News and Events

U.S. Burning Plasma Organization eNews

December 16, 2019 (Issue 142)

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
Contact and Contribution Information  


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, January 31, 2020.

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

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

New eNews editor

This issue marks the beginning of the tenure of our new editor, Sterling Smith of GA. He was preceded by Walter Guttenfelder of PPPL. I am grateful to both Sterling and Walter for their efforts.

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:


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."

Turnover of USBPO topical group leadership

The USBPO includes ten topical groups, each with a leader and deputy leader. They serve two-year terms, which can be renewed once. Four of our leaders are currently ending their second term, and we are seeking nominations for new leaders or deputy leaders for each of these groups:

·         Energetic particles: Eric Bass (UCSD) is the outgoing leader

·         Fusion Engineering Science: Jean-Paul Allain (Penn State) is the outgoing leader

·         Operations and Control: Eugenio Schuster (Lehigh) is the outgoing leader

·         Plasma-wave interactions: Greg Wallace (MIT) is the outgoing leader

As with the Council, please send your nominations (you can nominate yourself or a colleague) to me ( The deadline for nominations is December 31, 2019.

Please see the USBPO bylaws at /organization/?article=Charter%20and%20Bylaws for more information about both selection processes.

Kathy McCarthy to become new US ITER Project Office Director

Kathy McCarthy has been named director of the US ITER Project Office at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, effective March 2020. McCarthy succeeds Ned Sauthoff, who is transitioning to a new role supporting lab-wide efforts across the ORNL research portfolio. We wish Ned the best of luck in his new position, and welcome and look forward to working with Dr. McCarthy in her new role.

For more information please see:

Progress at ITER

I’ve recently had the good fortune to visit ITER twice in three weeks, giving me an up-close look at just how fast things can change there. ITER is now about 2/3 complete toward first plasma, with the tokamak building nearing readiness for tokamak assembly, which is scheduled to commence in March as the cryostat base is lowered into the tokamak pit. The photos below show the ITER tokamak complex on November 21 and December 11. During that three-week period, the roof support structure and crane rails on the near side were completed, and all of the roof sections were lifted into place. Of interest is the large crane used to lift those sections – it is one of only three cranes in all of Europe with the reach and weight capacity to do this job.

The ITER tokamak complex, comprised of the Assembly Hall in the back and the tokamak building in the foreground. These photos were taken just three weeks apart, on November 21 (left) and December 11 (right).

Calendar of Burning Plasma Events


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

JT-60SA First Plasma (

Jan 13-16

ITPA Divertor and SOL meeting

Jeju, South Korea


Jan 13-17

APS DPP “Snowmass” Community Planning Workshop

Houston, TX


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

Knoxville, TN


April 20-23

Technology of Fusion Energy (TOFE) conference

Charleston, SC


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


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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