The ITER organization and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) have signed an Agreement on Academic and Scientific Cooperation early this year. This Agreement underlines the importance of promoting academic and scientific progress between the two institutions. Thus, boosting the training of young researchers and engineers by giving the possibility of joint supervision of PhD students and training and exchange of scientists and engineers. Among other possibilities, the door is also open for joint research projects on nuclear fusion.
Recent research on plasma heating by the Fusion Group
The Fusion Group has been working hard to improve our understanding of the deuterium-tritium (D-T) plasmas carried out at JET during late 2021. These experiments broke the world fusion energy record and are providing us with invaluable physical insight in preparation of ITER’s experiments.
Our research has culminated in two recent papers published at Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion. One tackles the optimization of the H and 3He minority heating schemes for D-T, while the other describes a recent upgrade we developed for the calculation of the diffusion operator. A brief overview is given together with their links to the journal version as follows.
Fusenet European Fusion Teacher Day 2022
The 3rd edition of the Fusion Teacher Day took place on the 14th of October. This event is organized by Fusenet and its goal is to promote fusion science and technology among European secondary school students. Our group collaborated in this edition with the participation of Dani Gallart.
Fusion likes breaking records!
On a previous post, we commented about the recent record achieved by the Joint European Torus (JET), in a unique set of D-T experiments. In this post, we would like to add several other records set by other fusion devices. In particular, we will be talking about the Korea Superconducting Tokamak Advanced Research (KSTAR), the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) and the National Ignition Facility (NIF). By all means, we can say that the period from 2020 up to the near future, will be remembered as a period of success and milestone fulfillment in the fusion field.
A distinction should be made between KSTAR, EAST and NIF as the physical mechanism to reach nuclear fusion is different. While KSTAR and EAST are two superconducting tokamaks, i.e. they rely on superconducting magnets which constraint the plasma shape and dynamics, NIF is a fusion device consisting of several lasers which heat and compress a small amount of a hydrogen (or an isotope as deuterium) pellet. Both mechanisms are known in the fusion field as, magnetic confinement fusion and intertial confinement fusion, respectively. Let’s now have a look at their respective records.
JET brings the power of the Sun closer to Earth
We have been talking in our earlier blog posts (here and here) about the relevance of the deuterium-tritium (D-T) fuel mixture in a magnetic confinement fusion device, such as a tokamak. The intrinsic property that makes this mixture so interesting is the higher fusion cross section as compared to other ion combinations at a relatively “low” energy (around 100 keV which is already 10 times the temperature of the centre of the Sun). In other words, D-T maximizes the number of fusion reactions, which is after all, what we are looking for.
The Joint European Torus (JET) has recently finished its second D-T campaign (DTE2 as we refer to it in more technical contexts), and the results could not have been better. This culminates a huge effort from the nuclear fusion community which makes the way towards the success of ITER smoother.
Teaching at the UPC’s fusion MSc course
As in its previous editions, our Fusion Group is contributing several lectures to the fusion course imparted within the Nuclear Engineering MSc at UPC. The course gives an overview of plasma physics and fusion technology, presenting a broad scope of topics. The topics are taught by experts in each of the fusion fields covered, with external lecturers mainly provided by Fusion for Energy (F4E) and our Fusion Group at BSC.