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1000 researchers, 400 reports on fusion progress

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Nearly 1,000 of the world’s preeminent fusion researchers from 45 countries gathered last week in San Diego to discuss the latest advances in fusion energy. The 24th International Atomic Energy Agency Fusion Energy Conference, organized by the IAEA in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy and General Atomics, aims to “provide a forum for the discussion of key physics and technology issues as well as innovative concepts of direct relevance to fusion as a source of nuclear energy.”


Those in attendance in San Diego included Nobel Prize-winning physicist Burton Richter; Physicist Steven Cowley, CEO of the United Kingdom’s Atomic Energy Authority; Frances Chen, a plasma physicist and UCLA professor emeritus who wrote the book An Indispensable Truth: How Fusion Power Can Save the Planet; and keynote speaker William Brinkman, director of the Office of Science in the US Department of Energy.


ITER Director-General Motojima gave the overview talk in the opening scientific session on Monday 8 October and ITER played centre stage throughout the conference, with more than 20 members of staff present providing as many scientific papers and posters (the ITER Domestic Agencies, for their part, contributed 54 papers to the conference).


While acknowledging the difficulties in the implementation of the project which the ITER Organization and Domestic Agencies are tackling, delegates to the conference welcomed the significant technical progress in ITER design and construction activities which were reported in the ITER presentations.


At a “Town Meeting” on the prospects for burning plasma studies at ITER that was arranged by the local organizers of the conference, presentations by Rich Hawryluk (Deputy Director-General and director of the Department for Administration) and David Campbell (director of the Plasma Operation Directorate) were particularly well received.


At the stand of the Korean National Fusion Research Institute, a promise to

At the stand of the Korean National Fusion Research Institute, a promise to “amaze the world.”

Overall, the atmosphere was highly supportive of the ITER project and a substantial fraction of the presentations made at the conference were linked in one way or another to addressing ITER’s R&D priorities.


Significant progress was reported in areas such as the use of all-metal plasma-facing components and the associated plasma-wall interaction issues, disruption mitigation, ELM control, H-mode access, and confinement. Plans presented for future R&D activities in the major fusion facilities continued to reflect a close link to physics areas which are key to ITER’s success.


Click here to view the conference coverage on KUSI local news channel.

4 Comments on "1000 researchers, 400 reports on fusion progress"

  1. Bard on Thu, 27th Feb 2014 10:09 pm 

    Control of the sun of the son
    Lead by the hand with a gun
    Over and over, more years to count
    Problems and issues too high to surmount
    20 more years they repeated each day
    20 more years to behold the golden ray
    Lifetimes came and lifetimes went
    They’d have been more useful putting their arses up for rent.

  2. Northwest Resident on Thu, 27th Feb 2014 10:50 pm 

    Back in the old days, settlers living out in the wilderness got to witness a hanging once a week. Here at peak oil, we get treated to the weekly (or so) “fusion will save the world” article, which we all get to throw rocks and tomatoes and assorted insults at. Fun stuff!

    How about this title: “An Indispensable Truth: How Fusion Power Can Save the Planet”

    Copies for free, if you’re interested. Right up there on the “bestseller list” with “How Space Aliens Will Save Humanity From Themselves”.

    I read through a list of comments left by engineers on a technical site dealing with fusion. No working fusion reactor has been created. It is a noble idea and a great physics challenge, but requires huge power input and very advanced materials. Controlling thermonuclear reactions is an intellectual challenge of the highest degree for physicists and engineers, but down here on planet earth, we’re about to run out of oil and we’re looking for real solutions that will help us in the next few years, and nuclear fusion energy ain’t it.

  3. Makati1 on Fri, 28th Feb 2014 1:39 am 

    Could be 1,000,000 fusion researchers wasting the taxpayers money. Never gonna happen on this earth. Techies have finally hit a wall they cannot even see over let alone get through. Like an addict that can see the huge fix in the sky, but cannot get to it. ^_^

  4. Nony on Fri, 28th Feb 2014 3:01 am 

    Read the New Yorker article. Total clusterf$%^ of a program. I’m not even talking engineering challenges, but they are running it with 10 countries having veto power. Total waste.

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