Fusion News

Avoiding Disruptions that Halt Fusion Reactions

US Dept. of Energy 08.18.17 New supercomputing capabilities help understand how to cope with large-scale instabilities in tokamaks. Image courtesy of David Pfefferlé, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory A cutaway of the lower divertor region of the National Spherical Torus Experiment in a simulation of a disruption. The red and blue colors indicate electrical “halo” currents into the walls of the ... Read More »

Discovered: A quick and easy way to shut down instabilities in fusion devices

Eureka 18-AUG-2017 IMAGE: THIS IS PHYSICIST ERIC FREDRICKSON, LEAD AUTHOR OF THE PAPER, IN THE NSTX-U CONTROL ROOM. CREDIT: ELLE STARKMAN/PPPL OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS Scientists have discovered a remarkably simple way to suppress a common instability that can halt fusion reactions and damage the walls of reactors built to create a “star in a jar.” The findings, published in June ... Read More »

PPPL delivers new key components to help power a fusion energy experiment

PPPL August 17, 2017 Photo by Elle Starkman/Office of Communications Engineers Andrei Khodak and Irving Zatz with poster for pole shields Fusion power, which lights the sun and stars, requires temperatures of millions of degrees to fuse the particles inside plasma, a soup of charged gas that fuels fusion reactions. Here on Earth, scientists developing fusion as a safe, clean ... Read More »

Interview with Richard Dinan from Applied Fusion Systems

Nuclear Focus Applied Fusion Systems recently released a video to explain Nuclear Fusion and encourage investors to fund their project. Additionally, Applied Fusion Systems’ CEO, Richard Dinan has written a book: ‘The Fusion Age: Modern Nuclear Fusion Reactors’ to explain to investors how the planned reactors will work and why they should back fusion. Question: Can you please provide a ... Read More »


ARPA-E’s ALPHA program seeks to create and demonstrate tools to aid in the development of new, lower-cost pathways to fusion power and to enable more rapid progress in fusion research and development. Assuming we achieve excess energy production from a fusion core, a next critical step is to understand the capital costs associated with a fusion power plant. An initial ... Read More »

Achievement of Sustained Net Plasma Heating in a Fusion Experiment with the Optometrist Algorithm

E. A. Baltz, E. Trask, M. Binderbauer, M. Dikovsky, H. Gota, R. Mendoza, J. C. Platt & P. F. Riley Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 6425 (2017) doi:10.1038/s41598-017-06645-7 July 25, 2017 Abstract Many fields of basic and applied science require efficiently exploring complex systems with high dimensionality. An example of such a challenge is optimising the performance of plasma fusion ... Read More »

Oscillatory vapour shielding of liquid metal walls in nuclear fusion devices

Abstract Providing an efficacious plasma facing surface between the extreme plasma heat exhaust and the structural materials of nuclear fusion devices is a major challenge on the road to electricity production by fusion power plants. The performance of solid plasma facing surfaces may become critically reduced over time due to progressing damage accumulation. Liquid metals, however, are now gaining interest ... Read More »

Nuclear Fusion Could Completely Eliminate The Need For Fossil Fuels By 2030

Hexapolis SUKANYA MUKHERJEE FEBRUARY 4, 2017 Inside MIT’s Alcator C-Mod Tokamak nuclear fusion reactor Nuclear fusion has long been hailed as a near-perfect solution to the burgeoning global energy crisis. Centered around the replication of reactions occurring in the sun, this process involves the fusion of two lightweight atoms like hydrogen at extremely high temperatures, resulting in the release of ... Read More »

Former SULI student wins Fulbright award for research on W7-X

PPPL By Jeanne Jackson DeVoe | August 7, 2017 (Photo by Courtesy of Alexandra LeViness ) Fulbright scholar Alexandra LeViness shortly after graduating from the University of Alabama. Alexandra LeViness, a former Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) student who will join Princeton University’s graduate program in plasma physics in 2018, has won a prestigious Fulbright Fellowship to do research at ... Read More »


NPRE Illinois Jul 17, 2017 Fresh from his year in France as a Fulbright Grantee working on the ITER project, one of the most ambitious energy projects in the world today, Matthew Parsons has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to support his PhD work in Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at Illinois. Now working with Prof. ... Read More »

Exploring lower cost pathways to economical fusion power

Adjacent Open Access 04/08/17 By: Scott C. Hsu, Ph.D., Los Alamos National Laboratory Figure 1. Photo of the outer (top) and inner (bottom) electrodes of a (disassembled) coaxial plasma gun used to launch supersonic plasma jets in our fusion research. Photo courtesy of HyperV Technologies Corp. The cost of fusion energy development is a significant reason why progress remains challenging. ... Read More »

Fusion-fission hybrids: nuclear shortcut or pipe dream?

