News and Events

U.S. Burning Plasma Organization eNews

May 31, 2019 (Issue 139)

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
Announcements for APS-DPP Community Planning Program
The 10th ITER Integrated Modeling Expert Group (IMEG) meeting
Contact and Contribution Information  

Web seminars (Amanda Hubbard, USBPO Deputy Director)

We would like to thank Nathan Howard (MIT PSFC) for giving a seminar on the DPP Community Planning Process on May 15. His slides are available on the USBPO home page:


APS-DPP Community Planning Process

Please see page 6 for up-to-date information on the DPP Community Planning Process.


Director’s Corner By C.M. Greenfield

Reminder/update (important deadline change): Research in Support of ITER contributed oral session at the Fort Lauderdale APS-DPP Conference

For the eleventh time, last year’s APS Division of Plasma Physics annual meeting included a contributed oral session on Research in Support of ITER, which included talks from US and international participants. These sessions have become quite popular and are always well attended.

The US Burning Plasma Organization is organizing a similar session for the 61st Annual Meeting of the Division of Plasma Physics, which will take place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on October 21-25. Once again, we are looking for talks on research that has been done specifically to address ITER design, operation, or physics issues. These brief talks are “standard” contributed orals: 10 minutes in duration, followed by a 2-minute discussion period. We hope to have broad participation once again, so we can highlight the breadth of this work and the institutions performing it, both US and international.

The abstract submission deadline for this year’s meeting is July 3 (it was July 12, but the more observant among you might notice that APS-DPP has quietly moved the deadline one week earlier), so we need to get started with this year’s process. If you or a colleague are interested in making a presentation in this session, please send a title, brief synopsis (one paragraph is sufficient), and speaker’s contact information as soon as possible (but no later than June 12) to me (Chuck Greenfield, The brief synopsis should provide a sufficient description to understand the work and its importance to ITER.

Note that space is limited to 15 talks, so we almost certainly won’t be able to include all talks nominated. We will do our best to inform speakers by June 21, giving time for any not selected for the ITER session to indicate a preference for other sessions, or allow the conference program committee to select an appropriate session.

Last year we ran into an issue where many of you were still waiting at our deadline to find out if you had an invited talk. I expect this will happen again this year. Even if you are waiting, I encourage you to put in a request for a slot in this session. If you are offered a spot in our session on June 21 and you feel you need to decline because you have an invited talk (APS rules do not preclude your doing both, but that is a lot of work), we will understand.

A full abstract would still need to be submitted via the conference website no later than 5:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time on July 3. If your talk is accepted for this session, please indicate “Research in Support of ITER” in the placement requests box on your abstract submission.

Organizing support for ITER at the DPP-CPP workshop

Please see the announcements of upcoming activities elsewhere in this issue of the eNews. The DPP-CPP should be a large community effort and I hope all US participants in burning plasma research will contribute. This process has the potential to shape what we do in our field in the coming decades.

In discussions with the organizers of the Community Planning Process, they indicated that it is desirable to have strong advocacy for existing facilities and projects to sustain support for them. One such “existing” project, of course, is ITER, and in support of that effort, I would like to invite US fusion community members to join the new ITER Advocacy for the DPP-CPP group at - !forum/iter_supporters. The group’s description is as follows:

Welcome to the ITER Advocacy for the DPP-CPP group. Although this is organized under the auspices of the USBPO, the opinions developed here will come only from its individual members.

The purpose of this group is to organize US fusion community members in support of full US participation in the international ITER project, now under construction at Saint-Paul-lès-Durance, France. The US is partnering with China, Europe, India, Japan, Korea, and Russia (representing over half of the population of the world!) in this endeavor, aimed at creating the first magnetically confined burning plasma. Although the US is responsible for only a small fraction of the expense, significant resources are needed for:

1.      Full US support for construction of the ITER facility and device to meet its full intended capabilities

2.      Research using current facilities and modeling tools to prepare for successful execution of the ITER Research Plan

3.      Preparation of a US ITER Team that can take a leading role in operating and carrying out experiments on the ITER Tokamak

4.      Full participation in every phase of execution of the ITER Research Plan

5.      Bringing home the experience and results of ITER’s research to be applied to further steps on the path to fusion energy

Here you will find drafts of white papers that will be submitted to the DPP-CPP in advance of the July 22-26 workshop in Madison, Wisconsin. These white papers are posted here for your comment, and if you wish you can ask to be added to the "advocates" list for any or all.

