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PPPL Receiving Additional $1.8 Million in Recovery Act Funding

Plainsboro, New Jersey - An additional $1.8 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act  will benefit three innovative fusion energy research projects at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). This recently awarded amount is on top of the $13.8 million PPPL received in August as a result of the bill signed by President Obama earlier this year.

        "We are delighted and grateful to receive these precious funds, which will greatly increase the progress of these highly innovative projects," said Princeton University Dean for Research A.J. Stewart Smith.

        Of the $1.8 million, $320,000 will be used for infrastructure and upgrades to a fusion experiment called the Princeton Field-Reversed Configuration, an alternate concept for magnetically confining a plasma; $952,000 for upgrades and modifications to the Lithium Tokamak Experiment, a fusion experiment to study the use of liquid (lithium) metal - instead of solid - walls inside of the vacuum chamber containing the hot plasma; and $576,000 to design, construct, and implement a special instrument called an X-ray imaging crystal spectrometer that measures intensities of soft X-rays emitted by a plasma and uses these intensities to determine plasma temperatures.

        PPPL Director Stewart Prager said, "Two of these projects are distinguished from the pack in that they explore the physics of a key idea, not part of the mainline approach to fusion. If successful they could greatly alter the road to fusion. The third is vital to gaining highly precise measurements in fusion experiments."

        Fusion - the process that powers the sun and the stars - transforms mass into energy when light atoms, such as hydrogen, fuse or join. Plasma, the fourth state of matter, is a hot gas that makes up the stars and is used as the fuel to produce fusion energy. At PPPL, scientists use magnetic fields to confine plasma in experimental fusion machines. Magnets surround the machine's vacuum vessel, where the plasma is formed and contained. Scientists hope eventually to use fusion energy for the generation of electricity.

        PPPL, funded by the U.S. DOE and managed by Princeton University for the DOE Office of Science, advances the coupled fields of fusion energy and plasma physics. http://www.pppl.gov/ 

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Note to Editors:Photos are available of the three projects (and scientists) that are receiving the additional ARRA funding.

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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