Fusion News

Future of JET secured with new European contract

UK.gov 29 March 2019 A contract extension for the world’s largest fusion research facility, Joint European Torus, has been signed by the UK and the European Commission The contract extension will secure at least €100m in additional inward investment from the EU over the next two years. The news brings reassurance for the more than 500 staff at site in ... Read More »

Side trips on the road to fusion

Physics Today 01 February 2019 A California startup has a multipronged approach to help pay for its decade-long quest to demonstrate fusion at a commercial scale. The approach includes a novel concept to become a part-time scientific user facility funded by the Department of Energy. TAE Technologies also is soliciting tax breaks and other financial inducements from state and local ... Read More »

Is Fusion Power Within Our Grasp?

Forbes By Ariel Cohen | Jan 14, 2019 Inside the ITER Tokamak reactor during operationCCFE, JET Two recent developments in the world of fusion power are giving scientists and policymakers newfound optimism for the elusive ‘holy grail’ of energy technologies. The first is a discovery by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) which uses radio frequency ... Read More »

Nuclear fusion, a disruptive power source for crowded cities

CBC By Don Pittis | Jan 21, 2019 Private sector push and new tech means nuclear fusion is closer than ever Thousands of fans at a hockey game between the Winnipeg Jets and the St. Louis Blues holding up phones, evidence of our modern need for energy density that green power will have trouble supplying. (Jeff Curry/USA TODAY Sports) The ... Read More »

Nuclear Fusion: We’ve Discovered a Way to Stabilize Super-hot Plasma

Newsweek Allan H. Reiman and Nathaniel J. Fisch On 1/15/19 Scientists have worked for decades to control nuclear fusion, wherein isotopes of hydrogen fuse to form helium, thereby releasing enormous amounts of energy. The nuclear fusion reaction is the same process that produces the vast energy of the Sun. If achieved, it would provide a near unlimited form of clean ... Read More »

Finally, Fusion Power Is About to Become a Reality

medium.com Brian Bergstein | Jan 3, 2019 Scientists inside a fusion reactor, UK. Photo: Monty Rakusen/Getty Long considered a joke, or a pipe dream, fusion is suddenly making enormous leaps The idea first lit up Dennis Whyte when he was in high school, in the remote reaches of Saskatchewan, Canada, in the 1980s. He wrote a term paper on how ... Read More »

United States should prepare to build a prototype fusion power plant, panel says

Science By Adrian Cho | Dec. 13, 2018 A new National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report calls for a complete rejuvenation of the U.S. fusion program, which hasn’t built a tokamak like the National Spherical Torus Experiment at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory since the 1990s. Elle Starkman/PPPL Communications (CC BY-NC) Just in time for the holidays, a ... Read More »

How ‘miniature suns’ could provide cheap, clean energy

BBC By Emma Woollacott | 16 November 2018 Our sun is a huge nuclear fusion reactor. Can we mimic its energy-making process on earth? We’re just five years away from harnessing almost unlimited power from “miniature suns”, some start-ups say: nuclear fusion reactors that could provide abundant, cheap and clean energy. In a world of global warming caused by our ... Read More »

Billionaires Chase ‘SpaceX Moment’ for the Holy Grail of Energy

Bloomberg by Jonathan Tirone | October 29 2018 (Bloomberg) — Not long before he died, tech visionary Paul Allen traveled to the south of France for a personal tour of a 35-country quest to replicate the workings of the Sun. The goal is to one day produce clean, almost limitless energy by fusing atoms together rather than splitting them apart. ... Read More »

A new path to solving a longstanding fusion challenge

David L. Chandler | MIT News Office | October 9, 2018 Novel design could help shed excess heat in next-generation fusion power plants. A class exercise at MIT, aided by industry researchers, has led to an innovative solution to one of the longstanding challenges facing the development of practical fusion power plants: how to get rid of excess heat that ... Read More »

MIT Plans New Fusion Reactor That Could Actually Generate Power

Extreme Tech November 7, 2018 Fusion powers the Sun, and thus all life on Earth. However, generating usable fusion power here on Earth has proven difficult. For decades, experimental reactors have achieved fusion at low levels, but never has there been net power generation. MIT says it has the tools to make true fusion power happen, and it may be ... Read More »

Burnaby’s General Fusion lands $49m investment from feds

BIV By Tyler Orton | October 26, 2018 Plasma injector heats matter to 5 million degrees Celsius. | General Fusion A Burnaby-based clean-energy pioneer is banking on a sizeable government investment to create hundreds of new jobs. The federal government announced October 26 it’s investing $49.3 million in General Fusion. Dollars from the Strategic Innovation Fund will create 400 new ... Read More »

Ignition Pending

Physics World 16 Oct 2018 Reproducing the energy of stars here on Earth could revolutionize how we fuel our lives. But why does fusion energy always seem to be 30 years away? Melanie Windridge investigates Scientists have been trying to harness nuclear fusion – the energy of the stars – since the 1930s. The reaction, in which atomic nuclei form ... Read More »

How far away are we from commercial fusion energy?

