Scientists meet to chart roadmap to fusion

October 12, 2012

By John Greenwald

The crucial next steps on the roadmap to developing fusion energy will be the focus of more than 70 top fusion scientists and engineers from around the world who will gather at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) this month. The Oct. 15-18 session will kick off a series of annual workshops under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that will address key scientific and technological challenges facing countries developing fusion as a source of clean and abundant energy for producing electricity.

“There’s nothing like face-to-face talk and presentations to help people resolve common challenges,” said Hutch Neilson, who directs advanced projects at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and will chair the workshop at UCLA.

PPPL hosted a worldwide gathering of fusion scientists at Princeton University last year that led to planning for the workshops. “We felt there was a compelling need for international discussions to look at a wide range of options in an unbiased way,” said Stewart Prager, director of PPPL. “There’s proven to be a lot of interest in the international community.”

The workshops aim to help participants chart pathways to the demonstration fusion power plants that the major world programs envision. Such “DEMO” plants would mark the final step before the construction of commercial fusion power stations that could operate by mid-century.

Read more: Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory — Scientists meet to chart roadmap to fusion.

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