News and Events

U.S. Burning Plasma Organization eNews

Sep 30, 2018 (Issue 133)

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.


Request from the Editor  
Director’s Corner
C.M. Greenfield
Summary of ITPA Pedestal & Edge Physics spring meeting
Schedule of Burning Plasma Events  
Contact and Contribution Information  


Next webinar

We are pleased to announce the next in our series of web seminars:

Date: Wed, Oct. 17th, 2pm EDT (11:00am  PDT)

Topic: Operating without Disruptions in ITER and Beyond

Speaker: Dr. David Humphreys, General Atomics

All are welcome. Connection will be by Zoom:

Coming soon:  Upgrade to USBPO membership and mailing list software.

In the 12 years since USBPO began, our membership has grown significantly, to over 400 members and 580 e-News subscribers. Some of our information is out of date as members have changed institutions or email addresses. In coming weeks, we will be switching our mailing lists to new software, SYMPA. This will enable members to much more easily check and change their information, including topical group subscriptions.

We will send more information and instructions on the new capabilities once the switch is made.  In case of questions or technical issues, please contact our Communications Coordinator, Mark London

Director’s Corner By C.M. Greenfield

ITER Research Plan released to the public

As you may know, a major effort has been made to bring the ITER Research Plan within the Staged Approach (IRP) up to date over the last few years. The ITER Organization has now released that plan, in the form of a 400-page document. Along with this, I would like to call your attention to the new “Technical Reports” website at There are only three reports there so far (including the new version of the IRP), but presumably more will be posted in the future.

The IRP itself gives a very detailed plan of physics and technology research to be carried out during several phases starting with a First Plasma (FP) in 2025, through two Pre-Fusion Power Operation (PFPO-1 and -2) phases, and finally leading to and beyond the first Fusion Power (FP) Operation (with DT fuel) phase starting in 2035.

The document also includes a chapter entitled “Research Program Accompanying Construction.” This should be of particular interest to the Burning Plasma community as it describes challenges that can and should be addressed in present-day research in order to be ready to take maximum advantage of the ITER facility when it is ready for operation.

Activities at APS-DPP

Of course, most of us are very busy right now preparing for the IAEA Fusion Energy Conference (IAEA FEC, Ahmedabad, India, October 22-27), the APS Division of Plasma Physics Conference (APS-DPP, Portland, OR, November 5-9), and almost innumerable other conferences and workshops. Who has time to stop and read a 400-page document?

Luckily, attendees at the APS-DPP Conference will have an opportunity to hear from Tim Luce, Director of the ITER Science and Operation Division, during a Town Meeting in Oregon Ballroom 204 (Oregon Convention Center) on Thursday, November 8 at 7:30PM. Tim will give an update on ITER construction status and introduce the IRP with a focus on high priority physics R&D that we can be working on now.

The Town Meeting will follow the eleventh annual “Research in Support of ITER” contributed oral session, which starts at 2:00PM in room B113-114 on the same day. The agenda is as follows:

T.C. Luce
(ITER Org.)

The new stable ITER Baseline Scenario with zero torque

X. Gong (ASIPP)

Advances in EAST long pulse H-mode experiment and contributions to steady state operation of ITER

A. Lvovskiy (ORAU)

Impact of initial plasma current and injected argon quantity on the runaway electron seed distribution function

R.A. Tinguely (MIT)

Synchrotron spectra, images, and polarization measurements from runaway electrons in Alcator C-Mod

N.W. Eidietis (General Atomics)

First demonstration of disruption mitigation using shell pellets for core impurity deposition on DIII-D

D.M. Kriete
(U. Wisconsin)

Effect of radial magnetic perturbations on turbulence-flow dynamics at the L-H transition on DIII-D

T.M. Wilks (MIT)

Advancement of Wide Pedestal Quiescent H-mode Scenario at Zero Torque to ITER-like Shape

E. Militello-Asp (CCFE)

JINTRAC Coupled Core/SOL/Divertor Transport Simulations in Support of ITER

D. Brunner (CFS)

Unified scaling of divertor heat flux widths across confinement regimes to reactor-relevant magnetic fields in the Alcator C-Mod tokamak

C-S Chang (PPPL)

