-1980s as a student at France's prestigious École Normale Supérieure, Bécoulet draws from his long experience in fusion research, first at France's Institute for Magnetic Fusion Research (IRFM), and since February 2020 as head of the ITER Engineering Domain, to explain how the long-pursued dream of harnessing the energy of the Sun and stars is on the verge of becoming reality.

Find out more here.

ITER Talks | The ITER Research Plan, How to Reach Q=10
07 Mar 2022
In this ITER Talk, the seventh in the series, ITER scientific expert Joseph Snipes walks us through plans for ITER operation. What does the "Q" in ITER's goal of Q=10 stand for? How will the machine and its systems be prepped for operation? What are the different steps between First Plasma and full fusion power operation?

The ITER Research Plan will proceed in four stages—a careful step-by-step strategy designed to achieve high plasma performance operation up to a plasma current of 15 MA, with key milestones along the way. Learn about the staggered assembly of key systems, the specific goals of each operation phase, the means to achieve the goals, and the importance of robust plasma control. By the end of the talk, you'll know (a lot) more about the unique capabilities of the ITER experimental device.

A note to viewers: This ITER Talk goes hand in hand with ITER Talk (6)—"Tokamak Physics for Nuclear Fusion" by the head of the ITER Science Division Alberto Loarte (viewable here).

Watch the seventh episode of ITER Talks here.

See the full ITER Talks playlist on YouTube here.

ITER Talks | Tokamak Physics for Nuclear Fusion
28 Feb 2022
Alberto Loarte, head of the Science Division at the ITER Organization, introduces us to the physics of ITER plasmas and explains how the physics justifies the design of the machine. He reviews the deuterium-tritium nuclear fusion process, the role of magnetic fields in fusion, the specificities of the tokamak configuration, energy and particle confinement, heating and fuelling, and finally fusion power, particle exhaust and plasma-wall interactions. And he does it all in a clear and understandable way!

A note to viewers: This ITER Talk goes hand in hand with ITER Talk (7)—"The ITER Research Plan: How to Reach Q=10" by ITER scientific expert Joseph Snipes (viewable on the ITER YouTube channel here.

Watch the sixth episode of ITER Talks here.

See the full ITER Talks playlist on YouTube here.

A third way to fusion?
28 Feb 2022
There are presently two approaches to realizing hydrogen fusion. One, implemented in tokamaks and stellarators, consists in heating a very tenuous plasma to temperatures in the 100 million degrees Celsius range and to confine it in a magnetic cage—this is magnetic fusion. Another, called inertial fusion, is implemented in installations such as the American National Ignition Facility (NIF) or the French Laser Mégajoule. In inertial fusion an array of hundreds of powerful lasers, precisely focused, is used to compress to extreme density (and hence very high temperature) tiny hydrogen-filled capsules inside which fusion reactions can occur.

Now, a third approach is being considered and experimented at NASA's Glenn Research Center, in Cleveland, Ohio. Called "lattice confinement fusion," it could one day provide enough power to operate small space probes or rovers for planetary exploration.

In lattice confinement fusion (LCF), a beam of gamma rays is directed at a sample of erbium or titanium saturated with deuterium nuclei (deuteron). Occasionally, gamma rays of sufficient energy will break apart a deuteron in the metal lattice into its constituent proton and neutron. The energetic neutron has a chance of colliding with another deuteron in the lattice, imparting it with some of its energy. And sometimes that energy is enough for deuterons to fuse into a helium-3 nucleus (helion) and give off useful energy. A leftover neutron could provide the push for another energetic deuteron elsewhere in the lattice.

"Our work represents just the first step toward realizing that goal," say the scientists involved in this endeavour. "If the reaction rates can be significantly boosted, LCF may open an entirely new door for generating clean nuclear energy, both for space missions and for the many people who could use it here on Earth."

 Read more about lattice confinement fusion on the IEEE Spectrum here.



WEST is first to test fibered LIBS measurements
28 Feb 2022
During the operation of a fusion machine, it is important to know the surface composition of the plasma-facing components, which can evolve over time (erosion, oxidation...) and modify plasma interaction conditions.

The team at the WEST tokamak in France is testing a new kind of diagnostic, called the fibered LIBS (for Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy), to characterize internal surfaces of WEST and later ITER. 

In LIBS, a high-intensity pulsed laser beam is focused on the surface to be analyzed. The laser/matter interaction leads to the ablation of the material and the creation of a plasma plume. The spectral analysis of the plasma emission gives access to the elemental composition of the ablated material and thus the composition of the material under study.