power-technology.com BY CHRIS LO ON AUG 7 2017 While nuclear fusion’s key milestones remain elusive, could fusion-fission hybrid reactors represent the best of both worlds? Start-up Apollo Fusion aims to make this complex concept a commercial reality, but formidable obstacles remain. With waste and safety concerns holding back global nuclear uptake, there is increased attention being paid to a longer-term ... Read More »

Simulations Show How Recycled Atoms Boost Plasma Turbulence

nersc AUGUST 7, 2017 Contact: Kathy Kincade, kkincade@lbl.gov, +1 510 495 2124 XGC1 Gyrokinetic Particle Code Opens New Doors in Fusion Research Plasma density fluctuation in a tokamak plasma turbulence driven by ion temperature gradient. The green line shows the magnetic separatrix surface that contains the edge plasma pedestal within a few centimeters from it. Image: C.S. Chang, Princeton Plasma ... Read More »

Metal cloud to protect fusion reactor walls

Phys.org August 7, 2017 A thin vapour cloud in front of a liquid metal may be the solution to protecting the reactor walls of future fusion power plants to the extreme heat fluxes encountered. In Nature Communications, PhD candidate Stein van Eden and colleagues at DIFFER and Ghent University presents measurements of a vapour cloud catching and redistributing the energy ... Read More »

How to keep superhot plasma from chirping

Quest 2017 Graduate student Vinícius Duarte. (Photo by Elle Starkman/ PPPL) “Chirp, chirp, chirp.” The familiar sound of birds is also what researchers call a wave in plasma that breaks from a single note into rapidly changing notes. This behavior, which often has frequencies far above what the human ear can hear, can cause heat in the form of high ... Read More »

Let’s build the big lid of the Tokamak bioshield

Fusion for Energy 03 August 2017 The first beam of the temporary lid has been installed at level L1. Work performed by Martifer, subcontractor of VFR consortium, Tokamak Complex, ITER construction site, August 2017 © ITER IO One of the most visual elements of the ITER construction site is the bioshield of the Tokamak complex, where the ITER machine will ... Read More »

Laboratory heads project that could lead to method for optimizing long-pulse plasmas

Quest 2017 PPPL is principal investigator for a multi-institutional project to study plasma-material interaction on the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) in China. The three-year project will test the ability of lithium to protect the EAST walls and prevent impurities from bouncing back into the core of the plasma and halting fusion reactions. PPPL will use devices called flowing liquid ... Read More »

So there I was, firing a megawatt plasma collider at work…

Googleblog Tuesday, July 25, 2017 Posted by Ted Baltz, Senior Staff Software Engineer, Google Accelerated Science Team Wait, what? Why is Google interested in plasma physics? Google is always interested in solving complex engineering problems, and few are more complex than fusion. Physicists have been trying since the 1950s to control the fusion of hydrogen atoms into helium, which is ... Read More »

F4E Director cuts the ribbon of ITER Poloidal Field coil feeder in ASIPP

Fusion for Energy 27 July 2017 Representatives from China and Europe at the ceremony for the completion of the ITER Poloidal Field (PF) coil feeder manufactured in China The success of ITER lies on the good collaboration between the seven Parties striving to deliver fusion energy. Building a stronger and deeper partnership with all countries has been one of the ... Read More »

Grad student funded to discover the plasma science frontier on US’s largest tokamak fusion reactor

Mountaineer Enews July 31, 2017 Samuel Nogami, a graduate student in Mark Koepke’s plasma physics research group, will receive two years of Department of Energy funding starting August 15th to conduct Frontier Science Experiments in an inaugural FSE initiative launched in 2017 on the DIII-D National Fusion Facility in San Diego, California. The facility and its fusion-energy science mission comprise ... Read More »

JET is ready to go full throttle

Eurofusion July 12th 2017 Zoltán Köllő, Atlantis Cobalt, Paul Staniec and Tamsin Jackson (from left to right) during the D-T rehearsals in JET’s tritium plant control room. Picture: © Copyright protected by United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority “We have to try again and see what is really the best performance for ITER we can deliver”, says plasma operations expert Eva ... Read More »

Kazakhstan Tokamak approaches new phase

WNN 25 July 2017 The Kazakhstan Tokamak for Material testing, or KTM, will undergo “real-mode” testing from November, according to the draft of an updated research program approved last week by the Commission of CIS Member States on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy. Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom announced the approval yesterday. Kazakhstan’s KTM tokamak (Image: NNC) The world’s ... Read More »

Google’s machine learning algorithm gets human help in quest for fusion power

New Atlas Rich Haridy | July 25, 2017 Google has been using its machine learning algorithms to help speed up progress in research that looks to produce electricity from nuclear fusion (Credit: Tri Alpha Energy / Erik Lucero) Hot on the heels of last month’s nuclear fusion breakthrough comes the first results from a multi-year partnership between Google and Tri ... Read More »