The Economic Times (India) Oct 18, 2018 After achieving the milestone mark of 50 per cent to first plasma in November 2017, ITER project implementation progresses by 0.7 per cent per month. Electricity-generating fusion power plants -one of the biggest inventions in history — might be safe, efficient, reliable and environmentally responsible. But, how far are we from turning science ... Read More »

Booming business in Culham means expansion for Science Centre

gov.uk 11 October 2018 Culham Science Centre, home to 1,500 highly skilled scientists and innovators, has been granted permission to expand by Science Minister Sam Gyimah. Culham Science Centre, home to 1,500 highly skilled scientists and innovators, has today (11 October) been granted permission to expand by Science Minister Sam Gyimah the expansion is needed now that the successful campus ... Read More »

Cavity ring-down spectroscopy to measure negative ion density in a helicon plasma source for fusion neutral beams

AIP Published Online: 12 October 2018 Accepted: September 2018 Review of Scientific Instruments 89, 103504 (2018); https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5044504 R. Agnello, M. Barbisan, I. Furno, Ph. Guittienne, A. A. Howling, R. Jacquier, R. Pasqualotto, G. Plyushchev, Y. Andrebe, S. Béchu, I. Morgal, and A. Simonin Abstract Cavity Ring Down Spectroscopy (CRDS) is used to measure the D− absolute density produced in the ... Read More »

Helion Energy got funding for possible breakeven fusion device this year

Next Big Future brian wang | October 1, 2018 Helion Energy has successfully raised $30 million raised in the past three years will be enough to get Helion through the debut of its 50-megwatt break-even nuclear fusion prototype. Helion’s commercial strategy is to build fusion reactors in Washington, with capacity of about 50 megawatts, and deploy them at industrial facilities. ... Read More »

A new path to solving a longstanding fusion challenge

MIT David L. Chandler | MIT News Office | October 9, 2018 Novel design could help shed excess heat in next-generation fusion power plants. The ARC conceptual design for a compact, high magnetic field fusion power plant. The design now incorporates innovations from the newly published research to handle heat exhaust from the plasma. ARC rendering by Alexander Creely A ... Read More »

Tokamak Energy

Institution of Mechanical Engineers As part of our Innovation campaign, we spoke to Tokamak Energy’s Dr Melanie Windridge about the company’s vision, the role of engineers in society, and what innovation means to her. Tokamak Energy is one of the companies supported by our Stephenson Fund. What does Tokamak Energy do? Tokamak Energy is working on nuclear fusion, the long-awaited ... Read More »

Attempting to tame plasmas in fusion

Phys.org October 2, 2018, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology Computer simulations show that the Richtmyer–Meshkov instability (left) can be suppressed with a saddle-shaped magnetic field (right). Credit: Matter and Radiation at Extremes Nuclear fusion, the release of energy when light atomic nuclei merge, is touted as a carbon-free solution to global energy requirements. One potential route to nuclear ... Read More »

A third dimension helps Tokamak fusion reactor avoid wall-destroying instability

ARS Technica Chris Lee – 9/13/2018 Currents and fields in the KSTAR Tokamak. The success of Tokamaks for fusion is a story unto itself, with the toroidal magnetic containers setting records for keeping high-energy plasmas under control, a necessary step for sustaining fusion. The overriding narrative, at least on the scientific side, is that when you have an unstable plasma, ... Read More »

Plasma impurities observed by a pulse height analysis diagnostic during the divertor campaign of the Wendelstein 7-X stellarator

AIP Published Online: 27 September 2018 | Accepted: July 2018 Review of Scientific Instruments 89, 10F111 (2018); https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5038850 M. Kubkowska, A. Czarnecka, T. Fornal, M. Gruca, S. Jabłoński, N. Krawczyk, L. Ryć, R. Burhenn, B. Buttenschön, B. Geiger, O. Grulke, A. Langenberg, O. Marchuk, K. J. McCarthy, U. Neuner, D. Nicolai, N. Pablant, B. Schweer, H. Thomsen, Th. Wegner, P. ... Read More »

27th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2018)

IAEA 22–27 October 2018, Gandhinagar (nearest Airport: Ahmedabad), India The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) fosters the exchange of scientific and technical results in nuclear fusion research and development through its series of Fusion Energy Conferences. The 27th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference (FEC 2018) aims to provide a forum for the discussion of key physics and technology issues as well ... Read More »