Installed on an inspection robot equipped with an articulated arm, the LIBS tool consists of an optical fibre carrying the incident laser light and the light emitted during the interaction of the laser beam with the material under study. The diagnostic can not only characterize all internal surfaces of the machine and follow their evolution, but also (in ITER) monitor tritium concentration in the first wall and detect eventual helium bubbles in plasma-facing components coming from the interaction of fusion neutrons with the materials.

The first tests were carried out in December 2021. Read the original article in English or in French.

Webinar: Burning Plasma Aspects at ITER
28 Feb 2022
Mark your calendars: The Head of ITER's Science Division, Alberto Loarte, will be giving a webinar on 2 February 2022 called "Burning Plasma Aspects at ITER."

The talk is part of a webinar series organized by the U.S. Burning Plasma Organization (USBPO) that runs from January through August 2022 with one or two webinars a month. (See the full program here.) 

The U.S. Burning Plasma Organization (USBPO) is a national organization of scientists and engineers involved in researching magnetically confined burning fusion plasmas.

To sign up for "Burning Plasma Aspects at ITER," see this page.

Metrology-assisted machine assembly
21 Feb 2022
The global manufacturing intelligence firm Hexagon AB is providing metrology support to ITER for the precise assembly of components during the machine assembly phase. In this promotional video you can watch how the huge components of ITER's first vacuum vessel sub-assembly are brought together with assembly tolerances of just 1 mm.

See the video here.

2022 Culham Summer School announced
12 Feb 2022
The 59th Culham Plasma Physics Summer School will take place from 18 to 28 July 2022 at the Culham Science Centre in Oxfordshire (UK).

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. It assumes no previous knowledge of the subject, but familiarity with electromagnetism and applied mathematics at first degree level would be helpful.

The 2022 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.

Special arrangements are being made this year to allow for COVID. For more details and to apply visit the dedicated website.

The deadline for applications is 20 June 2022.

JET campaign results: watch live
08 Feb 2022
Scientists from the European research consortium EUROfusion have recently completed ambitious fusion energy experiments at the world-leading fusion research facility JET (Joint European Torus) at the UK Atomic Energy Authority in Oxford, UK. Join them for a media event on Wednesday 9 February 2022 at 12pm - 2pm GMT as they reveal the exciting results.

Click here to link to the media event.


Webinar: Women in Big Science
07 Feb 2022
On Friday, 11 February 2022—International Day of Women and Girls in Science—Fusion for Energy (F4E) and the Big Science Business Forum will be hosting a webinar on the role of Women in Big Science. The session will bring together representatives from big science organizations, industry and policy in Europe to discuss the potential of women in big science and some of the long-lasting challenges they face.

The idea of an award promoting best practice involving women in big science will also be discussed.

Registration is open here.

Replay: ITER's virtual open doors day
03 Feb 2022
For 15 years ITER has been opening its doors to visitors, either in small groups or during regular Open Doors Days. Approximately 160,000 visitors from all horizons—school children, students, members of the public, companies, politicians—have passed through the ITER gates since 2007, returning home with a better idea of the scale and importance of ITER and of the passion that animates the men and women who work here.

Because in-person Open Door Days have been impossible for the past two years, the ITER Communication team innovated in 2021, creating a virtual experience on line for "visitors" from around the world.

Demonstrations, livestreams from the worksite, videos, presentations, virtual reality ... there is something for everyone.

The three-hour event is now available in replay. Follow this link to view it.

ITER International School in July
03 Feb 2022
The 11th ITER International School will be held from 25 to 29 July 2022, hosted in person by the U.S. Burning Plasma Organization, University of California at San Diego, and General Atomics.

The subject of this year's school is "ITER Plasma Scenarios and Control." As the start of ITER operation approaches, it is timely to address this challenging multidisciplinary topic: the development of integrated operating scenarios and required plasma control to facilitate the ITER goals, particularly for plasmas self-heated by fusion-born alpha particles.

The ITER International School is organized regularly with the goal of giving young scientists and engineers a taste of the stimulating, multi-disciplinary and challenging field that is nuclear fusion.

For all information on the 2022 edition, see this webpage.

C. Alejaldre: Serving fusion in yet another capacity
31 Jan 2022
Carlos Alejaldre, who was an ITER Organization Deputy-Director-General from 2006 to 2015 and who is the current Director-General of CIEMAT (Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas), the Spanish public research agency focused on energy and the environment, has been appointed as the new Chair of the Fusion for Energy (F4E) Governing Board.

