DOE awards $17 million for research at Princeton fusion facility

September 10, 2020, 7:00AMNuclear News

The NSTX-U “umbrella.” Photo: Elle Starkman/ PPPL Office of Communications

The Department of Energy on September 8 announced funding for research at the National Spherical Tokamak Experiment Upgrade (NSTX-U), an Office of Science user facility at the DOE’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in Princeton, N.J.

Total planned funding is $17 million for the NSTX-U work over five years in duration. As much as $6 million in fiscal year 2020 dollars and out-year funding could be available this year, contingent on congressional appropriations and satisfactory progress.

The initiative will support experiments, data analysis, and computer modeling and simulation of plasma behavior. A major focus will be on the start of laying the scientific groundwork for a next-generation facility through better understanding of the behavior of plasmas in spherical tokamaks, the DOE said.

Domestic fusion: Early research will focus on the analysis of data from NSTX-U’s initial run in 2016, as well as computer modeling and simulation, including modeling of low-collisionality plasmas, and a detailed analysis of previously observed energetic particle instabilities.

According to the DOE, the award was made by competitive peer review under a DOE funding opportunity announcement sponsored by the Fusion Energy Sciences program within the DOE’s Office of Science.

NSTX-U is one of the nation’s two largest fusion energy facilities, along with the DIII-D National Fusion Facility at General Atomics in San Diego, Calif.

Quote: “Fusion holds the promise of abundant clean energy for the nation and the world,” said Chris Fall, director of the DOE’s Office of Science. “American scientists have been in the forefront of fusion energy research from the beginning, and this research will help sustain U.S. leadership in this critical field.”

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