you're currently reading the news digest published from 28 Apr 2014 to 05 May 2014



Home away from home

It was only one year ago, on 19 April 2013, that the ITER Organization officially made a small tract of land on the ITER platform available to the Indian Domestic Agency to build a temporary workshop—a Little India where the ITER cryostat, part of India's in-kind contribution to the Project, would be assembled. Three months later in June, coconuts were symbolically broken over the site, calling on the blessing of Ganesha, the elephant-headed deity "Remover of Obstacles." From then on, things went amazingly fast. In September 2013, half of the steel columns forming the building's skeleton were in place; one month ago in March the 200-tonne gantry crane was installed inside the completed structure. And last week, when the head of the Indian Domestic Agency, Shishir Deshpande, paid a visit, the place had an almost homey feeling ... There's still some work to be done before the building is fully completed in mid-July. Under supervision from Currie & Brown, the contract engineer for Larsen & Toubro (the company responsible for the construction of both cryostat and Cryostat Workshop), the French company Spie Batignolles is busy connecting the large heat pumps that will cool down the workshop and finalizing the electrical works. The final layer of the concrete floor slab, an extra 20 cm, will be poured in the coming weeks to allow commissioning tests (HVAC, electrical) to begin. The 200-tonne gantry crane will be load-tested towards the end of May, before the building is handed over to the Indian Domestic Agency in August.

The story of a JET pulse

In 30 years of operations JET has produced over 80,000 pulses. Although an everyday occurrence during experimental campaigns, how a pulse is prepared and processed deserves its own special story. So what is meant by the term? A pulse is the name given to the time a plasma is held in the JET vessel. To create fusion in a future power station a plasma, or very hot electrically charged gas, has to be sustained inside the tokamak vessel whilst optimising three specific conditions: temperature, density and confinement time. This is called the fusion triple product and two isotopes of hydrogen, deuterium and tritium, are used to make the reaction occur. Unlike future stations when the plasma will need to run for several hours or continuously, on JET, each pulse typically lasts around 40 seconds. Although this may seem like a short amount of time, the 80,000 or so plasmas already created in the machine since 1983 have provided crucial information for plasma science by focusing on its behaviour and improving its performance. The pulses have all contributed to an extensive knowledge bank of data (with over 100 TeraBytes of data collected to date) and their analysis plays a key part in the long-term goal of fusion electricity on the grid. Like all good stories —the story of a pulse has a distinct beginning, middle and end, a strong setting and involves many people in this case engineers, scientists and computer experts who all have fascinating parts to play. Read the whole story on CCFE website.


Sun's fractal surprise could help fusion on Earth

​THE sun has thrown us a fractal surprise. An unexpected pattern has been glimpsed in the solar wind, the turbulent plasma of charged particles that streams from the sun. It offers clues for handling plasmas that roil inside nuclear fusion reactors on Earth. Composed of charged particles such as protons and electrons, the solar wind streams from the sun and pervades the solar system. Its flow is turbulent, containing eddies and moving at different speeds in different directions. It was thought that this turbulence was similar to that in a fluid, behaving like mixing ocean currents or the air flows that make aeroplane flights bumpy. Read the whole article on the New Scientist website.

Top Ten Reasons for ITER

​As climate change becomes a serious national security threat, we must look to the future for a clean, safe and sustainable source of energy for our future. The ITER experiment will be the largest ITERexperimental tokamak nuclear fusion reactor, located at Cadarache, France. Through ITER, we can find solutions to control fusion energy, so that it can be commercialized to provide the world with a sustainable energy source. This project was born in 1985 in hopes of peace through energy cooperation between the superpowers of the Soviet Union and the U.S. Today, its members include China, the European Union, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the United States of America. With recent controversy over the mismanagement of the ITER structure, the U.S. has reevaluated its position in funding the ITER project. If the U.S. withdraws from the project, we will fall behind in energy research and will not be able to reap theITER numerous benefits that ITER offers. Below I state the top ten reasons why ITER is beneficial for the United States. - By Kathy Duong, Research Assistant at the American Security Project Read more on the Peak Oil website.

Could Knots Unravel Mysteries of Fluid Flow?

Spaghetti-thin shoelaces, sturdy hawsers, silk cravats — all are routinely tied in knots. So too, physicists believe, are water, air and the liquid iron churning in Earth's outer core. Knots twist and turn in the particle pathways of turbulent fluids, as stable in some cases as a sailor's handiwork. For decades, scientists have suspected the rules governing these knots could offer clues for untangling turbulence — one of the last great unknowns of classical physics — but any order exhibited by the knots was lost in the surrounding chaos. Now, with deft new tools at their fingertips, physicists are beginning to master the art of tying knots in fluids and other flowable entities, such as electromagnetic fields, enabling controlled study of their behavior. 'Now that we have these knots, we can measure the shape of them in 3-D; we can look at the flow field around them,' said William Irvine, a physicist at the University of Chicago. 'We can really figure out what the rules of the game are.' Read more on Quanta Magazine website.

Tony Donné appointed EUROfusion programme manager

On April 23 the General Assembly of European Fusion Research Units appointed Tony Donné as Programme Manager for the consortium EUROfusion, which is currently being set up. EUROfusion is to succeed the European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA) as the umbrella organization of Europe's fusion research laboratories. At the moment, Tony Donné is head of the fusion physics theme at the Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research (DIFFER). Starting 2 June, he will manage EUROfusion's execution of the European Fusion Roadmap, which aims to realize commercial energy from fusion. Read the announcement on DIFFER website.


New student organization aims to educate, achieve nuclear fusion

Nuclear Fusion: Igniting the power of the stars down on earth