Seventy participants from 16 countries and international groups gathered at the University of California at Los Angeles under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in mid-October to formulate the early stages of a roadmap for the worldwide magnetic fusion program. This “IAEA DEMO Programme Workshop,” the first in an annual series inaugurated this year by the IAEA, focused on key issues for demonstrating electricity generation from fusion on an industrial scale, and identified opportunities for international collaboration.
The process of mapping a path to a commercial fusion reactor by planning a sequence of future machines.
The crucial next steps on the roadmap to developing fusion energy will be the focus of more than 70 top fusion scientists and engineers from around the world who will gather at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) this month. The Oct. 15-18 session will kick off a series of annual workshops under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that will address key scientific and technological challenges facing countries developing fusion as a source of clean and abundant energy for producing electricity.
George “Hutch” Neilson manages PPPL’s stellarator programs and advanced design activities. He is program manager and national point-of-contact for U.S. collaborations with the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator experiment in Germany. Advanced design activities overseen by Neilson include technical studies for next-generation experimental fusion facilities, including the U.S. system studies program and collaborations with South Korea and China on studies of DEMO machines, which would precede commercial fusion power plants.
Fusion energy has the potential to provide an alternative energy supply to the United States as well as the world. As leaders of the American magnetic fusion energy community funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, we have a responsibility to inform the public on the progress of this quest. Since funds are limited, any communications must be prioritized so that the most benefit is received for the expenditure.
An instrument developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has enabled a research team at a fusion energy experiment in China to observe--in startling detail--how a particular type of electromagnetic wave known as a radiofrequency (RF) wave affects the behavior of hot ionized gas.
Magnetic fusion research at Princeton began in 1951 under the code name Project Matterhorn. Lyman Spitzer, Jr., Professor of Astronomy at Princeton University, had for many years been involved in the study of very hot rarefied gases in interstellar space. Inspired by the fascinating but highly exaggerated claims of fusion researchers in Argentine, Professor Spitzer conceived of a plasma being confined in a figure-eight-shaped tube by an externally generated magnetic field.
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.
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