Pioneering explanation of the mysterious onset of a universal process

Quest2017 Luca Comisso. (Photo by Elle Starkman/ PPPL) Researchers at PPPL and Princeton University have proposed a groundbreaking solution to a mystery that has puzzled physicists for decades. At issue is how magnetic reconnection, a universal process that sets off solar flares, northern lights and cosmic gamma-ray bursts, occurs so much faster than theory says it should. The answer could ... Read More »

ITER hits on all six…poloidal magnets

Eurofusion July 12th 2017 One enormous factory just for magnets: inside the facility on the ITER site. Picture: F4E It is high time for Fusion in Europe to check in on the progress of ITER more regularly. Our series “The ITERsection” explains what makes this tokamak the most complex machine in the world. By reporting about the fusion puzzle, made ... Read More »

Learning about nuclear fusion in the Balkan

Xenia Schmalz July 23, 2017 Novi Sad is a 250,000-people city, the second-largest in Serbia. It is located on the side of the Danube river. On the other side of the river, a hill with a castle, and an amazing view of the city during sunset. It has a university with a green campus, located conveniently between the river and ... Read More »

The AI that could make fusion power a reality

Daily Mail 13 July 2017 System can analyze plasma to help design safe reactors that harness the power of stars on Earth Machine learning can be used to spot processes that are causally linked This can help to predict what events cause complications in plasma behaviour Researchers say it could be used to avoid disruptions that lead to energy loss ... Read More »

Tri-Alpha Energy Achieves Major Step Towards Commercial-Grade Nuclear Fusion Energy

American Security Project Jul 13, 2017 On July 10, 2017, Tri-Alpha Energy (TAE), a nuclear fusion energy start-up based in Foothill Ranch, California, achieved the first plasma in its fifth and newest reactor, Norman. TAE is the world’s largest private fusion company and has worked towards commercial nuclear power for the past 20 years. The new reactor’s first plasma represents ... Read More »

Nuclear Fusion Energy: Six Divertors Make the ITER Cut

Eurofusion July 12th 2017 Red marks the spot where the magic happens: JET’s divertor. Picture: EUROfusion One crucial theme of the EUROfusion Roadmap is improving divertor designs in preparation for the demonstration fusion reactor. Divertors, often referred to as the ashtrays of a fusion device, are the components that deal with fusion exhaust products. To meet the need for improved ... Read More »

Spherical tokamaks as models for next steps in fusion energy

PPPL Quest 2017 Jonathan Menard, head of NSTX-U Research. (Photo by Elle Starkman/ PPPL) Among the top puzzles in the development of fusion energy is the best shape for the magnetic facility — or “bottle” — that will provide the next steps in the development of fusion reactors. Leading candidates include spherical tokamaks, compact machines that are shaped like cored ... Read More »

Brexit threatens Britain’s place at the nuclear top table

Guardian 15 July 2017 The Iter nuclear fusion project under construction in the south of France in October last year. Photograph: Iter In the south of France, the largest scientific experiment mankind has ever embarked upon is rising out of the ground. This facility, the Iter project, will demonstrate nuclear fusion power on a commercial scale, involving the European Union, ... Read More »

Fusion: Will Humanity Ever Harness Star Power?

Visual Capitalist Nick Routley on July 15, 2017 Fusion is the epitome of “high risk, high reward” scientific research. If we were to ever successfully harness the forces that power the stars, mankind could have access to power that is almost literally too cheap to meter. However, reaching that goal will be a very expensive, long-term commitment – and it’s ... Read More »

Probing the magnetic universe

MIT June 23, 2017 “We now strongly believe that these magnetic fields critically affect structure formation in the universe — they are critical to shaping the world as we see it,” says Associate Professor Nuno Loureiro. Photo: Susan Young Nuclear Science and Engineering Associate Professor Nuno Loureiro ponders the origins of magnetic fields. Nuclear Science and Engineering Associate Professor Nuno ... Read More »

China aims to be a nuclear fusion power within the next 50 years

Silicon Republic by Colm Gorey | July 13, 2017 Illustration of a nuclear chain reaction. Image: GiroScience/Shutterstock The race to create the first sustainable ‘artificial sun’ is hotting up, with China’s top nuclear fusion scientist promising to have it within 50 years. Nuclear fusion could usher in a new age of technology, as a source of energy that is not ... Read More »

Finally, a divertor! – Wendelstein powers up

Euro Fusion July 12th 2017 The inside of the stellarator Wendelstein 7-X clearly shows the reddish tiles made of copper-chromium-zirconium. Pictures: IPP The stellarator Wendelstein 7-X has received its first divertor. Just one step closer towards realising plasma pulse lengths of half an hour without breaking the machine Fusion is different. Even when it comes to ashtrays. For the scientists ... Read More »

