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The energy released when two atomic nuclei fuse together. This process powers the sun and stars.  Read more

Scientists discuss progress toward magnetic fusion energy at 2013 AAAS annual meeting

Scientists participating in the worldwide effort to develop magnetic fusion energy for generating electricity gave progress reports to the 2013 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston. Speaking were physicists George "Hutch" Neilson of the U.S. Department of Energy's Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, and Richard Hawryluk, deputy director-general of the ITER Organization.  Following are summaries of their presentations.

Previewing the next steps on the path to a magnetic fusion power plant

By John Greenwald

COLLOQUIUM: "Laboratory Dynamos"

One of the most fundamental tenets of astrophysical plasma physics is that magnetic fields can be stretched and amplified by flowing plasmas. In the right geometry, this can even lead to the self-generation of magnetic fields from flow through the dynamo process, a positive feedback instability where seed magnetic fields are stretched and amplified by flow in such a way as to reinforce the initial seed. This happens only when plasma is highly conducting, fast flowing, and when the magnetic field is weak. Laboratory plasmas exploring this parameter regime are surprisingly rare.

PPPL physicists win supercomputing time to simulate key energy and astrophysical phenomena

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.

PPPL teams with South Korea on the forerunner of a commercial fusion power station

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.


Praise and suggestions for fusion research from a utility industry think tank

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.

Robert J Goldston

Robert Goldston is a professor of Astrophysical Sciences at Princeton University and an international leader in the fields of plasma physics and magnetic fusion energy.  From 1997 to 2009 he served as Director of PPPL. 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.


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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