Gyrokinetic prediction of the divertor heat-load width for ITER

A. Lasa
(U. Tennessee)

Integrated, multi-physics modeling of erosion, redeposition and gas retention in the ITER divertor

P. Manas
(Max Planck Inst.)

Experimental and theoretical characterisation of He plasmas confinement in view of the ITER pre-fusion power operation phase

V.N. Duarte (PPPL)

Prediction of the likelihood of Alfvénic mode chirping in ITER baseline scenarios


A tokamak-agnostic control system for actuator management and integrated control with application to ITER and TCV

J. Snipes
(ITER Org.)

The Development of First Plasma Operations on ITER

USBPO Leadership positions

Although preparations for the USBPO Council election have taken somewhat longer than anticipated, the nominating committee is now preparing a slate from your nominations. You should be seeing an announcement of the opening of the Council election very soon. The time for voting will be rather limited, so please don’t put it off!

Following the selection of new Council members, we will move on to the annual rotation of topical group leadership. This year, we will select new leadership for five topical groups as their leaders’ terms come to an end:

·         Diagnostics (Max Austin)

·         Modeling and Simulation (Lang Lao)

·         Confinement and Transport (Saskia Mordijck)

·         Integrated Scenarios (Francesca Poli)

·         MHD, Macroscopic Plasma Physics (Steve Sabbagh)

We will also be looking for a new member of the leadership of the Pedestal and Divertor/SOL Topical Group. Although the normal rotation for this group would take place in odd years (2019), the leader of this group, Mike Jaworski, has indicated he will be stepping down early. In order to keep this group in the rotation for odd years, this will probably be a one-year appointment.

By now, members of these topical groups should have received a message asking for nominations for leadership positions. Please don’t hesitate to nominate somebody who you think would do a good job – even yourself!

Summary of ITPA Pedestal & Edge Physics (PEP) Spring 2018 meeting

Jerry Hughes (MIT), Max Fenstermacher (LLNL)

Members of the ITPA-PEP TG enjoyed a superb spring meeting in Stockholm, April 4—6, 2018, thanks to their hosts at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Approximately 20 participants from several world fusion labs attended, with many others connecting remotely. On-site US participation included scientists from LLNL, MIT, PPPL and UW-Madison. While on site the PEP attendees were introduced to fusion research activities at the KTH, and were treated to a tour of the local plasma experiment, EXTRAP-T2R

[]. This device is a reversed field pinch equipped with an extensive array of sensor and active coils allowing study of, and control of, plasma instabilities. Noteworthy to USBPO readers, a substantial fraction of the hardware of EXTRAP-T2R was adapted from an earlier US device known as OHTE and operated by General Atomics in the early 1980s [M.W. Maisel et al 1985 Nucl. Fusion 25 1113].

The gathering also featured two-and-a-half days of stimulating technical presentations and discussions, all related to pedestal and edge research of high value to ITER. Current high priority research encompasses the physics of ELMs and ELM control (mitigation and suppression), predictive capability for edge pedestal structure, and access requirements for high confinement regimes.

Experiment and modeling are all brought to bear on ELM studies. On ASDEX Upgrade we find significant emphasis on small ELM regimes and overall ELM cycle phenomenology, including pedestal limiting fluctuations between ELMS. The JOREK code is seeing use in modeling ELM energy losses in AUG, as well as ELM induced tungsten transport for ITER.

A Working Group on ELM suppression with Resonant Magnetic Perturbations (RMPs) has now established RMP suppression on several devices and conducted optimization toward increasingly ITER-relevant parameters, and is showing in some cases quite promising high Z impurity removal. Recent results from an ITPA joint experiment (JEX) in this area show progress on DIII-D and AUG toward understanding the response of plasmas to 3D fields over a range of shape, density, safety factor, and rotation. Another such JEX has begun to explore the consequences for He ash removal in the presence of RMPs. Additional potential methods for active ELM control include the use of current drive in the plasma edge to create 3D fields which act similarly to RMPs, and the triggering and pacing with injected pellets and/or granules.