Efficient generation of high-density plasma enabled by high magnetic field

Phys.org September 26, 2018, Osaka University (1) Compressing fusion fuel by nanosecond laser beams; (2) Heating the compressed fuel by a picosecond laser beam to ignite; (3) Ignition and burn Credit: Osaka University An international joint research group led by Osaka University demonstrated that it was possible to efficiently heat plasma by focusing a relativistic electron beam (REB) accelerated by ... Read More »

Pushing the plasma density limit

Lifescience.net Aug 24, 2018 Plasma Science and Fusion Center researchers discover a path to overcoming the plasma density limit in their quest for steady-state fusion. For decades, researchers have been exploring ways to replicate on Earth the physical process of fusion that occurs naturally in the sun and other stars. Confined by its own strong gravitational field, the sun’s burning ... Read More »

Fusion breakthrough: improved control of plasma

Futuretime.net 14th September 2018 Researchers have predicted the entire set of beneficial 3-D distortions for controlling edge localised modes (ELMs) in tokamak plasma. A long-time puzzle in the effort to capture the power of fusion is how to lessen or eliminate a common instability that occurs in the plasma called edge localised modes (ELMs). Just as the Sun releases enormous ... Read More »

Extreme-Scale Code Models Extremely Hot Plasma to Explain Spontaneous Transition

DOE For the first time, scientists modeled the spontaneous bifurcation of turbulence to high-confinement mode, solving a 35-year-old mystery. Image courtesy of Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (Left) A typical plasma-density-fluctuation pattern from edge turbulence in a realistic tokamak geometry. The black line shows the magnetic separatrix surface with the magnetic X-point at the bottom. (Right) The suppression of high amplitude ... Read More »

Initial tests at UK pulsed power device

WNN 29 August 2018 First Light Fusion (FLF) – a researcher of inertial confinement fusion – has successfully fired the first test ‘shot’ on one of the six limbs of its newly-constructed pulsed power device ‘Machine 3’. A rendering of Machine 3 (Image: FLF) FLF – based in Oxford, England – announced today that the first test ‘shot’ was fired ... Read More »

Scientists tame damaging plasma instabilities in fusion facilities

Space Daily Aug 23, 2018 Before scientists can capture and recreate the fusion process that powers the sun and stars to produce virtually limitless energy on Earth, they must first learn to control the hot plasma gas that fuels fusion reactions. In a set of recent experiments, scientists have tamed a plasma instability in a way that could lead to ... Read More »

Higher plasma densities, more efficient tokamaks

Phys.org August 21, 2018, US Department of Energy The left figure shows a large, asymmetric magnetic island, which bulges on the inside (that is, the blue arrow is longer than the red), that can lead to a disruption and end a plasma discharge. The right figure shows the empirical scaling law of the density limit derived from experimental observations compared ... Read More »

Optimized quasi-optical cross-polarization scattering system for the measurement of magnetic turbulence on the DIII-D tokamak

Review of Scientific Instruments 89, 10H107 (2018); https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5035427 T. L. Rhodes, R. Lantsov, G. Wang, R. Ellis, and W. A. Peebles Published Online: 23 August 2018 Accepted: June 2018 Abstract Simulations and laboratory tests are used to design and optimize a quasi-optical system for cross-polarization scattering (CPS) measurements of magnetic turbulence on the DIII-D tokamak. The CPS technique uses a ... Read More »

Considerations of the q-profile control in KSTAR for advanced tokamak operation scenarios

Review of Scientific Instruments 89, 10D112 (2018); https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5035126 J. Chunga, J. Ko, S.-H. Hahn, H. S. Kim, and S. J. Wang Published Online: 21 August 2018 Accepted: June 2018 Abstract The q-profile control is essential for tokamaks exploring the advanced tokamak scenarios, which is expected to be able to provide a possible route toward a steady-state high performance operation in ... Read More »

27 – ITER’s $23B Fusion Project to Provide Cheap, Virtually Free Energy for the World with Director-General Bernard Bigot

FringeFM August 24, 2018 Bernard Bigot is the Director-General of the ITER Organization (@iterorg), an international fusion science and technology research facility based in France. Bernard has been closely associated with ITER since France’s bid to host the project in 2003 and Mr Bigot was delegated by the French government to act as High Representative for the implementation of ITER ... Read More »

Pushing the plasma density limit

MIT Paul Rivenberg | Plasma Science and Fusion Center | August 23, 2018 Seung Gyou Baek and his colleagues performed experiments on the Alcator C-Mod tokamak to demonstrate how microwaves can be used to overcome barriers to steady-state fusion reactor operation. Photo: Paul Rivenberg/PSFC Plasma Science and Fusion Center researchers discover a path to overcoming the plasma density limit in ... Read More »