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. At ITER, he was head of the Safety and Security Department.

Alejaldre will act as Chair of the F4E Governing Board, the body that supervises the activities of the European Joint Undertaking for ITER and the development of fusion energy, for an initial period of two years starting on 1 January 2022. 

See the F4E website for more information. 

Prince Charles tours JET and meets ITER
31 Jan 2022
In a rare and memorable moment, the Joint European Torus (JET) team today received His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales for a tour and first-hand discussion of fusion energy. Long known as an advocate of environmental awareness and sustainable energy, Prince Charles was, according to UKAEA CEO Ian Chapman, "keen to understand more about how fusion can be a critical piece of the future global energy puzzle." Together with European and UK officials, ITER Chief Scientist Tim Luce was present to meet the Prince of Wales and explain the JET-ITER connection.

Currently the world's most powerful tokamak, JET is a direct precursor to ITER, and recently celebrated the completion of its 100,000th pulse. New scientific results from the most recent JET deuterium-tritium campaign will be released in February.

During his visit, the Prince of Wales was introduced to ITER by Tim Luce, head of the ITER Science & Operations Domain (left).

See the official UK government press release here.

Fusion Energy Forum of Japan: annual symposium
26 Jan 2022
On 17 December 2021, 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 4.5-hour event covered fusion energy policy in Japan, progress in domestic and international fusion projects (including ITER and the Broader Approach), frontiers in 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.

JET: Hello #100,000
20 Jan 2022
Since its inauguration in 1983 in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the European tokamak JET has cemented its reputation as "one of the most important machines in the history of fusion energy research," according to Ian Chapman, CEO of the UK Atomic Energy Authority. On 18 January 2022, the machine ran its 100,000th plasma pulse.

JET, for Joint European Torus, is the focal point of the European fusion research program, designed to study fusion in conditions approaching those needed for a power plant. It is the only experiment that can operate with the deuterium-tritium fuel mix that will be used for commercial fusion power (and in ITER).

In 1997 JET successfully produced a world record 22.5 megajoules of fusion energy and 16 megawatts of fusion power during the first dedicated deuterium-tritium experiments, proving large amounts of power can be produced from fusion.

In 2011 JET was equipped with a new ITER-like inner wall made of beryllium and tungsten metals, enabling scientists to develop plasma scenarios that resemble as closely as possible those planned for ITER, investigate the interaction of the plasma with wall materials, and study the accumulation of tungsten from the wall in the plasma core.

In 2021, JET carried out a second full-power run of experiments using deuterium and tritium. Stay tuned: the results from these experiments will be announced in early February 2022.

The JET facilities located at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) in Abingdon, Oxfordshire UK, are collectively used by all European fusion laboratories under the EUROfusion consortium. About 350 scientists from EU countries (plus Switzerland, the UK and Ukraine), and more from around the globe, participate in JET experiments each year. CCFE is responsible for operating the facility for fusion researchers and for maintaining and upgrading it. This work is carried out under a contract between the European Commission and the UK Atomic Energy Authority (CCFE's operator). 

The ITER community congratulates the JET team on its 100,000th pulse!

FuseNet Master's Thesis Prize 2021
18 Jan 2022
Thesis supervisors are invited to nominate a student for the 2021 FuseNet Master Thesis Prize by 10 February 2022.

FuseNet will award the prizes to students who write outstanding Master's theses that were (at least partially) carried out and completed across Europe. The prizes serve to highlight the important research that is carried out by dedicated and talented fusion students.

As a prize, the winners will be invited to present their work as a poster at the 48th European Physical Society Conference of Plasma Physics held in Maastricht, the Netherlands, from 27 June to 1 July 2022. Travel, subsistence, and fees will all be covered by FuseNet.

Learn more about the prize on the FuseNet website.

ITER Talks | Assembly
17 Jan 2022
The size and weight of major ITER components, the careful handling, tiny assembly tolerances, the breadth of manufacturers, the tight schedule, complex interfaces ... all of these elements combine to make the assembly of the ITER machine an engineering and logistics challenge of enormous proportions.

In this new ITER Talks video, two members of the Construction Domain—Jens Reich (Ex-Vessel Delivery & Assembly Division Head) and Brian Macklin (Group Leader for Ex-Vessel Assembly)—describe how teams have planned for the assembly of the 23,000-tonne ITER machine, how the sequences are unfolding, what the main challenges are, and what lessons have been learned since the first machine assembly activity was launched in 2018.

