News and Events

U.S. Burning Plasma Organization eNews
June 30, 2016 (Issue 109)


USBPO Mission Statement: Advance the scientific understanding of burning plasmas and ensure the greatest benefit from a burning plasma experiment by coordinating relevant U.S. fusion research with broad community participation.



Director’s Corner
C.M. Greenfield
ITPA Update  
Schedule of Burning Plasma Events  
Contact and Contribution Information


New ITER job announcements

New jobs at ITER are available. To access the current open positions please go to Two positions in the Science and Operation Department might be of particular interest:

  • IO1732 Instrumentation and Control Section Leader
    Application deadline 07/14/16
  • IO1729 Control Systems Engineer for Investment Protection (Interlocks)
    Application deadline 07/24/16

Director's Corner

by C.M. Greenfield

ITER Council endorses Resource-Loaded Integrated Schedule

The ITER Council, at its regular meeting on June 16, accepted a new Resource-Loaded Integrated Schedule, which moves the anticipated date for first plasma to December, 2025. This follows a long and detailed process of developing and reviewing the schedule, with agreement that although challenging, it appears technically achievable. The plan to continue from that first plasma to full operation with deuterium-tritium fuel, and achievement of fusion gain Q=10, is still under development with the ITER Council expecting to adopt an updated project baseline at its November meeting.

Figure 1: On Thursday 16 June, the ITER Council officially announced its endorsement of the Resource-Loaded Integrated Schedule for the ITER Project, which identifies the date of First Plasma as December 2025 (Photo © ITER Organization).

For more information see the ITER Newsline (

USBPO news

We are continuing to update the goals for the US Burning Plasma Organization in light of various changes that have occurred in the ten years since the USBPO came into existence. As I said last month, we believe our mission is still appropriate. You can expect to see some new initiatives later this summer. As part of this ongoing discussion, Amanda Hubbard and I visited DOE Headquarters for a very productive discussion on June 7, where we ran into some old friends of the USBPO.

Figure 2: The first three directors of the US Burning Plasma Organization: Jim Van Dam (second), Ray Fonck (first), and Chuck Greenfield (third)

We also have our usual summer activities underway. The Council election should soon be getting underway. All regular (US) members will receive a ballot, we encourage you to vote. If you are a member, and you haven't voted yet, please do. If you're not a member, we encourage you to become one by signing up for one or more USBPO Topical groups at /referencesandlinks/?article=USBPO%20Membership.

We will follow this by completing our annual roll-over of several of our topical group leadership positions, specifically for the Confinement and Transport, Diagnostics, Integrated Scenarios, MHD and Macroscopic Plasma Physics, and Modeling and Simulation Topical Groups. The outgoing leaders of those topical groups (see figure) are currently soliciting nominations for those positions. Please feel free to contact them (or Amanda Hubbard or myself) with your ideas.

We're also preparing for the annual APS-DPP meeting, with a slate of talks being organized for the "Research in Support of ITER" contributed oral session and, hopefully, a town meeting on ITER (we're still working on that).

Topical Group Leader Deputy Leader
Confinement and Transport * Gary Staebler (GA) *§ Saskia Mordijck (W&M)
Diagnostics † Ted Biewer (ORNL) * Brent Stratton (PPPL)
Integrated Scenarios † Chris Holcomb (LLNL) * Francesca Poli (PPPL)
MHD, Macroscopic Plasma Physics * Bob Granetz (MIT) * Steve Sabbagh (Columbia)
Modeling and Simulation Xianzhu Tang (LANL) + Lang Lao (GA)
Energetic Particles * Nikolai Gorelenkov (PPPL) Eric Bass (UCSD)
Fusion Engineering Science David Rasmussen (ORNL) Jean Paul Allain (Illinois)
Operations and Control Jim Irby (MIT) * Eugenio Schuster (Lehigh)
Pedestal and Divertor/SOL † John Canik (ORNL) * Mike Jaworski (PPPL)
Plasma-Wave Interactions Robert Pinsker (GA) Greg Wallace (MIT)
*ITPA member † ITPA expert + IMEG leader § eNews editor Terms end this summer

The 2015-2016 USBPO Research Committee.

ITPA Update

More information concerning the ITPA may be found at the Official ITPA Website.