Any member is welcome to post their white paper here to share ideas with other ITER advocates. But please note…

In order to be considered for plenary presentation at the DPP-CPP workshop, white papers need to be submitted by June 14. There is no particular deadline if you are not requesting a plenary slot. The authors are responsible for submitting their own white papers… posting them here will not submit them to the DPP-CPP.

Access is members only, and you will have to request membership. I think we need to restrict access to members of the community who will be participate in the DPP-CPP, so please do not attempt to join anonymously… when you apply to join the group, please share your name and institution (if it isn’t obvious from your email address please write it in the “additional information” box).

The first white paper draft that will be posted (perhaps by time you read this) will by my white paper entitled “Full Participation in ITER: The US Fusion Community’s First Opportunity to Study a Burning Plasma at High Gain.” I will welcome your comments, but also, following the DPP-CPP organizers’ white paper template, there is a section for “advocates of this initiative” and I would be happy to include your name in that list.

Progress at ITER

I had a chance to visit ITER this month for the Science and Technology Advisory Committee (STAC) meeting. The construction continues to progress at an impressive pace, with concrete work on the tokamak building now essentially complete, and work to complete the steel structure at its top, which will connect with the adjacent Assembly Building, is expected to be finished by the end of 2019. Shortly thereafter, tokamak assembly will begin, with many components already completed and ready for installation. Overall, the facility is now well over 60% complete in terms of readiness for first plasma operation (scheduled for 2025), and commissioning of some systems has already begun.

The concrete ITER Tokamak Building (foreground) has risen to its full height, with the remaining steel structure at the top to be built up to the same level as the Assembly Hall (behind) and completed in the coming months. When finished by the end of this year, the Tokamak Building and the Assembly Hall will be joined in preparation for tokamak assembly to begin in early 2020.

The STAC considered four charges, paraphrased here:

  1. Review progress towards the final design of Edge Localized Mode (ELM) control coils
  2. Assess progress on quantification of possible degradation of the TF conductor with electromagnetic and thermal cycling
  3. Assess plans for the finalization of the design of the antenna and procurement of the ICRH system
  4. Review progress in finalizing the design of plasma-facing components (W Divertor and Be First Wall) and the strategy for their alignment

The limited scope of the first, third, and fourth charges are an indication of the advanced state of the ITER design, in that we are focusing attention now on subsystems rather than the overall facility. The ELM coil (charge 1) and first wall (charge 4) designs are nearing maturity; in each case several issues were raised, but nothing that would be a show-stopper. The ICRH antenna (charge 3) has been redesigned in the past year, with a new conceptual design that addresses many of the issues that came up in the earlier (2012) design. This system is still at a relatively early stage of design, but is expected to be completed in time for installation and use during the second Pre-Fusion Power Operation (PFPO-2) phase as scheduled.

The toroidal field (TF) coil conductor (charge 2) was interesting. After the TF conductor design had already been completed, testing of cable designs for the central solenoid (CS) coil revealed issues that limit the lifetime of niobium-tin superconductor when a combination of electromagnetic and thermal cycles results in tiny fractures in the brittle filaments. This is a particularly important issue for the CS, which undergoes a full electromagnetic cycle on every ITER shot. Following this testing, an improved design (utilizing a tighter twist pitch in the superconducting cable) was implemented that alleviates this concern and allows the CS coil to meet its requirements. Recently, there were questions about whether the same issues could impact the TF conductor. Test results shown at the STAC meeting indicate that these concerns should not significantly impact the TF conductor, which will undergo far fewer cycles than the CS over the lifetime of the ITER project. To add an extra layer of caution, the IO is also exploring strategies to further limit degradation during the commissioning and operation phases.

