Understanding the Outsized Effect of Hydrogen Isotopes

Creating a fusion plasma requires deep understanding of the behavior of various isotopes of hydrogen. But plasma scientists have long been puzzled by a mysterious contradiction– the disconnect between theoretical predictions and experimental observations of how fusion energy confinement varies with the mass of hydrogen isotopes used to fuel the plasma. A new analysis has helped unravel this mystery.

Scientists Use Supercomputers to Study Reliable Fusion Reactor Design, Operation

A team used two DOE supercomputers to complete simulations of the full-power ITER fusion device and found that the component that removes exhaust heat from ITER may be more likely to maintain its integrity than was predicted by the current trend of fusion devices.

Advisory Committee Releases Strategic Plan for U.S. Fusion, Plasma Program

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (FESAC) has adopted and endorsed a new report that lays out a strategic plan for fusion energy and plasma science research over the next decade. The report has been…

Keeping it Cool while Maintaining Core Performance

One of the great challenges in fusion tokamaks is how to keep the core of a plasma hot enough that fusion can occur while maintaining a temperature at the edge of the plasma low enough that it doesn’t melt the tokamak’s walls. This requires dissipating the heat and particles flowing towards the wall without reducing the performance of the core. Researchers recently developed a pathway to addressing this core-edge integration challenge.

PPPL physicist Hutch Neilson receives award for decades of leadership on national and international fusion experiments

Hutch Neilson, a physicist at PPPL who is head of ITER Projects, has received the 2020 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) Nuclear & Plasma Sciences Society (NPSS) Merit Award for decades of achievements, including collaborations with fusion experiments around the world from the Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) stellarator in Germany to the international ITER experiment in the south of France.

Magnetic Ripples Calm the Surface of Fusion Plasmas

The ITER fusion reactor being built in the south of France will use rippled magnetic fields to prevent bursts of heat and particles that can damage the walls of the reactor. Now, physicists at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and the DIII-D national fusion facility have compared computer simulations of the DIII-D plasma with experimental measurements to better understand how controlled magnetic ripples outside the plasma can suppress these bursts.