Workshop on Transients

Chair: Charles Greenfield (General Atomics)
Co-Chair: Raffi Nazikian (Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory)
DOE FES Liaison: Mark Foster

Click here for information about the June workshop, including a draft agenda and registration information


Announcement of Community Input Workshop and Call for White Papers

There are two ways that you can have input at this stage of the process. Each requires some rapid action on your part:

  • Speak at our video Community Input Workshop on March 30-April 1. I apologize in advance that since we cannot anticipate the number of people who will request time I cannot guarantee everybody will be able to speak - but I will try. If you would like to speak, please request a slot here. Make sure you check the "Talk" box and select "Transients (pre-workshop, March 30-April 1)" from the pulldown menu. There is a button to upload your talk, but that's optional - we will make arrangements for your talks to be uploaded when we get closer to the meeting.
  • Submit a 2-page white paper by April 15. Your white papers can be uploaded using the same form. Make sure you check the "Whitepaper" box and select "Transients (pre-workshop, March 30-April 1)" from the pulldown menu. It is important that you be very clear and concise in your white paper, as the sub-panels will no doubt have a lot of input to deal with.
  • Another opportunity will be the main Transients Workshop being held in June. More information will come later, but you should realize that now is the time to get your ideas into the sub-panels; June may be too late, especially if you want to bring up something that hadn't already been considered.

How your input will be used:

The sub-panels have been asked to propose research tasks considering ideas from the community and from within the sub-panel membership. Since it is important that we provide FES with some focus in our report, not every white paper's ideas can be reflected in the proposed research. I apologize in advance if your ideas are not included in our report (all white papers will be listed in an appendix and will be displayed on the USBPO website).

It is suggested that your input focus on providing the following information to be of maximum utility in preparing our report:

  1. What is the proposed research?
  2. Describe the background of your proposal
    • Progress since ReNeW
    • Opportunities; national and international context
  3. Anticipated results and impact on future activities

More information about the Community Input Workshop can be found here.

Return to top


It is well known that transient events such as disruptions and edge localized modes (ELMs) can have deleterious effects on tokamak plasmas, with the potential to cause damage to plasma facing components and first wall structures, as well as degrading plasma performance. Although these events are generally tolerated in present tokamaks they are predicted to have more severe impacts on ITER and future burning plasma devices. If not prevented or mitigated these events will have unacceptable impacts on the operational availability and fusion performance of these devices and shorten the lifetime of the in-vessel components. It is critical to develop the means to minimize these events and their consequences when they do occur.

The fusion community, through the comprehensive ReNeW process (Research Needs for Magnetic Fusion Energy Sciences, 2009), developed a proposed research thrust in this area – “Thrust 2: Control transient events in burning plasmas.” Subsequent FESAC reports (Report of the FESAC Subcommittee on the Priorities of the Magnetic Fusion Energy Science Program, 2013 and the Report on Strategic Planning: Priorities Assessment and Budget Scenarios, 2014) have endorsed this as one of the highest priority magnetic fusion research topics. Several workshops have already been held to examine in more detail the underlying physics issues and specific aspects of the ITER disruption mitigation system, and the U.S. Burning Plasma Organization (USBPO) currently has an active task force coordinating research on this topic.

Return to top


Building on the ReNeW effort, other workshop results, and the ongoing USBPO disruptions task force plans, this workshop will review recent progress and identify the remaining science and technology challenges that must be addressed to demonstrate that magnetically confined tokamak plasmas with the characteristics desired for a fusion power plant can be robustly produced, sustained, and controlled without deleterious effects on the device’s materials and structure. Based on thorough understanding of the remaining science and technology challenges, the workshop will identify specific research opportunities that can address these challenges in the next decade. These may include both domestic research and international partnerships, and will be informed by the requirements of ITER and future burning plasma devices.

Return to top


The workshop will be set up following the format of the successful Office of Science Basic Research Needs series of workshops. FES will select the chair and co-chair(s) who will define the various workshop panels and sub-panels (including any crosscutting panels) and select the panel leads. The chair, co-chair(s) and panel leads make up the Executive Group of the workshop. The panel leads select the panelists and (if necessary) any sub-panel leads. The workshop report will be written by the chair, the co-chair(s), the panel leads, and any panelists designated as writers. A multi-day workshop will be held that will allow for a vigorous discussion of the scientific and technical issues and opportunities in this area. A substantial amount of work via teleconferences and other means will be done prior to the workshop, to allow the preparation of a draft report during the last day of the workshop. Input from the entire community will be solicited during the preparation for the workshop and participation will be open, but the total number of attendees will be limited to preserve the “working meeting” character of the workshop.

Since transient events will also be a subject of interest to the integrated simulations effort, the activities of this workshop should be coordinated as appropriate with related activities of the integrated simulations workshop, including sharing participants and possibly establishing cross-cutting panels.

Return to top


CompletedOrganize panelsWorkshop and sub-panel leads
CompletedSub-panel kickoff videoconferenceWorkshop and sub-panel leads and co-leads
February, MarchSub-panel organization and conference calls as neededSub-panel leaders and members
March 30-April 2Community Input Workshop (video/web only)All
April 15Due date for 2-page white papersCommunity
April, MaySub-panel conference calls as neededSub-panel leaders and members
June 8-10Workshop on Transients
at General Atomics (San Diego)
Leaders and sub-panel members invited. Others may attend on a first-come, first-serve basis (FES may have to impose a maximum number of attendees)
June 11-12Report writing
at General Atomics (San Diego)
Leaders and writing committee
June 30Submit completed report to FESLeaders

Return to top


The Transients workshop will be organized in two panels, each with three sub-panels (Fig. 1). Each sub-panel will consider a complete research program in their area, which in most cases will include elements of experiment, theory, and modeling. Since there are obvious overlaps with the Workshop on Integrated Simulations, where appropriate one member of each panel or sub-panel can be designated to serve jointly on an Integrated Modeling panel.

Our task is largely that of revisiting Thrust 2 in the 2009 ReNeW report, taking into account the ensuing six years of progress – and discovery of new issues. The research plan we will develop may go into more detail than ReNeW, but we are once again being asked to develop a spanning set of research activities rather than prioritizing them.

All sub-panels should consider two time scales for research. The most rapid progress is needed to ad-dress areas that will impact safe operation of ITER. In some cases, additional progress will be needed beyond ITER in order to be able to safely address transients in more demanding future devices such as an FNSF or DEMO.

The purpose of the two joint appointments in Fig. 1 is to address the significant overlap in the work-shops’ technical scope, and avoid producing mutually inconsistent reports at the end of the process.

More information about the panels (descriptions, members, etc.) can be found here.

Return to top

Privacy Policy
Who's in the USBPO News and Events References and Links Media Forums Mail Lists Forms Privacy Policy Contact Us