Lyman Spitzer Building
The Lyman Spitzer Building (LSB) at PPPL is the Laboratory’s main administration building. It was dedicated on May 18, 1998 in memory of PPPL’s founder and first director, Lyman Spitzer, Jr. Supporting more than half of PPPL’s employees, this building houses offices space, facilities and workshops. Notable areas in the LSB include the lobby, the visualization wall, the PPPL computer center, and the computing center and control room for the Nation Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX), the Labs leading fusion energy experiment.
In 2008, PPPL became an ENERGY STAR partner by reducing levels of lighting maintenance and wattage in the LSB. ENERGY STAR, part of the EPA and the DOE, is a program dedicated to protecting the environment and saving money by practicing energy efficiency. "While we are proud of the energy performance of the LSB, we will continue to look for additional opportunities to improve building operations using ENERGY STAR guidelines and qualified products to raise our rating,” said Robert Sheneman, head of material and environmental services at PPPL.
“Future improvements may include LED lighting, enhanced ventilation monitoring and controls, and day-lighting control. These lessons and enhancements are being applied to other buildings on the laboratory campus, which may qualify for the ENERGY STAR in future years."
The LSB lobby features walls decorated with scientific designs and accomplishments. At a fusion wall, visitors can learn the basic concepts of fusion energy. Another wall illustrates NSTX designs. The five previous directors of the Laboratory also are honored there and can be viewed in large portraits. I addition, the lobby showcases small models of past and present experiments at PPPL. These include: A working model of a stellarator, a device used to confine hot plasma with magnetic fields in order to create nuclear fusion; a model of ITER, an international collaboration under construction in France; and a hands-on demonstration of plasma fields. This plasma source is based on a design conceived by Dan Weitz (1978-2006), a microbiologist at the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University.
The Theory Department at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) provides the scientific foundations for establishing magnetic confinement as an attractive, technically feasible energy option. The Department generates the theoretical physics knowledge required for realistic extrapolation of present experimental results and suggests new approaches to improve performance. This involves the innovative development of better calculation capabilities, together with applications of the best theoretical tools to interpret and design experiments.
Important contributions to understanding the physics of plasma transport, MHD, and energetic particle behavior are reminders of the role theory can play in the fusion sciences program. These achievements underscore the fact that many of the advances in the field have resulted from an improved understanding of the basic mechanisms involved in toroidal confinement and not just from the development of empirical rules for scaling. Continuing improvements in operating regimes in magnetically confined plasmas and in diagnostic techniques should enable even more realistic comparisons of experimental results with theoretical models. As more reliable physics-based models emerge, it is expected that the pace of breakthroughs will be accelerated by more efficient harvesting of key results from experimental facilities and from identification of attractive new approaches and the associated designs for new facilities.
PPPL’s Theory Department continued its lead role in providing the theoretical and computational capabilities to help the U.S. Fusion Energy Sciences program achieve the scientific understanding and produce the key innovations which will lead to an attractive energy source. Endorsements and requests for enhanced collaborations in both tokamak and alternate concept research areas by the national and international fusion research communities have been stimulated not only by this group's impressive record for generating key seminal concepts, but also by its development and maintenance of the most comprehensive system of toroidal design and analysis codes.
For more information on the Theory Department visit: http://w3.pppl.gov/theory/index.html
The L-wing is the main area of the lab that is used for scientific experiments. It consists of a series of rooms, each dedicated to testing different systems and developing new plasma technologies. Some of these experiments include the Lithium Tokamak Experiment (LTX), the Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (MRX), the Magnetorotational Instability Experiment (MRI), the Paul Trap Simulator Experiment (PTSX) the Magnetic Nozzle Experiment (MNX) and the Princeton Field Reverse Configuration Experiment (PFRC). Many of these projects have strong graduate and undergraduate student participation. For more information on the L-wing and its research devices, go to the L-wing sub tour.
The tunnel was built in the late 1970's as part of the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) Project. It was designed to transport equipment, personnel, and to house the large number of cables required to connect the computers in the TFTR Control Room with tokamak systems in the Test Cell and Test Cell Basement. Now this 580-foot tunnel serves as a route and vital connector from the NSTX control room in the basement of the Lyman Spitzer Building on C-site to the NSTX device itself on D-site.
The Science Education Program uses the human, scientific, and technological resources of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) in order to provide opportunities for students and teachers to engage in scientific inquiry in ways that enhance their understanding of science concepts and scientific ways of thinking. There are multiple programs offered at PPPL including undergraduate programs, K-12 teaching programs, high school student programs, K-8 student programs, programs offered to the general public, and Science on Saturday, a series of lectures given by scientists, mathematicians, and other professionals involved in cutting-edge research
For more information on the science education programs listed above, click on the link below: http://science-education.pppl.gov/
The Science Education Laboratory (SEL) is at the center of PPPL’s education and research activities. At more than 2,000 square feet, the lab has two rooms for advanced projects, a teaching laboratory, and an office space for students, teachers, and other visitors. The SEL also includes a wireless internet connection, a variety of PC and Mac computers, and LCD projector for presentations, and two full walls of dry erase boards.
