A key challenge to capturing and controlling fusion energy on Earth is maintaining the stability of plasma — the electrically charged gas that fuels fusion reactions — and keeping it millions of degrees hot to launch and maintain fusion reactions. This challenge requires controlling magnetic islands, bubble-like structures that form in the plasma in doughnut-shaped tokamak fusion facilities.
Actions taken to prevent nuclear and radiation accidents or to limit their consequences.
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and General Atomics have simulated a mysterious self-organized flow of the superhot plasma that fuels fusion reactions. The findings show that pumping more heat into the core of the plasma can drive instabilities that create plasma rotation inside the doughnut-shaped tokamak that houses the hot charged gas. This rotation may be used to improve the stability and performance of fusion devices.
A system that can compare physical objects while potentially protecting sensitive information about the objects themselves has been demonstrated experimentally at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL). This work, by researchers at Princeton University and PPPL, marks an initial confirmation of the application of a powerful cryptographic technique in the physical world.
Demonstration of a cryptographic technique that could be applicable to future nuclear disarmament agreements
The world’s nuclear enrichment programs should be under international control to prevent the development of nuclear weapons after the new arms deal with Iran expires in 10 to 15 years, said Frank von Hippel, a senior Princeton University research physicist and a former security advisor during the Clinton Administration.
“We have 10 to 15 years to strengthen the non-proliferation machine,” von Hippel said, speaking at the Ronald E. Hatcher Science on Saturday public lecture Jan. 30 at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.
After the Chernobyl catastrophe in 1986, many asked the question why Soviet nuclear experts chose the RBMK (the “Chernobyl-type reactor”) as a standard design for implementation all over the Soviet Union. This talk will show that the choice of reactor designs rarely follows strictly technical criteria: designs are chosen not because they are the best or most functional ones available.
After detonating the first nuclear weapons in Japan, to devastating effects, the U.S. government turned swiftly to promoting the peaceable dividends of atomic energy. The first such benefit took the form of radioactive isotopes, produced in a former Manhattan Project reactor and distributed to civilian purchasers beginning in 1946. The consequences of this new supply of radioisotopes for science and medicine were profound and extensive, as illustrated by developments in biochemistry, nuclear medicine, and ecology.
After 20 months of negotiation, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia and the United States reached an agreement with Iran to constrain and verify its nuclear program, in exchange for relief from international sanctions. The constraints on Iran are unprecedented among non-proliferation agreements, as are the verification procedures. Iran will be required, for 15 years, to maintain an inventory of no more than 300 kg of uranium enriched to no more than 3.67%. It will be prevented from constructing a research reactor using natural uranium.
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.”
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.
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