Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) have developed a detailed model of the source of a puzzling limitation on fusion reactions. The findings, published in June in Physics of Plasmas, complete and confirm previous PPPL research and could lead to steps to overcome the barrier if the model proves consistent with experimental data. “We used to have correlation,” said physicist David Gates, first author of the paper. “Now we believe we have causation.” This work was supported by the DOE Office of Science.
The National Spherical Torus Experiment (NSTX), which is undergoing a $94 million upgrade that will make it the most powerful experimental fusion facility, or tokamak, of its type in the world when work is completed in 2015. 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.
If a picture is worth a thousands words, a computer graphic is worth millions. With that thought in mind, PPPL has named Computational Scientist Eliot Feibush to lead a new University consortium that will share efforts to turn mountains of scientific data into eye-friendly computer visualizations.
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.”
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.
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory managed by Princeton University.
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