Allain wins ANS Fusion Energy Division Technical Accomplishment Award

NPRE Aug 20, 2018 | Susan Mumm JP Allain, Professor of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering, has been selected for the 2018 Technical Accomplishment Award of the American Nuclear Society Fusion Energy Division (ANS FED). The first University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign faculty member ever to have been chosen for this honor, Allain has been cited “for pioneering work on ... Read More »

Steady as she goes: Scientists tame damaging plasma instabilities and pave the way for efficient fusion on Earth

PPPL By John Greewald | August 21, 2018 (Photo by Greg Cunningham/General Atomics Energy Group ) PPPL physicist Raffi Nazikian, left, and General Atomics physicist Craig Petty in front of a model cross-section of the DIII-D tokamak Before scientists can capture and recreate the fusion process that powers the sun and stars to produce virtually limitless energy on Earth, they ... Read More »

Crown of concrete and doors of steel at the ITER Tokamak complex

Fusion for Energy 20 August 2018 The Tokamak Complex, the Assembly Hall, the Cryoplant and Magnet Power Conversion buildings on the right. ITER Construction site, Cadarache, July 2018 © ITER IO As the temperatures rise in the south of France and we enter the summer hiatus, the activity in the region gradually slows down. On the ITER site, however, the ... Read More »

Micro-spectrometer for fusion plasma boundary measurements

AIP Published Online: 14 August 2018 Accepted: June 2018 Review of Scientific Instruments 89, 10J116 (2018); https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5035365 A. M. Keesee, M. Dugas, S. Ellison, L. Neal1, E. E. Scime, D. S. Thompson, J. Tersteeg, and C. J. Tucker Abstract In situ probes are being developed to make direct, spatially resolved measurements of the ion energy spectra in the edge of ... Read More »

Evidence of generation of non-inductive toroidal plasma current above density limit

Fusion Group August 20, 2018 by Daniel Gallart Alcator C-Mod (Photo: Courtesy of MIT) One of the key requirements to achieve steady-state power production in a fusion reactor based on the so-called tokamak configuration is to generate non-inductive toroidal plasma current in an efficient way. A recent paper published in Physical Review Letters entitled “Observation of Efficient Lower Hybrid Current ... Read More »

New cloud-based computing platform for fusion research

Fusion Group August 17, 2018 by Xavier Sáez Since June Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) provides a new facility to fusion scientists, named the CUMULUS Modular Data Centre. The centre contains a new cloud-based computing platform that promises to process scientific data quicker, cheaper and more accurately than ever before. Scientific computing is an essential technology for assimilating and ... Read More »

Will doubling magnetic field strength halve the time to fusion energy?

Physics Today 01 August 2018 Magnets built with high-temperature superconductors are at the heart of efforts to demonstrate a burning plasma in a compact device. Two spin-off companies, one in the US and the other in the UK, hope to beat ITER, the massive seven-nation undertaking, by 10 years or more in proving that fusion is a viable energy source. ... Read More »

Diamond capsules improve performance of laser fusion

Phys.org August 9, 2018, Osaka University Figure 1. Diamond capsule for nuclear fusion made using the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method (Diameter: ~500 µm, film thickness < 6 μm). Credit: Osaka University Osaka University-led researchers demonstrated that the perturbation of laser imprinting on a capsule for nuclear fusion fuel made from stiff and heavy materials was mitigated. Using the latest ... Read More »

Secretary of Energy Perry says PPPL research has potential to ‘change the world’

PPPL Emily Aronson, Office of Communications | Aug. 9, 2018 U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry toured the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) Thursday, Aug. 9, saying that national labs like PPPL have the potential to change the world through their scientific research. “Fusion is incredibly important not just to this institution, not just to the Department of Energy, but to ... Read More »

Workshop advances plans for coping with disruptions on ITER

Eureka Alert 3-Aug-2018 IMAGE: Participants in the three-day workshop on mitigating disruptions in the ITER fusion facility experiment. view more Credit: Elle Starkman/PPPL Office of Communications The sixth Annual Theory and Simulation of Disruptions Workshop at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) made substantial progress toward planning a system for mitigating disruptions on ITER, the ... Read More »

Fusion start-ups hope to revolutionize energy in the coming decades

C&EN August 6, 2018 Credit: General Fusion | The pistons surrounding General Fusion’s main reactor fire once per second, pressurizing the liquid metal and plasma within. With the help of venture capital funding and new technologies, a cadre of companies want to commercialize fusion energy in the next 20 years In brief A group of start-up companies hopes to capitalize ... Read More »