PPPL’s Hawryluk Named ITER Deputy Director-General
March 8, 2011
Richard Hawryluk, a senior scientist at the DOE Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), has been appointed deputy director-general of the ITER Organization and director of its administration department. The ITER project, currently under construction in France, aims to demonstrate that fusion is an energy source of the future.
“Rich Hawryluk was the deputy director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and has made an outstanding career in the field of fusion research,” said ITER Director-General Osamu Motojima. “With this appointment, the three-department structure of the ITER Organization comprising the Department for Administration, the Department for ITER Project, and the Department for Safety Quality and Security is now fully in place.”
Hawryluk, a leader in magnetic fusion energy research whose career in the field spans three decades, presently leads PPPL’s ITER and Tokamaks Department. He was deputy director of the laboratory from 1997 to 2008. He will assume the new post at ITER in April.
“Rich’s appointment to this key position will be seen worldwide as a major boost to the ITER project,” said PPPL Director Stewart Prager. “The upper management of ITER is now entirely filled with ‘the best in the world.’ While we will greatly miss his irreplaceable leadership within PPPL, Rich’s new activity is very much a net plus for all of us in fusion, given the central role of ITER to the world fusion program.”
Hawryluk joined PPPL’s research staff in 1974 and was the head of the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) project when it produced record-breaking results in the early 1990s.
“I was very fortunate to participate in the TFTR deuterium-tritium experiments, which provided the first indications of the physics associated with a burning plasma,” Hawryluk said. “I look forward to working with the ITER team in constructing a facility such that future scientists and engineers will be able to fully assess the physics of a burning plasma, which is critical for the development of fusion energy.”
TFTR was the largest magnetic confinement fusion facility in the United States and was the only U.S. facility to operate with the hydrogen isotopes deuterium and tritium (D-T). A 50/50 mixture of D-T is the fuel mixture required for a commercial fusion power plant. While Hawryluk was the Project Head, TFTR achieved world-record values of fusion power and made fundamental contributions to the understanding of high-temperature plasmas. In 1994, TFTR produced 10.7 million watts of fusion power. Plasma is a hot, electrically charged gas used as the fuel to produce fusion energy — the power source of the Sun and other stars.
Former PPPL Director Robert Goldston was at PPPL’s helm when Hawryluk was deputy director. “Rich is a spectacularly good choice for this position at ITER,” Goldston said. “During his eleven years in the director’s office at PPPL, he demonstrated an unparalleled depth of understanding of every aspect of scientific administration, and very good judgment on an extraordinarily wide range of issues. As everyone knows, he also has a very deep understanding of fusion science and engineering, so he will bring his own technical insights to share with the ITER leadership team as well. Rich exemplifies the quality of leadership that ITER needs to succeed."
Hawryluk received a Ph.D. in physics in 1974, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in physics in 1972, all from MIT. He has published more than 150 research papers in journals and conference proceedings, and has served on many advisory and review committees, including most recently as a member of the ITER Management Advisory Committee. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Fusion Power Associates Leadership Award and the American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow Award in 2007, the U.S. Department of Energy Distinguished Associate Award in 1995, and the American Physical Society Prize for Excellence in Plasma Physics in 1988. Hawryluk is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.
Hawryluk lives in West Windsor Township with his wife.
ITER, named for the Latin word for “the way,” has seven project partners, including China, the European Union, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, and the U.S. PPPL is part of the U.S. ITER effort.