The National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX) at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) is yielding research results that may open an attractive path towards developing fusion energy as an abundant, safe, affordable and environmentally sound means of generating electricity. The NSTX device is exploring a novel structure for the magnetic field used to contain the hot ionized gas, called “plasma”, needed to tap this source of energy. Future fusion power plants will contain plasmas consisting of a mixture of the hydrogen isotopes, deuterium and tritium, which can undergo fusion reactions to produce helium, accompanied by a large release of energy, if a sufficient temperature and pressure can be maintained in the plasma using the insulation provided by a suitably shaped magnetic field.
The magnetic field in NSTX forms a plasma that resembles the shape of a torus with a whole in the center, like a doughnut, but has a spherically shaped outer boundary, hence the name “spherical torus” or “ST”. The theory of magneto-hydrodynamics (MHD) describing the interaction of a plasma and a magnetic field shows that the plasma pressure needed to produce self-sustaining fusion in a ST can be maintained with a lower magnetic field strength. Since the cost of a fusion power plant will increase with the strength of its magnetic field, successful development of the ST approach to plasma confinement may lead to economical fusion power plants.
The mission of the NSTX is to establish the potential of the ST configuration as a means of achieving practical fusion energy and to contribute unique scientific understanding of magnetic confinement in research areas such as electron energy transport, liquid metal plasma-material interfaces, and energetic particle confinement for ITER burning plasmas. If successful, NSTX could be followed by a larger experiment to explore the issues needed for eventually harnessing fusion power continuously from a reactor. Research on NSTX is conducted by a collaborative research team of physicists and engineers from 30 U.S. laboratories and universities, and 28 international institutions from 11 countries.
For more information on NSTX go to the NSTX sub-tour or visit the NSTX home page: http://nstx.pppl.gov/
The Health Physics division at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) focuses on radiation biology and radiation physics. This group provides monitoring and support for PPPL activities that may potentially result in radiation exposure to workers, the public, and the environment. Under the U.S. Department of Energy’s Radiological Health and Safety Policy, the lab must conduct its radiological operations in a manner that insures the health and safety of all its employees, contractors, and the general public.
Health Physics consists of four different facilities: The Calibration and Service Laboratory, Health Physics Field Operations, PPPL Environmental, Analytical, and Radiological Laboratory and the Whole Body Counter.
The Calibration and Service Laboratory (CASL) is where all calibrations and testing of PPPL’s radiation monitoring equipment is handled. This facility contains a J.L. Shepherd 78-12 Beam Irradiator and a J.L. Shepherd Model 149 Neutron Exposure Irradiator. The Calibration Source Module is surrounded by a shielding wall of 32-inch concrete blocks which create a Personnel Exclusion Zone between the module wall and the shielding blocks. The Facility Control Room is where operation of the calibration and test range is performed, as well as where the only normal access to the facility is located.
The calibration and test range is equipped with three major courses of ionizing radiation: Two Cesium 137 sources for gamma calibrations and one PuBe source for neutron calibrations. The facility is operated via hard wired interlock systems to provide maximum personnel safety. The interlock systems are failsafe in their design. If power outage should occur while a source is in use, the exposed source is immediately returned to a safe position.
The Health Physics (HP) Field Operations Facility is located on D-site. A professional Health Physics staff manages the PPPL radiological control function, using only trained, qualified personnel to perform tasks that involve radiation and/or radioactive materials. Smears, oils, bioassays, liquid effluent, and Differential Atmospheric Tritium Samplers (DATS) are just a few examples of the HP Field Ops analysis capabilities. Three PC-based multichannel analyzer (MCA) gamma spectroscopy systems for analysis of gamma-ray emission rates complement the detection capabilities.
To ensure compliance with federal, state, and local agencies' regulations, the PPPL Environmental, Analytical, and Radiological Laboratory (PEARL) operates under a program designed to monitor the true concentrations of radiological effluents within the environment. Tritium, which was used as a fuel in the now-decommissioned Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR), is the most likely measurable source of exposure to the public, and monitoring its transport is the primary concern of the PEARL. In addition, gamma spectroscopy analyses are performed for gamma emitters on an as-needed basis; however, no source term exists for particulate gamma emitters to enter into the environmental exposure flowpaths. For more information on PEARL visit the Health Physics website at http://hp.pppl.gov/fac_PEARL.htm
In-vivo analysis of radioactivity in the whole body is provided by the mobile Whole body Counter, located on D-Site. This system is used to determine whether detectable quantities of gamma-emitting radionuclides are present anywhere in the body.