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Fusion energy

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The energy released when two atomic nuclei fuse together. This process powers the sun and stars.  Read more

Conference Challenges Girls To Enter Science & Technology Fields

Some 360 young women from seventh to tenth grade spent the day immersed in science and technology at the Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Lab's Young Women’s Conference on March 22 at Princeton University.

The budding scientists, mathematicians, and engineers from 40 schools in New Jersey and Pennsylvania took part in hands-on experiments, got a first-hand look at working laboratories at Princeton, and talked to female scientists and engineers from PPPL and across the country at the conference, which was based mostly at the Frick Chemistry Laboratory.

A Challenge to America: Develop Fusion Power Within a Decade

America’s economy and security depend upon reliable sources of power. Over the next few decades, almost all of the power plants in the U.S. will need to be replaced, and America’s dependence on fossil fuels presents serious national security concerns. They sap our economy, exacerbate climate change, and constrict our foreign policy. Our newfound boom in natural gas and oil production will ease but not eliminate these underlying issues.  (Forbes Leadership Forum website, 4/02/2013)

US ITER is a strong contributor in plan to enhance international sharing of prime ITER real estate

When the ITER experimental fusion reactor begins operation in the 2020s, over 40 diagnostic tools will provide essential data to researchers seeking to understand plasma behavior and optimize fusion performance. But before the ITER tokamak is built, researchers need to determine an efficient way of fitting all of these tools into a limited number of shielded ports that will protect the delicate diagnostic hardware and other parts of the machine from neutron flux and intense heat.

COLLOQUIUM: CASL: Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors, a DOE Energy Innovation Hub

The Consortium for Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL) is the first U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Innovation Hub, established in July 2010 for the modeling and simulation (M&S) of nuclear reactors. CASL applies existing M&S capabilities and develops advanced capabilities to create a usable environment for predictive simulation of light water reactors (LWRs).

Rajesh Maingi adds a new strategic dimension to fusion and plasma physics research

Physicist Rajesh Maingi remembers nearly everything. Results of experiments he did 20 years ago play back instantly in his mind, as do his credit card and bank account numbers.

His knack for recalling research results comes in particularly handy. “Knowing results from five-to-20 years ago makes it easier to ask the right questions for contemporary scientific programs,” Maingi said. Such findings have made him a leading expert on key aspects of the physics of plasma, the superhot, charged gas that fuels fusion reactions in donut-shaped magnetic facilities called tokamaks.

Scientists discuss progress toward magnetic fusion energy at 2013 AAAS annual meeting

Scientists participating in the worldwide effort to develop magnetic fusion energy for generating electricity gave progress reports to the 2013 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston. Speaking were physicists George "Hutch" Neilson of the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and Richard Hawryluk, deputy director-general of the ITER Organization.  Following are summaries of their presentations.

Previewing the next steps on the path to a magnetic fusion power plant

By John Greenwald

COLLOQUIUM: "Laboratory Dynamos"

One of the most fundamental tenets of astrophysical plasma physics is that magnetic fields can be stretched and amplified by flowing plasmas. In the right geometry, this can even lead to the self-generation of magnetic fields from flow through the dynamo process, a positive feedback instability where seed magnetic fields are stretched and amplified by flow in such a way as to reinforce the initial seed. This happens only when plasma is highly conducting, fast flowing, and when the magnetic field is weak. Laboratory plasmas exploring this parameter regime are surprisingly rare.


U.S. Department of Energy
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.

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