Nuclear fusion in Europe delayed past 2050 Setback largely due to ITER delays

The Chemical Engineer Neil Clark | 12/07/2017 NUCLEAR fusion in Europe from the DEMO demonstration plant could be pushed back beyond 2054, according to the BBC. The broadcaster gained the information from a new version of a European “road map” prior to its official release, which lays out the technological hurdles that must be overcome to start generating energy. It ... Read More »

First Helical Plasma Research in the People’s Republic of China

NIFS National Institute for Fusion Science (Japan) Establishes International Academic Cooperation Agreement with Southwest Jiaotong University in the People’s Republic of China – Towards the First Helical Plasma Research in the People’s Republic of China National Institutes of Natural Sciences National Institute for Fusion Science (NIFS) and Southwest Jiaotong University, in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, the People’s Republic of China, ... Read More »

Fusion: The need for clean energy sources beyond renewables

American Security Project Jun 27, 2017 By: Derek A. Sutherland There is an ever-increasing demand for consumable energy worldwide. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in the 2016 International Energy Outlook (IEO) report projects worldwide energy demand increasing into the mid-21st century. Worldwide energy consumption was dominated by countries within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a group ... Read More »

Nuclear Fusion Startup Tri Alpha Energy Hits a Big Milestone

GTM by Katie Fehrenbacher | July 10, 2017 But it’s just one step in a very long process. Tri Alpha Energy, a company with $500 million in backing that has been working on nuclear fusion technology for nearly two decades, reached a major milestone last month. On Monday, the company announced that it started up a new nuclear fusion reactor ... Read More »

Race to replicate sun’s plasma to harness ‘perfect energy source’

news.com.au July 10, 2017 THE world is racing to harness the power of the universe’s “perfect energy source”. And Australia is playing a key role in this new frontier. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor being built in France. AS THE world tries to wean itself off fossil fuels, scientists are racing towards one of the biggest breakthroughs in history that ... Read More »

Nuclear project could be ‘under threat’

Oxfordshire Guardian George Welchon: July 07, 2017 Left to right, Lorne Horton, head of the JET exploitation unit, Layla Moran, Oxford West and Abingdon MP, Ian Chapman, CEO UK Atomic Energy Authority An Oxfordshire MP has described a government pledge to keep funding a multi-million pound nuclear fusion project in Culham, as long as the EU keeps paying in as ... Read More »

While USA is distracted by its President’s antics, China is busy breaking another fusion record

The Register 6 Jul 2017 The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak Chinese boffins say they have smashed yet another world fusion record using their EAST contraption – aka the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak. The experimental fusion system managed to maintain a stable plasma state for 101.2 seconds, with the temperature peaking at 50,000,000 K (90,000,000°F, 50,000,000°C), we’re told. By contrast, the ... Read More »

Researchers demonstrate first hot plasma edge in a fusion facility

Phys.org July 5, 2017 Physicist Dennis Boyle. Credit: Elle Starkman/PPPL Office of Communications Two major issues confronting magnetic-confinement fusion energy are enabling the walls of devices that house fusion reactions to survive bombardment by energetic particles, and improving confinement of the plasma required for the reactions. At the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL), researchers have ... Read More »

China’s ‘artificial sun’ sets world record with 100s steady-state high performance plasma

Eureka Alert 5-Jul-2017 Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters Basic parameters of the world’s longest 101.2 s high confinement discharge achieved on EAST (Bt=2.5T, PRF=3.0MW, ne/neGW=0.55, Te=4.0KeV, H98y2=1.1, Upper single null configuration) Image by the EAST Team China’s Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) made an important advance by achieving a stable 101.2-second steady-state high confinement plasma, setting a world record in ... Read More »

An important scholar argues that in 2030 the nuclear fusion becomes feasible

News4c.com By Daniel Knighten -July 3, 2017 Earl Marmar, director of the Alcator C-Mod Tokamak project of the US Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says that from 2030 we will have nuclear fusion energy. The nuclear fusion will change the energy industry on the ground, being the only true source of renewable and environmentally friendly energy. Marmar states that “2030 may ... Read More »

MIT Scientist Asserts That We Will Have Fusion Energy by 2030

Futurism June 29, 2017 In Brief Earl Marmar, MIT’s Alcator C-Mod tokamak fusion project, said that we could potentially have nuclear fusion powering electric grids by the 2030s — that is, if we continue to pursue research aggressively. Fusion on the Horizon In the continuous pursuit of a truly renewable and clean energy source, nothing compares to nuclear fusion. Although ... Read More »