Three teams led by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have won major blocks of time on two of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. Two of the projects seek to advance the development of nuclear fusion as a clean and abundant source of energy by improving understanding of the superhot, electrically charged plasma gas that fuels fusion reactions.
Fusion reactor design
The design of devices that use powerful magnetic fields to control plasma so fusion can take place. The most widely used magnetic confinement device is the tokamak, followed by the stellarator.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has joined forces with researchers in South Korea to develop a pre-conceptual design for a pioneering fusion facility in that Asian nation. The proposed device, called K-DEMO, could be completed in the mid-to-late 2030s as the final step before construction of a commercial fusion power plant that would produce clean and abundant energy for generating electricity.
Research to develop fusion energy has shown “significant progress” in many areas, according to a new report from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), a think tank whose members represent some 90 percent of the electricity produced in the United States. At the same time, the report said that a commercial fusion power plant is at least 30 years away, and called for more research on the engineering challenges.
Goldston is a Professor of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University and an international leader in the fields of plasma physics and magnetic fusion energy. He is the author of 220 papers in journals and conference proceedings, and in 1995 co-authored with Paul Rutherford the textbook "Introduction to Plasma Physics." He is a contributing author to five other books. In 1988 he was awarded the American Physical Society Prize for Excellence in Plasma Physics. Goldston is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. From 1997 to 2009, he served as Director of the U.S.
Heat escaping from the core of a twelve-million degree nuclear fusion plasma device was successfully contained by a snowflake-shaped magnetic field to mitigate its impact on device walls.