News and Events

U.S. Burning Plasma Organization eNews

Oct 31, 2018 (Issue 134)

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
Summary of ITPA Diagnostics 2018 meetings
Summary of ITPA Transport & Confinement fall 2018 meeting  
Contact and Contribution Information  


BPO mailing lists switched to SYMPA – a good time to check your membership, or join USBPO

As we mentioned last month was coming, USBPO mailing lists were recently switched to a new software platform, SYMPA. Users who simply receive emails, or want to send to a mailing list, should notice no difference – the same list addresses are in use.

However, the new system offers several features for USBPO members and non-US associate members, including:

  • Ability to see, and easily change, which topical groups you are subscribed to.
  • Changes to preferred email address.
  • Listing, and changing, home institution.

To try these features and update their information, users should go to and create an account.

Not sure if you are a member, or just an e-News subscriber? US members recently received invitations to vote in Council elections. If you are a fusion researcher, we encourage you to consider joining USBPO, at: (link is at the right hand site of our home page). Students and retirees are welcome.


Director’s Corner By C.M. Greenfield

Like many of you, I’m spending my time this month going from meeting to meeting, so I’m going to keep this short and just let you know about a few near-term items that you should know about.

Events during the APS Division of Plasma Physics Conference in Portland, OR

The 10th ITER International School will be held in Daejon, Korea in January

The ITER International School aims to prepare young scientists/engineers for work in the field of nuclear fusion and in research applications associated with the ITER Project. The tenth edition will be held from January 21-25, 2019 in Daejeon, Korea. Once again, the US Burning Plasma Organization will provide scholarships for up to eight graduate students and post-doctoral researchers. Watch for an announcement of the scholarship competition in the very near future.

This year’s school will focus on a very important topic, “The Physics and Technology of Power Flux Handling in Tokamaks.” More information can be found at

USBPO Leadership positions

We have just completed the USBPO Council election. We had six excellent candidates, identified by a nominating committee of Ted Brewer (chair), Stan Kaye, Cornwall Lau, Francesca Turco, and Uri Shumlak. The winners of the election and new Council members are Francesca Poli (PPPL) and Terry Rhodes (UCLA). The unsuccessful candidates were Daniel Andruczyk (U. Illinois Urbana), Jack Berkery (Columbia University), Jim Irby (MIT PSFC), and Lang Lao (General Atomics). I would like to thank all of the participants for their willingness to serve our community.

USBPO Deputy Director Amanda Hubbard and I are now in the process of identifying additional appointed members to fill out the Council. Watch for an announcement of the full Council membership soon.

We are also now working on the annual rotation of topical group leadership. This year, we will select new leadership for six topical groups: Diagnostics, Modeling and Simulation, Confinement and Transport, Integrated Scenarios, MHD and Macroscopic Plasma Physics, and Pedestal and Divertor/SOL.

By now, members of these topical groups should have received (and hopefully responded to) a message asking for nominations for leadership positions. It’s not too late to nominate yourself (or your friends, or even your enemies!), but it will be soon.

Summary of ITPA Diagnostics Topical Group 2018 meetings

Max Austin (UT-Austin)

There were two ITPA-Diag. meetings in 2018; the 34th was in San Diego on April 23-26, 2018 and the 35th was in Cadarache on Oct. 8-11, 2018. The focus at these workshops has been in high priority tasks for ITER: 1) establish Plasma Control System measurement requirements, 2) develop methods to measure the energy & density distribution of escaping alpha particles, 3) determination of the life-time of plasma facing mirrors used in optical systems, and 4) assess impact of microwaves on diagnostic systems.

Good progress has been made in many diagnostic systems for burning plasmas. Many of the new capabilities have been enabled by advances in technologies. For example, development of reliable shutters for ITER edge Thomson scattering was aided by incorporating new “flexural” bearings that have no rubbing parts, and new measurements of ion cyclotron emission (ICE) were made possible by state-of-the-art digitizers in the 200 MHz – 1 GHz range. Other highlights are that successful mirror surface recovery has been realized with an RF discharge cleaning technique and a viable, low-loss candidate for the 40-meter-long ITER ECE transmission line has been found using smooth-walled circular waveguide. Details of these and other diagnostic results can be found in the ITPA-Diag. summary report.

The next ITPA-Diag. meeting (36th) will be held in Australia sometime in April 2019 — exact dates and venue TBD.

Summary of ITPA Transport & Confinement Topical Group fall 2018 meeting

The recent ITPA Transport & Confinement took place from September 17- 20 at the ITER headquarters in Cadarache, France. This allowed for a brief visit of the coil winding facility as well as the cryostat, both of which left the ITPA members in wonder of the size of the ITER project and excited about the progress of the ITER construction.

During these four days the majority of the presentations and discussion was related to quasi-linear models. There were questions on how these models capture the different transport channels, whether they capture 'stiffness' in the ion heat channel, the role of multi-isotope plasmas and whether or how far these models can be extended to capture transport physics close to the last close flux surface. Recent results from JET on the role of isotope mixing show that there are dynamics at the plasma edge that cannot be explained by pure mass-scaling and suggest that the underlying turbulence and transport dynamics might be affected. While the ITPA T&C has decided to expand the validation of gyro-kinetic models as close as possible to the last closed flux surface, the isotope dynamics at the plasma edge were considered to be more suited for the pedestal group. Finally, there were several updates on ongoing joint research activities between the different members. There was a focus on the role of collisionality in determining electron transport, the role of 3D fields upon confinement and transport and more explicitly how 3D fields affect the L- to H-mode transition. There also was a specific session dealing with the L-H transition and its scaling towards ITER along with an update of the transport and confinement database re-analysis using the ITER-like wall experimental input from JET. A large part of the results presented at the ITPA meeting was also presented at the upcoming IAEA meeting in Ahmedabad, India.



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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