Announcements for APS-DPP Community Planning Process
Contributed by N. Ferraro

The APS-DPP Community Planning Process (DPP-CPP) is the community-input phase in addressing a strategic planning charge to DOE Office of Fusion Energy Science Advisory Committee (FESAC). The website has been established as a repository for information about the process, organization, workshops and meetings, and resources. Broad community participation is critical for the success of this process. Please share these announcements with your colleagues.

Workshop for Magnetic Fusion Energy (MFE) and Fusion Materials and Technology (FM&T)

We are pleased to announce that a joint workshop of the Magnetic Fusion Energy and Fusion Materials and Technology topical areas will be held at the University of Wisconsin, Madison from July 22–26, 2019. This workshop will include presentations by advocacy groups on proposed FES initiatives, breakout sessions by expert groups for discussing and evaluating these proposals, and forums on cross-cutting issues that affect all topical areas within FES. Additional details on how to register and recommended hotels can be found here: Broad participation in this workshop is encouraged.

If your advocacy group would like to request a plenary presentation at this workshop, please submit an initiative white paper at the DPP-CPP website by June 14 (  Please note that we will continue to accept white papers and initiative proposals after this date, and revisions or updates can be submitted at any time.

Call for White Papers

At this time, we are accepting white papers for the DPP-CPP.  Both informational white papers and white papers advocating specific FES initiatives will be accepted.

For white papers advocating specific FES initiatives, we require that these white papers adhere to a template. This template is now available on the DPP-CPP website at The purpose of this template is to ensure that the community and expert groups have sufficient information about the initiative proposal to determine the role of that initiative in the overall strategic plan for FES. White papers will be made publicly available for review and comment.

For more information about the process, organization, and how to get involved, please visit the DPP-CPP website (

The 10th ITER Integrated Modeling Expert Group (IMEG) Meeting
Contributed by S. Smith


The 10th ITER IMEG meeting was held 26-29 November 2018 at the ITER headquarters in Cadarache, France. The IMEG is composed of two formal participants from each ITER party. The official US delegates were Lang Lao (General Atomics), who chairs the group, and Steve Jardin (PPPL). Sterling Smith (GA) was also in attendance. For those who wonder, “The mission of the IMEG is the establishment of a programme on integrated modelling and control of fusion plasmas, including benchmarking and validation activities. This will be co-ordinated by the ITER Organization and developed using the relevant expertise within the Members’ fusion programmes, making use of existing co-ordination structures where possible. The overall aims of this programme are to meet the initial needs of the ITER project for more accurate predictions of ITER fusion performance and for efficient control of ITER plasmas. This will support the preparation for ITER operation and, in the longer term, provide the modelling and control tools required for the ITER exploitation phase” [1].

The agenda for the meeting included reports from the IO on its IM development activities and reports from the various ITER parties on their IM activities. The meeting concluded with findings and recommendations from the IMEG for the IO IM efforts, as well as planned ITER relevant domestic IM activites. This report on the IMEG meeting will be broken into three sections: IO activities, the US reports given, and the proposed US plans.

IO activities

One of the main efforts of the IO has been the development of IMAS - the ITER Integrated Modeling and Analysis Suite [2]. IMAS consists of a unified data schema, the software to store data to disk or retrieve it in that schema, and workflows that communicate between components via that software. The IO (ITER Organization) is very interested in allowing interested individuals (of ITER parties) to access its systems, try out what is available, and give feedback on the experience. Please contact Simon Pinches ( for access.

The IMAS data schema [3] represents the holy grail of tokamak integrated modeling - a single specification of all data, including units and sign conventions. The European IM community has a large effort to modify their IM codes to use the IMAS data schema for all input and output. In addition, the WEST tokamak is storing all of its data with IMAS. These two efforts have done well at filling out most of the data schema that is needed for typical tokamak modeling and experimental data storage. Nonetheless, it would be worthwhile for all individuals to look over the data schema, and provide feedback to the IO via a JIRA issue [4] for missing or vague entries.

The IO has begun to build an IMAS database on their servers for various ITER scenarios. The current IMAS software requires accessing the data on the ITER servers, but the ability to access an IMAS database remotely is being developed, and should soon be released.