Watch the fifth episode of the ITER Talks here.

See the full ITER Talks playlist on YouTube here.

ITER Information Day: Hot Cell Project Integrator
17 Jan 2022
The ITER Organization has launched the procurement for the Hot Cell Facility Project Integrator. 

The ITER Hot Cell Facility is the maintenance and refurbishment facility supporting tokamak operation. The role of the Project Integrator will be to prepare and promote the collaboration to realize the ITER Hot Facility, working with both the clients and first-tier contractors through all project phases.

For companies interested in learning more about the Hot Cell Facility Project Integrator contract, a virtual procurement Information Day will be organized on 24 January 2022. 

Register here by 20 January.

The deadline for this Call for Nomination is 28 January 2022. 

Monaco-ITER Fellows: campaign opens
17 Jan 2022
Recruitment opens TODAY for the 2022 Monaco-ITER Postdoctoral Fellowship campaign. The ITER Organization is looking for five postdoctoral candidates in the fields of fusion science or engineering for two-year positions based in Saint-Paul-lez-Durance, France (ITER Headquarters).

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 greatest scientific and technical challenges of the 21st century, this may be an opportunity for you.

The positions are funded by the Principality of Monaco, which signed a Partnership Arrangement with the ITER Organization in 2008 and renewed its sponsorship in 2018 for ten years. Candidates must have an excellent track record of creativity and accomplishment in their chosen fields.

The campaign closes on 1 March 2022. For more information see Monaco-ITER 2022. To apply, see the ITER Jobs page.

CERN Courier: Vacuum solutions fuel fusion dreams
12 Jan 2022
The CERN Courier just released its 2022 In Focus report on vacuum science, technology and innovation. In it, there is a four-page report on vacuum science at ITER featuring Vacuum Section Leader Robert Pearce.

"Design, construction, commissioning, operation and upgrade: the life-cycle of large-scale scientific vacuum systems informs the exclusive coverage in this CERN Courier In Focus report," writes the editor. "Think technology innovation and implementation on an ambitious canvas like ITER's sprawling vacuum ecosystem, a core building block in the international research effort to transform nuclear fusion into an at-scale energy proposition (pp. 20-22)."

[...]"When it becomes operational later this decade, the ITER fusion research project will be dependent on one of the most complex vacuum systems ever built. Joe McEntee checks out progress with ITER vacuum section leader Robert Pearce, while highlighting the downstream commercial opportunities already spinning out from the core construction programme."

You can read the report here.

Watch a recent ITER TALK on vacuum here.

Apply to the Erasmus Mundus FUSION-EP Master's program
12 Jan 2022
Applications are open through 31 January 2022 for the 2022-2024 program; students from all over the world are encouraged to apply.

The Erasmus Mundus European Master of Science in Nuclear Fusion and Engineering Physics (FUSION-EP) aims to provide a high-level multinational research-oriented education in fusion-related engineering or physics in close relation to the research activities of the partners (7 universities and 24 partners (including the ITER Organization) in 12 countries.

This master degree is a unique opportunity for the selected students to study in two different European countries and to discover and work at major fusion research facilities during the two years' programme.

The very international curriculum, the high quality and completeness of the curriculum and the high selectivity of FUSION-EP allowed it to be selected as an EMJMD by the Executive Agency for Culture, Education and Audiovisual. The EACEA provides a number of full scholarships for the best-ranked applicants.

Apply now for a start in September 2022.

For more information or to apply, see the Fusion-EP website


ITER Talks | Vacuum
13 Dec 2021
In the latest episode of the ITER Talks series, join ITER specialist Robert Pearce for a voyage into the universe of vacuum. Is vacuum absolutely nothing ... or is it something more than you could imagine? Does a "perfect vacuum" exist? How can vacuum be defined and measured, and how did scientists come to understand it? What is the importance of vacuum for ITER?

As head of the Vacuum Delivery & Installation Section at ITER, Pearce is responsible for the systems that will create the necessary vacuum conditions not only in the plasma chamber and the cryostat, but also in heating, diagnostic and auxiliary systems.

Watch the fourth episode of the ITER Talks here.

See the full ITER Talks playlist here.

Sound of Science podcast: episode on fusion
10 Dec 2021
A new episode of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Sound of Science podcast puts the focus on fusion.

