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.
ITER is a large international fusion experiment aimed at demonstrating the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energy.
ITER (Latin for "the way") will play a critical role advancing the worldwide availability of energy from fusion — the power source of the sun and the stars.
To produce practical amounts of fusion power on earth, heavy forms of hydrogen are joined together at high temperature with an accompanying production of heat energy. The fuel must be held at a temperature of over 100 million degrees Celsius. At these high temperatures, the electrons are detached from the nuclei of the atoms, in a state of matter called plasma.
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.
The French government has capped more than two years of review by issuing a license for the construction of ITER, the international fusion project that the European Union, the United States and five other countries are building in Cadarache, France, to demonstrate the feasibility of fusion energy. French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault signed the decree authorizing the license on Nov. 10, 2012. The move confirms the safety of the ITER project and clears the way for its construction.
U.S. ITER is responsible for providing the ITER Central Solenoid (CS), nine lengths of Toroidal Field (TF) Coil conductor, and Insert Coils for assessing CS and TF conductor performance. The status of the ongoing design and fabrication efforts will be reviewed. The interesting hurdles that had to be negotiated, the lingering problems, and the lessons learned will be discussed.
(At the presenter's request, no video or presentation materials are available for this lecture.)
David Johnson is a principal research physicist with broad experience in techniques and instrumentation for measuring the characteristics of magnetic fusion plasmas. He has specific expertise in laser Thomson scattering systems, and has installed and operated such systems on many fusion devices around the world. He managed a division of plasma diagnostic experts for the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) and National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) projects, more recently becoming the Work Breakdown Structure Team Leader for US ITER Diagnostics.
Researchers at a recent worldwide conference on fusion power have confirmed the surprising accuracy of a new model for predicting the size of a key barrier to fusion that a top scientist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has developed. The model could serve as a starting point for overcoming the barrier.
George "Hutch" Neilson manages PPPL’s international stellarator and tokamak collaborations. In that context, he is program manager and national point-of-contact for U.S. collaborations with the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator experiment in Germany, and a project manager for coil-design collaborations with the JET tokamak experiment in Oxfordshire, UK. Neilson also is the responsible manager for PPPL advanced design activities, and for planning for a next-generation experimental fusion facility, or DEMO, that is to precede a commercial fusion reactor.
Charles Neumeyer Jr. is a registered professional engineer with more than 30 years experience in advanced technology research and project management. His experience covers functions ranging from design to procurement and conditioning. Neumeyer has managerial roles in activities associated with ITER and the National Spherical Torus Experiment Upgrade (NSTX-U). He is responsible for U.S. equipment contributions for the ITER Steady State Electrical Network, which will supply AC power to all ITER plant systems.