One method of coupling codes has been via the Kepler framework. Results were reported for using Kepler based workflows to obtain equilibrium reconstructions of existing European tokamaks. There have been licensing issues in moving those workflows from the European computing clusters to the ITER clusters, which stands as a warning of a possible obstacle for future US integration into ITER IM.

US activities

US participants gave presentations summarizing various aspects of US IM activities. Lang Lao's US presentation focused on predictive modeling of DIII-D and ITER discharges. An OMFIT [8] STEP module has been developed, which couples profile, source, and pedestal predictions via the IMAS data schema to be able to self consistently model the impurity sources and profiles. The SEGWAY OMFIT module was used to predict the effects of a triangularity scan on the plasma magnetic response calculated with the M3D-C1 [9] code, and the predictions were validated in a DIII-D experiment. A shattered pellet injection model has been implemented in the NIMROD [10] code, which has been validated against DIII-D experiments on pellet injection for disruption mitigation. The preliminary results from an experiment to inject a shell pellet for disruption mitigation were consistent with previous modeling of a shell pellet for inside-out disruption cooling.

An overview presentation of the OMFIT IM framework was given by Sterling Smith. Its large and increasingly international user and developer bases were presented as strengths. Highlights of the last year were presented: The style of the OMFIT GUI was modernized. The OMFIT packaging and installation were improved. The OMFITprofiles module outputs can be output to IMAS. The TRANSP module was adapted to TCV and MAST. The OMAS [11] library has been developed as a convenient python library for in-memory enforcement of the IMAS data schema and handling of coordinate conventions (COCOS). The documentation of the physics modules was regularized and improved. Finally, a series of tutorials was recorded, and is available to OMFIT users.

Proposed US Plans

The proposals from the US for US activities in the coming year were the following:

  • Make Standalone NUBEAM into a component that can be used in a Heating and Current Drive or other IMAS workflow.
  • Add TRANSP ITER simulations to the ITER database by way of translators.
  • Adapt the new OMFIT Pellet Ablation Module (PAM) into IMAS.
  • Adapt OMFIT modules (Kinetic Equilibrium Reconstruction, STEP) into IMAS.


The IMEG meeting represents an opportunity for the IO and ITER member states to share information regarding past accomplishments and coordinate future plans. The US participation in the meeting has been vital for chairing the meeting, sharing accomplishments of the TRANSP and OMFIT teams with the IO, and learning about the developments of IMAS for redistribution back to the BPO.


This work is supported by DOE Grant DE-FC02-04ER54698.

Disclaimer: This report was prepared as an account of work sponsored by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof.














June 2-6

28th IEEE/NPSS Symposium on Fusion Engineering (SOFE)

Jacksonville, FL

July 2-5

ITPA Divertor & SOL meeting

Garching, Germany

July 8-12

46th European Physical Society Conference on Plasma Physics (EPS)

Milan, Italy

August 19-21

17th International Workshop on Plasma Edge Theory in Fusion Devices


September 3-6

16th IAEA Technical Meeting on Energetic Particles – Theory of Plasma Instabilities

Shizuoka City, Japan

September 9-11

ITPA Energetic Particles meeting

Toki, Japan

September 9-11

10th IAEA Technical Meeting on Steady State Operation of Magnetic Fusion Devices

Hefei, China

Sept 30 – Oct 3

6th International Symposium on Liquid Metals Applications for Fusion (ISLA-6)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, IL

October 7-11

ITPA Diagnostics meeting

ITER HQ, France

October 9-11

17th International H-mode workshop

Shanghai, China

October 14-17

ITPA Integrated Operation Scenarios meeting

Garching, Germany

October 14-17

ITPA Transport & Confinement meeting

Hefei, China

October 21-25

61st Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Oct 27 – Nov 1

19th International Conference on Fusion Reactor Materials

La Jolla, CA

Oct 28-30

24th MHD Stability Control Workshop

Columbia University, New York

November 4-7

Third IAEA Technical Meeting on Divertor Concepts

IAEA HQ, Vienna, Austria

November 4-8

Asia-Pacific DPP

Hefei, China

December 3-4

40th Fusion Power Associates (FPA) Annual Meeting and Symposium

Washington DC


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

JT60-SA First Plasma (

Editor: Walter Guttenfelder (


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