U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz dedicated the most powerful spherical torus fusion facility in the world on Friday, May 20, 2016. The $94-million upgrade to the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX-U), funded by the DOE Office of Science, is a spherical tokamak fusion device that explores the creation of high-performance plasmas at 100-million degree temperatures many times hotter than the core of the sun.
Ice cores serve as a critical archive of past environmental conditions, providing constraints on global atmospheric composition and the climate of polar regions. Reconstructions of atmospheric CO2 and CH4 from air trapped in ice cores dating as far back as 800 ka indicate a link between greenhouse gases and global climate in the form of 100 kyr glacial cycles. These climate cycles are recorded in proxy records from deep-sea sediments reflecting variations in ocean temperature and continental ice volume.
The twenty-first Conference of the Parties (COP21) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris ended with an agreement that some call “the world’s greatest diplomatic success” while others insist it is “too weak” and full of “false hope.” Paris has created a pathway for success, but the Agreement itself cannot ensure it. The twentieth century showed it was no longer acceptable for governments to use claims of sovereignty to defend human rights abuses, and the twenty-first century may show the same to be true for greenhouse gas emissions.
The path to creating sustainable fusion energy as a clean, abundant and affordable source of electric energy has been filled with “aha moments” that have led to a point in history when the international fusion experiment, ITER, is poised to produce more fusion energy than it uses when it is completed in 15 to 20 years, said Ed Synakowski, associate director of Science for Fusion Energy Sciences at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
A team of physicists led by Stephen Jardin of the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has discovered a mechanism that prevents the electrical current flowing through fusion plasma from repeatedly peaking and crashing. This behavior is known as a "sawtooth cycle" and can cause instabilities within the plasma's core. The results have been published online in Physical Review Letters. The research was supported by the DOE Office of Science.
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.
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