The group also discussed regimes that are intrinsically ELM-free but still have potential for high performance with low impurity accumulation. High density regimes like the EDA H-mode observed mainly on Alcator C-Mod and the high density H-mode (HDH) regime on W7-AS are attractive if they can be extended to low collisionality, and this is considered desirable for future high performance W7-X operation. DIII-D has extended a low collisionality Wide Pedestal Quiescent H-mode (WPQH) to ITER like shapes with low rotation and found that its pedestal can operate far from peeling-ballooning stability boundaries, leaving room to explore its safety factor and power limits. The I-mode is another promising ELM-suppressed regime, which has an ongoing JEX and an associated multi-machine database that is expected to facilitate joint analysis of C-Mod and AUG data.

As usual there was significant discussion of pedestal structure and the potential for predictive capability which can be exploited for future machines. Here work is being facilitated by the development of databases: a EUROFusion multi-machine database of experimental data on one hand, and databases of EPED predictions on the other. EPED is effective at predicting pedestal pressure across a wide range of devices, although improvements may be needed that capture the effects of a relative shift between temperature and density pedestals. This is one effect that may help improve accuracy of predictions in helium plasmas, a matter of high priority for ITER pre-fusion scenario modeling. A JEX to study the effects on the pedestal of impurity seeding is making progress on several devices, and the super H-mode regime was discussed as a possible step forward in coupling high plasma pressure with benign divertor conditions.

Progress in the L-H Working Group was reported. We discussed a nearly complete joint activity to extend the H-mode power threshold database to include more data from metal-walled devices. Generally metal plasma facing components have lower power thresholds than carbon devices in the same configuration, but it is found, and corroborated by an ongoing JEX, that power threshold can be extremely sensitive to divertor configuration. JET experiments have produced intriguing results examining the influence of isotope mix on H-mode threshold, also a high priority concern for ITER. Simply considering deuterium plasmas with a fixed divertor geometry, joint analysis between AUG and C-Mod demonstrates a critical ion heat flux for the L-H transition, which scales nearly linearly with density and field, and can explain the usual power threshold scaling used to project to ITER. Increased modeling of L-mode in proximity to an L-H transition is occurring, including with the BOUT++ and XGC1 turbulence codes, and in the near future JOREK.

We expect continued progress in all these exciting areas of pedestal and edge physics and look forward to another stimulating meeting this fall. The fall meeting will take place at the IO from October 29—31, 2018. Information may be found at the link:

Participants in the ITPA-PEP meeting, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, April 4—6, 2018. Photo courtesy Lorenzo Frasinetti.


The EXTRAP-T2R device located at KTH. Source:

Calendar of Burning Plasma Events

USBPO Public Calendar: View online or subscribe


October 1-3

ITPA MHD Disruptions & Control Topical Group meeting

Napoli, Italy

October 8-12

ITPA Diagnostics Topical Group meeting

ITER HQ, France

October 22-27

IAEA Fusion Energy Conference

Gandhinagar, Gujarat, India

October 29-31

ITPA Integrated Operation Scenarios Topical Group meeting

ITER HQ, France

October 29-31

ITPA Pedestal & Edge Physics Topical Group meeting

ITER HQ, France

November 5-9

60th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics

Portland, OR

November 11-15

ANS 23rd Topical Meeting on the Technology of Fusion Energy (TOFE)

Orlando, FL

November 12-14

21st MHD Stability Control Workshop


November 12-18

2nd Asia-Pacific Conference on Plasma Physics

Kanazawa, Japan

December 4-5

Fusion Power Associates 39th Annual Meeting & Symposium, Fusion Energy: Strategies & Expectations through the 2020s

Washington, DC

December 6-7

Meeting of the Fusion Energy Sciences Advisory Committee (FESAC)

Washington, DC


JET DT-campaign (

January 15-17

ITPA Coordinating Committee & CTP ExComm

ITER HQ, France

March 18-21

US-EU Transport Task Force (TTF) meeting

Austin, TX

April 15-17

Sherwood Theory conference

Princeton, NJ

June 2-6

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

Jacksonville, FL

August 19-21

17th International Workshop on Plasma Edge Theory in Fusion Devices


Sept 20 – Oct 3

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

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagne, IL

October 21-25

61st Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Plasma Physics

Fort Lauderdale, Florida


JT60-SA First Plasma (

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: Walter Guttenfelder (


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