Like a new passenger jet or power plant, the National Spherical Torus Upgrade (NSTX-U) must be certified safe to operate. At the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), the task of evaluating the safety of the $94 million upgrade belongs to the Activity Certification Committee (ACC), whose work remains ongoing. “This is a critical group,” said Adam Cohen, deputy director for operations at the Laboratory. “When you have a complex activity like the upgrade you need a standing committee to guarantee that it will run safely.”
The National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX), which underwent a $94 million upgrade, is being repaired. It will be the most powerful experimental fusion facility, or tokamak, of its type in the world when it is back in operation. Experiments will test the ability of the upgraded spherical facility to maintain a high-performance plasma under conditions of extreme heat and power. Results could strongly influence the design of future fusion reactors.
Steve Raftopoulos is a lifelong “tinkerer” who has always found joy in building things and who loves his job at PPPL because it allows him to do just that. Now he’s bringing that sense of fun to a serious job as head of the team of engineers who help create the coils and other components of PPPL’s experiments.
Your task: Take apart, decontaminate, refurbish, relocate, reassemble, realign and reinstall a 75-ton neutral beam box that will add a second beam box to the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U) and double the experiment’s heating power. Oh, and while you’re at it, hoist the two-story tall box over a 22-foot wall.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) is looking forward to reopening the National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX-U) after “stellar” progress in the $94 million upgrade of the facility that should allow it to be completed by December of this year, Lab Director Stewart Prager told PPPL staff during his annual State of the Laboratory speech on April 29.
Jonathan Menard is responsible for guiding the research program of PPPL working with the laboratory's domestic and international research team. His research interests include the magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) equilibrium and stability properties of spherical torus (ST) and tokamak plasmas, advanced operating scenarios in the ST, and the development of next- step ST options for fusion energy.
Masa Ono is project director of the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade (NSTX-U). Ono has led
a number of PPPL research teams including those involved in the Advanced Concept Torus (ACT-1), the Current Drive Experiment (CDX), the Current Drive Experiment Upgrade (CDX-U) and the NSTX. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the author of more than 250 scientific papers.
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.
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