OF INTEREST: Rob Goldston among Foreign Policy magazine’s 100 top global thinkers

​Editors of Foreign Policy magazine have named fusion physicist Rob Goldston, a Princeton University professor of astrophysical sciences and former director of PPPL, to its list of  '100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2014.' The recognition, made Nov. 17 at a celebration in Washington, D.C., honored Goldston for his contributions to the field of nuclear arms control.

Founded in 1970, Foreign Policy magazine focuses on global affairs, current events and domestic and international affairs. It produces daily content on its website, ForeignPolicy.com and publishes six print issues annually.

Named with Goldston were Princeton physicist Alex Glaser and Boaz Barak of Microsoft Research New England. The researchers have designed a novel process called a 'zero-knowledge protocol' for verifying that nuclear weapons to be dismantled or removed from deployment contain true warheads. Goldston and Glaser are developing a prototype system at PPPL that will test the idea by beaming neutrons at a non-nuclear test object.


Photo: Alex Glaser, left, and Rob Goldston, seen here with a non-nuclear test object.


Read more on PPPL website.

OF INTEREST: Supercomputer lends insight into plasma dynamics

​Studying the intricacies and mysteries of the sun is physicist Wendell Horton life’s work. A widely known authority on plasma physics, his study of the high temperature gases on the sun, or plasma, consistently leads him around the world to work on a diverse range of projects that have great impact.

Fusion energy is one such key scientific issue that Horton is investigating and one that has intrigued researchers for decades.

"Fusion energy involves the same thermonuclear reactions that take place on the sun," Horton said. "Fusing two isotopes of hydrogen to create helium releases a tremendous amount of energy—10 times greater than that of nuclear fission."
Through the Institute for Fusion Studies at The University of Texas at Austin, Horton collaborates with researchers at ITER, a fusion lab in France and the National Institute for Fusion Science in Japan to address these challenges. At ITER, Horton is working with researchers to build the world’s largest tokamak—the device that is leading the way to produce fusion energy in the laboratory.
Perfecting the design of the tokamak is essential to producing , and since it is not fully developed, Horton performs supercomputer simulations on the Stampede supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) to model plasma flow and turbulence inside the device.
"Simulations give us information about plasma in three dimensions and in time, so that we are able to see details beyond what we would get with analytic theory and probes and high-tech diagnostic measurements," Horton said.
The simulations also give researchers a more holistic picture of what is needed to improve the tokamak design. Comparing simulations with fusion experiments in nuclear labs around the world helps Horton and other researchers move even closer to this breakthrough energy source.

Read the full article on PhysOrg

NEWSLINE: Key milestones and an important nomination

As the Fifteenth Meeting of the ITER Council concluded on Thursday 20 November, concrete pouring was underway on the first basement-level walls of the Tokamak Complex.
This new construction milestone was welcomed by the delegates, who also noted the finalization of the Tokamak Complex basemat slab in late August and the progress reported on the manufacturing of key components in the Members' industries.
Chaired by Robert Iotti from the US, and bringing together senior representatives from China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States, the ITER Council took the important decision to nominate Bernard Bigot, from France, to succeed Osamu Motojima as the next Director-General of the ITER Organization.
Bernard Bigot is the present Administrator-General of the French Atomic and Alternative Energies Authority (Commissariat à l’énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives, CEA) and also the High Representative for ITER in France.
Mr Bigot’s five-year appointment will be formalized in due time in accordance with the ITER Agreement, in view of Mr Bigot taking up his duties in 2015.
This decision was 'fully welcomed' by Osamu Motojima, who described his successor as 'an experienced manager of large projects, a leader who is able to find common ground, an excellent communicator' and someone 'highly respected in the fusion community.'
The present ITER Director-General also stressed Bernard Bigot’s 'history of close involvement with ITER' going back to the early 2000 when France was applying to host the project.
Bernard Bigot said he was 'fully aware of the large responsibility that it will be to lead the ITER Project as it enters a new phase' and that he would 'do [his] utmost to fulfil the expectations of the Council and of all the people involved in ITER.'
As the Fifteenth ITER Council special invitee Pierre-Franck Chevet, President of the French Nuclear Safety Authority (Autorité de sûreté nucléaire, ASN) made a presentation to the delegates to explain the mission, responsibilities and expectations of the ASN.
Click to read the press release in English or French.
The photo gallery from the Fifteenth ITER Council can be viewed here.

