[QUOTE WITH ALMOST NO COMMENT...DO A SCREEN CAPTURE OF THIS MOMENT.]
GERMAN W7-X FUSION DEVICE PRODUCES FIRST PLASMA
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL)
physicists collaborating on the Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X) stellarator
fusion energy device in Greifswald, Germany, were on hand Feb. 3 when
German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushed a button to produce the reactor's
first plasma of hydrogen-fueled superhot gas.
The W7-X is a stellarator, a device that uses twisted magnetic coils to
confine the plasma that fuels fusion reactions in a three-dimensional
and steady-state magnetic field.
It is a departure from the more common
fusion device used in fusion experiments, a donut-shaped device called a
"tokamak" such as that used at PPPL.
A REALLY BIG DEAL?
Scientists and dignitaries from around the world watched as Merkel
pushed the button to create a hydrogen plasma that lasted a quarter of a
second. But that was long enough to begin heating the plasma to 80
million degrees Celsius. By 2020, the W7-X is designed to produce a
plasma that lasts up to 30 minutes and would demonstrate that
stellarators could be a model for the fusion power plants of the
Merkel acknowledged that there are "huge scientific challenges" and
costs associated with developing fusion energy, but she said the
possibility of developing fusion energy as a source of generating
electric energy is worth the investment.
"Rising energy demands and the vision of an almost inexhaustible
energy source are convincing arguments for investing in fusion," Merkel
"The W7-X is a major step for fusion research. Princeton and the whole
U.S. team are absolutely thrilled," Smith said to Merkel in German. "We
are so pleased to be involved in this exceptional event.
"The success of W7-X shows that the daunting challenges facing stellarators have been solved."
The hydrogen plasma is "a step on the path to making the device
perform as planned," said David Gates, a PPPL physicist and stellarator
physics lead, who was on hand at W7-X for the first test plasma and
watched a live stream of the first hydrogen plasma in the PPPL
auditorium. "From a plasma physicist's point of view, this next phase of
research is an important milestone."
PPPL leads the U.S. collaboration with W7-X scientists, which is
funded by $4 million annually from the Department of Energy's Office of
Science. PPPL scientists and technicians built some key components of
the machine, which took some 20 years and 1 billion euro to build.
PPPL researchers designed and delivered the five massive 2,400-pound
trim coils that fine-tune the shape of plasma in fusion experiments.
Physicists also designed and built an X-ray spectrometer for measuring
the plasma temperature. A current project is the design and construction
of divertor scraper units that intercept heat from the plasma to
protect divertor targets from damage.
Collaborators include researchers from Los Alamos and Oak Ridge
National Laboratories, as well as researchers and students from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Wisconsin,
Auburn University, and Xantho Technologies, LLC.
"The arrival of W7-X on the scene creates sort of a buzz about
stellarators," Neilson said. "I think in the U.S., the arrival of such
an advanced machine, which is competitive with anything that's out there
in terms of capabilities, is just bound to shift the conversation about
PPPL has taken a different approach to stellarators with its
quasi-axisymmetric stellarator or QUASAR, which was not completed. With
W7-X now operating, it could also lead the U.S. to reconsider
stellarators, Neilson said.
"For 10 years, the focus is going to be on W7-X itself," he said,
"but it does create an atmosphere in which it's reasonable to ask, 'What
PPPL, on Princeton University's Forrestal Campus in Plainsboro, New
Jersey, is devoted to creating new knowledge about the physics of
plasmas — ultra-hot, charged gases — and to developing practical
solutions for the creation of fusion energy. Results of PPPL research
have ranged from a portable nuclear materials detector for
anti-terrorist use to universally employed computer codes for analyzing
and predicting the outcome of fusion experiments.
The laboratory is
managed by the University for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science,
which is the largest single supporter of basic research in the physical
sciences in the United States.
GIVEN THE "CAST", THIS MAY NOT BE THE JOYOUS HAPPENING WE'RE TOLD IT IS.
LOS ALAMOS, OAK RIDGE?
CORRUPTION AND SAFETY/SECURITY VIOLATIONS.... "THE BOMB"...
CAPTURE THE MAGIC, RIGHT?