Transport and Confinement Topical Group

Paola Mantica, Chair and Gary Staebler

The ITPA Spring 2016 T&C meeting was held in Ahmedabad, India, on 16-18 March, graciously hosted by Joydeep Ghosh of IPR. Sessions on I-mode, L-H transition and 3D effects were jointly held with the PEP group. Energy Confinement Database: The ITPA CC committee encouraged the T&C group to proceed quickly with a revision of the energy confinement database to include more variables that have been observed to have an impact on energy confinement. New parameters that should be included are: the neutral pressure or separatrix density, the external torque and the auxiliary sources of electron and ion heating separately. 3D: ELM suppression periods of 500 ms were finally obtained in ASDEX Upgrade with n=2 MP, using results from DIII-D as a guide. Coil current threshold for ELM suppression is found to depend strongly on triangularity. Many similarities are found between the two devices. I-Mode: The I-mode is more robust at high BT. Dimensionless identity experiments have been made in C-Mod and AUG. Future activities should include construction of an I-mode database. Linear simulations with BOUT++ showed the importance of drift Alfven waves and RBMs near the X-point. Non-linear simulations capture the frequency (200-300 kHz), direction (EDD) and mode number of the WCM. L/H Transition: The L/H power threshold in DIII-D was found higher for hydrogen than deuterium at high density, but below a certain density the power thresholds were the same. XGC1 turbulence + neoclassical simulations succeeded in modeling an L/H transition at the separatrix. Intrinsic Rotation: The measurements of intrinsic torque in a ρ* scan between JET, DIII-D and AUG at matched βN, qand ν* have taken place in all 3 machines, with a factor  ∼ 2 in ρ* and good match in the other parameters. The Fall meeting will be held in Naka, 3 full days on 24-26 October 2016, co-located with IOS and PEP. Topics joint with IOS will be the status of validation of fuel particle/electron transport models, the issue of isotope dependences on confinement, the status of neural network modeling and the recent progress in modeling the edge L-mode transport for current ramp-up simulations. For the part with only T&C, the topics foreseen are: Progress on intrinsic rotation database and results from its use; Progress in revision of ITER confinement scaling; Stiffness/threshold; Short updates from each JEX and JAC.

Pedestal and Edge Physics

John Canik

The ITPA Spring Pedestal and Edge Physics meeting was held March 16-18 in Ahmedabad, India, hosted by the Institute for Plasma Research. The agenda was organized around the topics of 1) Pedestal structure and peeling-ballooning stability; 2) I-mode studies; 3) LH transition, ELMs, and SOL/Divertor; 4) Pellet pacemaking; 5) 3D effects on transport for RMP ELM suppression/mitigation. Several of these sessions were held jointly with the Transport and Confinement ITPA group. Results in the area of pedestal physics include progress in extending ELITE to arbitrary mode number, and the generation of a large database of EPED runs spanning ITER parameter space as needed for modeling by the ITPA IOS group. Noteworthy progress was reported in the area of ELM control, with DIII-D experiments reporting successful ELM pacing at ITER-relevant input torque with little impact on confinement. Pacing studies were also reported utilizing a range of impurity species (lithium, carbon, and boron-carbide granules), indicating that pacing can be achieved but that a combination of large and small ELMs are obtained. Joint experiments between DIII-D and AUG have resulted in the first achievement of ELM suppression at low collisionality in AUG. The first achievement of ELM suppression in DIII-D fully non-inductive plasmas was reported, which are important for the ITER steady state mission. The next ITPA PEP meeting will be held in Naka, Japan, October 24-26.

Schedule of Burning Plasma Events

USBPO Public Calendar: View Online or Subscribe

2016         — 10th Anniversary of USBPO Formation —

June 27- July 1, 18th International Congress on Plasma Physics (ICPP2018), Kaohsiung, Taiwan
July 4-8, European Physical Society Conference on Plasma Physics (EPS), Leuven, Belgium
September 4-8, Joint EU-US Transport Task Force Meeting, Leysin, Switzerland
October 13-15, ITER STAC Meeting, Kizu, Japan
October 17-22, 26th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference, Kyoto, Japan
October 24-26, ITPA T&C, JAEA, Naka, Japan
October 31 - November 4, 58th APS Division of Plasma Physics, San Jose, California, United States
November 7-9, 21st MHD workshop, La Jolla, California, United States
December 13-14, 37th Fusion Power Associates Annual Meeting and Symposium, Fusion Power Development: An International Venture
2019         JET DT-campaign JT60-SA First Plasma —

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Contact and Contribution Information

This newsletter provides a monthly update on U.S. Burning Plasma Organization activities. The USBPO operates under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy, Fusion Energy Sciences (FES) division. All comments, including suggestions for content, may be sent to the Editor. Correspondence may also be submitted through the USBPO Website Feedback Form.

Become a member of the U.S. Burning Plasma Organization by signing up for a topical group.

Editor: Saskia Mordijck (

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