OF INTEREST: FuseNet launches new education support schemes

​FuseNet, the European platform to coordinate and improve fusion education, has launched a new student support scheme in cooperation with and funded by the EUROfusion consortium:

– Support for Master students to go abroad for an internship in a fusion group or at a research institute.
– Support for Master and PhD students to follow educational training activities external to their own organisation (such as summer schools, master classes and workshops with a dominant educational character).
– Support for PhD students to take part in research at another universities' fusion group or at a research laboratory for shorter periods than a full internship.
Being a member of FuseNet, the ITER Organization is entitled to make use of this very attractive scheme by offering internships at ITER or research trips for PhD students.
For more information please check the FuseNet website.

OF INTEREST: First Highly Exceptional Load sails to ITER

​On Friday 14 November, the first Highly Exceptional Load (HEL) destined to the ITER site was loaded onto the container ship CMA-Ivanhoe in the port of Busan, South Korea, to begin its five-week journey to France.

On board is the 87-ton main body of one high voltage substation transformer unit (part of the ITER steady state electrical network) as well as 39 wooden crates packed with the transformer’s auxiliary components. The equipment was procured by the US and manufactured by Hyundai Heavy Industry in Ulsan, South Korea. Three identical transformers will be shipped to ITER in the coming months.
Ivanhoe should reach the Mediterranean harbour of Fos-sur-Mer on 19 December. There, the transformer main body will be unloaded and staged until 9 January 2015, when it will be transferred to a trailer.
The trailer will be loaded onto a barge to cross the inland sea Étang-de-Berre before travelling 104 kilometres along the ITER Itinerary, for delivery to  the ITER site in the early hours of 14 January.

OF INTEREST: Princeton researchers present cutting edge results at APS Plasma Physics Conference

Some 135 researchers, graduate students, and staff members from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL, US)) joined 1,500 research scientists from around the world at the 56th annual meeting of the American Physical Society Division of Plasma Physics Conference from 27 to 31 October in New Orleans.

Topics in the sessions ranged from waves in plasma to the physics of ITER and women in plasma physics. Dozens of PPPL scientists presented the results of their cutting-edge research in magnetic fusion and plasma science. There were about 100 invited speakers at the conference, more than a dozen of whom were from PPPL.

Read the full article and access the topical press releases on the PPPL website.

OF INTEREST: Hole in one: Centre stack smoothly installed in NSTX-U

With near-surgical precision, technicians at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL, US) hoisted the 29,000-pound (13,000-kilo) centre stack for the National Spherical Torus Experiment-Upgrade, NSTX-U, over a 20-foot (6-metre) wall and lowered it into the vacuum vessel of the fusion facility. The smooth operation on 24 October capped more than two years of construction of the centre stack, which houses the bundle of magnetic coils that form the heart of the $94 million (EUR 19 million) upgrade.

’This was really a watershed moment,' said Mike Williams, the head of engineering and infrastructure at PPPL and associate director of the Laboratory. 'The critical path [or key sequence of steps for the upgrade] was fabrication of the magnets, and that has now been done.'

The lift team conducted the final steps largely in silence, attaching the bundled coils in their casing to an overhead crane and guiding the 21 foot-long (6.4-metre) centre stack into place. The clearances were tiny: the bottom of the casing passed just inches over the shielding wall and the top of the vacuum vessel. Inserting the centre stack into the vessel was like threading a needle, since the clearance at the opening was only about an inch. Guidance came chiefly from hand signals, with some radio communication at the end.
Read the full article on the PPPL website.

OF INTEREST: A rare and beautiful sight

​Wildlife is thriving on the ITER site. Wild boars, mouflon goats and deer freely roam the vast expanses of forest that surround the installation’s platform.

This picture of two young does was taken last week by APAVE’s Health and Safety Coordinator Laurent Feron, as he drove along the track leading to the Logistics Platform located behind the hill on the east side of the worksite.

These does are no ordinary animals — they are descendants of the two pairs of Sikka deer that were offered to French President Sadi Carnot by the Emperor of Japan Mutsuhito, the "Meiji Emperor", in 1890.
The two couples were originally hosted in the Presidential Hunting Reserve near Paris. By 1928, the original four had become a small herd, and a few individuals were entrusted to various national parks and wildlife reservations.
The National Forest in Cadarache was one of them. Eighty-six years later, the Emperor’s deer are still here, scattered between the CEA-Cadarache enclosure, the National Forestry Commission reserve and the outskirts of the ITER site.