News and Events

U.S. Burning Plasma Organization eNews

January 31, 2020 (Issue 143)

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.



Open Position at US ITER Project Office

Director’s Corner

11th ITER International School

Nominations needed for USBPO Council election

Community Planning Process nears completion

Calendar of Burning Plasma Events


Open Position at US ITER Project Office

Suzanne Herron, as Ned Sauthoff’s deputy, has performed the project manager function for the US ITER Project Office for the last 10 years, but is retiring this month. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is seeking candidates with strong experience in project management of large, complex technical projects to fill this position. Fusion experience would be nice, but it is not a requirement.  If you, or someone you know, meets these qualifications and is interested in applying, please contact the Interim Project Director, Les Price, at

Director’s Corner By C.M. Greenfield

This month’s column begins with a pair of opportunities to participate in burning plasma related activities; the first for students and post-docs and the second for more established members of our community. I hope you will give serious consideration to your own participation or that of your colleagues or students.

Deadline extended: 11th ITER International School: The Impact and Consequences of Energetic Particles on Fusion Plasmas

The 11th ITER International School will be held 20 – 24 July 2020 and hosted by Aix-Marseille University in Aix-en-Provence, France. The subject of this year’s school is “The Impact and Consequences of Energetic Particles on Fusion Plasmas.” As the start of ITER operations approaches, it is timely to address this multidisciplinary topic that includes plasma self-heating by fusion-born alpha-particles, the influence of energetic particles on stability, diagnosing energetic particle transport and loss, and understanding runaway electrons. The ITER International School aims to prepare young scientists and engineers for working in the field of nuclear fusion and in research applications associated with the ITER Project. The adoption of a “school format” was a consequence of the need to prepare future scientists and engineers on a range of different subjects and to provide them with a wide overview of the interdisciplinary skills required by the ITER project.

The US Burning Plasma Organization is once again making available scholarships for US participants to this year’s ITER International School. The scholarships will cover round-trip airfare, registration, accommodations, and meals. Home institutions are encouraged to supplement the scholarships to cover any other travel-related expenses.

Please note that these scholarships are limited to graduate students and post-docs who are US citizens (note that the US government is paying for this). If you don’t have a passport you can probably get one in time if you start now. Non-citizens are welcome to attend the school, but will have to find other support. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Please send applications to Chuck Greenfield at In each application, please include (1) a vita, (2) a list of publications, (3) a statement about the reasons why your participation at this School would be beneficial, and (4) a letter of reference from a senior scientist who is knowledgeable about you. Due to the need to get a quick start on travel arrangements I will need to receive your applications by close of business Friday, February 14, 2020.

More details on this ITER International School are available or forthcoming at

Deadline extended: Nominations needed for USBPO Council election

We ask for your help to identify nominees for new members of the USBPO Council. As described in the bylaws, each year two new Council members are elected by the USBPO regular membership, and two are appointed by the USBPO Director (me). The members each serve a three-year term. Three Council members are now completing their terms: Ted Biewer (ORNL), David Newman (U Alaska), and Gary Staebler (GA). The continuing Council members are Troy Carter (Chair, UCLA), Jim Irby (MIT), George McKee (Wisconsin), Raffi Nazikian (Vice Chair, PPPL), Francesca Poli (PPPL), Don Rej (LANL), Terry Rhodes (UCLA), Uri Shumlak (Washington), and Vlad Soukhanovskii (LLNL). The terms of the continuing members as well as a list of ex-officio members can be found at /organization/?article=Council.

Your nominations are critically important to guide the USBPO and its contribution to the U.S. Fusion Energy Sciences Program. Nominees for Council must come from among the USBPO regular membership. Note that the bylaws limit membership on the Council to no more than two people from a given institution. Since UCLA and PPPL each have two continuing members, we will not be able to consider nominations for members from those institutions.

Please send your nominations (you can nominate yourself or a colleague) to me (, along with a brief statement describing why the nominee should be selected. The deadline for nominations is December 31, 2019.

As background, the USBPO bylaws define the role of the Council: "The Council represents the U.S. MFE research community in providing oversight of the USBPO activities, and, working with the Directorate, is the primary USBPO element responsible for long-term strategic planning of burning plasma research. The Council is responsible for setting the policies and procedures of the USBPO, including establishing the by-laws governing USBPO operations. It will receive regular reports on USBPO activities from the Director, and will provide feedback and assessment on those activities to the Director regarding progress, issues, priorities, and opportunities. When required, a simple majority vote of the Council shall serve to designate Council approval of a decision.

When Council comment and recommendations are required, the Council Chair and/or Vice-Chair will work to convey the sense of the Council to the Director and the OFES."

Community Planning Process nears completion

Like many of you, I spent a week in Houston this month working on the plan that is coming out of the APS-DPP Community Planning Process. I got into this field because it combined good and interesting science with an extremely attractive and potentially world-changing goal. Nothing has happened to change those feelings since I started, but even with all the progress we’ve made (and there has been a lot), there is still a long way to go. Our focus in the USBPO has been on achieving and studying a high-gain burning plasma, and the plan that I’m seeing coming out of the DPP-CPP keeps that as a centerpiece of the program. I think that’s good. But there are other pieces of the puzzle that must be put in place before we will be ready to put fusion energy on the grid, and the DPP-CPP has given us an opportunity to think about what those pieces should look like. There are elements that complete the tokamak physics basis and expand that basis to consideration of other confinement concepts. There are also elements that go beyond plasma physics, developing the materials and technology that will be crucial for the demonstration of fusion power. And there are elements that broaden the focus to include Discovery Plasma Science, with the possibility of benefits to our understanding of the universe and even potential game-changers that can come back to fusion. We are laying out a challenging and exciting program that moves us toward our dream of fusion energy. Getting the resources to follow through will be a challenge for all of us, and our best chance will be a united community. During my long career in this field, this is one of the few times when I’ve seen what appears to be a community consensus that can make a convincing case for an expanded program that moves toward all of these goals. I wish us all the best of luck as we transition from the Community Planning process through the FESAC subcommittee’s work and finally to OUR strategic plan.

Calendar of Burning Plasma Events


JET DT-campaign (/resources/ref/Web_Seminars/Litaudon-JET-%202019-05-02-vf.pdf)

JT-60SA First Plasma (

Mar 9-13

ITPA MHD Disruptions and Control meeting

Toki, Japan


Mar 23-26

ITPA Transport & Confinement meeting

IPP Garching, Germany


Mar 30-Apr 2

ITPA Integrated Operations Scenarios meeting

Princeton, NJ


Mar 31-Apr 2

ITPA Energetic Particle Physics Meeting

Oak Ridge, TN


April 20-23

Technology of Fusion Energy (TOFE) conference

Charleston, SC


April 20-22

Sherwood Fusion Theory Conference

Santa Rosa, CA


April 21-24

US Transport Task Force (TTF) meeting

Santa Rosa, CA


April 28-30

ITPA Pedestal and Edge Physics meeting

San Diego, CA


May 11-14

ITPA Diagnostics meeting

Daejeon, South Korea


May 31-Jun 4

High Temperature Plasma Diagnostics

Santa Fe, NM


May 31-Jun 5

International Conference on Plasma Surface Interactions

Jeju, South Korea


July 20-24

ITER International School

Marseille, France


October 12-17

28th IAEA Fusion Energy Conference (FEC2020)

Nice, France


November 9-13

62nd Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics

Memphis, TN


Editor: Sterling P. Smith (

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