"Building a sun on Earth to produce unlimited, carbon-free energy may sound like science fiction, but it's not. It's a nuclear process called fusion, where two atoms join together and create an abundance of energy. Recreating the power of a star is no easy feat, but scientists across the globe are hard at work to make it a reality. From materials, to confining sun-hot plasmas, to fuel, there are a lot of scientific challenges to overcome to build a fusion reactor. In this episode, we talked to several Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists about how they are tackling these problems and why the future of fusion looks brighter than ever right now."

Listen to "Fusion: Energy at the Extreme" here (30').

Fusion featured on Al Jazeera's "The Stream"
09 Dec 2021
On Wednesday, 8 December 2021, Al Jazeera's The Stream asked: Could fusion energy be the clean energy answer to the climate crisis?

Recent advances have led to a rise in interest and funding from investors who want to see the first energy-creating fusion machine and eventually the first fusion power plant to generate power that is safe and free of carbon emissions. How far are we away from re-creating the energy source of the Sun?

Host Josh Rushing speaks with Tim Luce, chief scientist at the ITER Organization; Andrew Holland, CEO of the Fusion Industry Association; and Tammy Ma, from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility.

Watch a replay of the 25-minute show here.

U.S. Burning Plasma Organization: new webinar series
09 Dec 2021
A new series of webinars on burning plasma physics has been announced by the U.S. Burning Plasma Organization (USBPO). The webinars will focus on the implications for burning plasma physics of different types of fusion devices including the tokamak, the stellarator, high-field devices and new concepts. The webinar series is organized in the context of long-range fusion energy planning activities that have been launched in the United States, but the updates on recent developments can interest the worldwide community. Seven webinars are planned (dates subject to confirmation).

See more about the new webinar series here.

See the sign up link at the end of this document.

USBPO works to advance the scientific understanding of burning plasmas and coordinates relevant fusion research in the United States with broad community participation. See

SOFE 2021 goes virtual
06 Dec 2021
The 2021 Symposium on Fusion Engineering (SOFE) will take place exclusively on line from 12 to 16 December 2021. It will be co-located on the same virtual platform as the IEEE Pulsed Power Conference (PPE), offering participants enhanced opportunities for social and technical interaction.

Held biennially since 1965, SOFE is coordinated by the Fusion Technology Committee of the IEEE/NPSS (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers/Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society). The Symposium is dedicated to the scientific, technological and engineering issues of fusion energy research and is a mixture of oral presentations and poster sessions. 

Head of the ITER Engineering Domain Alain Bécoulet will be  presenting the status of ITER assembly in the Opening Plenary. Other ITER presenters will discuss tokamak assembly, diagnostic engineering and integration, and the ITER in-vessel coils.

There is still time to sign up at PPC-SOFE 2021.

ITER at the World Nuclear Exhibition 2021
06 Dec 2021
ITER was represented earlier this month at the world's largest exhibition dedicated to the civil nuclear sector—the World Nuclear Exhibition (WNE), which was organized in Paris and virtually from 30 November to 2 December 2021.

WNE brings together the global civil nuclear community once every two years for networking and discussions of the major challenges facing the industry and society. This year's edition, which attracted more than 600 exhibitors from 83 countries and approximately 18,000 participants, was organized around the theme "The nuclear industry, a key partner for a low-carbon society in a responsible future."  

Organizers highlighted the role that the global nuclear sector can play as a "steerable, non-intermittent, and competitive" source of electricity in the fight against climate change and the effort to move toward a sustainable low-carbon-emissions future. "R&D in new technologies and concepts are stimulating the sector as well as business and job prospects and competitiveness within the entire value chain," stressed WNE President Sylvie Bermann. 

In her address on the opening day, European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson placed ITER squarely in the category of "disruptive innovations. "The benefit for international scientific collaboration and the potential spill-over effect for technological innovation is hugely significant."

At the ITER stand, in space shared with the European Commission and the European Domestic Agency Fusion for Energy, there was a steady stream of interested visitors over three days. The most common question from nuclear industry representatives was: "How can we get involved in fusion?"

(Photo: Philippe Eranian)

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:

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 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:

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.


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

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:

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 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: 

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:

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:
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: 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

Consult the FEC 2020 scientific program here.

Registration opens on 1 March 2021; more information at


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). 

 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:

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:

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 :

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 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 ( For full information about the project see the ITER website at

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 (, 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

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:

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

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:

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——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 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 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,, 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

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 Integrati