Zestaw obrazów 2019
Tegoroczną Nagrodę Nobla z fizyki otrzymali Kanadyjczyk James Peebles oraz dwóch Szwajcarów Michel Mayor i Didier Queloz za odkrycia, które pozwoliły zrozumieć historię i budowę Wszechświata.
Połowę nagrody otrzymał James Peebles z Princeton University za „teoretyczne odkrycia w dziedzinie kosmologii”, które przyczyniły się do zrozumienia tego, jak Wszechświat ewoluował po Wielkim Wybuchu. Prace Peeblesa dotyczące kosmologii fizycznej położyły podwaliny pod transformację kosmologii w ciągu ostatnich 50 lat. Od połowy lat 60. tworzył teoretyczne ramy współczesnych poglądów dotyczących Wszechświata. Za pomocą swoich teoretycznych narzędzi i obliczeń James Peebles był w stanie interpretować ewolucję Wszechświata niemal od Wielkiego Wybuchu i odkryć nowe procesy fizyczne. Jak się okazało, znana nam wszystkim materia – galaktyki, gwiazdy, planety, rośliny, zwierzęta, ludzie – stanowi zaledwie pięć procent zawartości Wszechświata. Na pozostałe 95 proc. składają się nieznana ciemna materia i ciemna energia.
Drugą połową nagrody podzielą się Michel Mayor i Didier Queloz z University of Geneva, którzy w październiku 1995 roku ogłosili odkrycie pierwszej planety spoza Układu Słonecznego okrążającej gwiazdę podobną do Słońca. Odkrycie szwajcarskich naukowców zapoczątkowało rewolucję w astronomii. Od tego czasu znaleziono ponad cztery tysiące egzoplanet w Drodze Mlecznej. Mają one niezwykle różnorodne rozmiary, formy i orbity, często sprzeczne z dotychczasowymi koncepcjami na temat systemów planetarnych.
Ilustracja: Niklas Elmehed / Nobel Media
Fusion for Energy (F4E) in collaboration with EUROfusion, drafted an MoU with EUROfusion for the implementation of the reorganization of the Test Blanket Module and Breeding Blanket programme. This MoU was signed on the 02 September 2019. EUROfusion Programme Manager Tony Donné gave his thoughts on the collaboration and why it is important for the European fusion community going forward.
What is the significance of the MoU between EUROfusion and F4E?
EUROfusion and F4E are largely complementary entities. Roughly, you could say that F4E is the European organisation that is responsible for the procurement and assembly of large-scale fusion projects as ITER, JT-60SA and IFMIF/DONES, whereas EUROfusion if the organisation coordinating R&D in nuclear fusion in Europe. There are several topics in which F4E and EUROfusion have a common interest and in which it makes sense to work together to make use of synergies. The MoU is the basic framework between the two organisations under which the specific agreements on certain topics will find a place.
In what ways are EUROfusion and F4E already collaborating?
What are some of the challenges faced in regard to the two bodies working together?
Both organisations have a different governance and also different strengths. The challenges boil down to finding the optimum way to work together. F4E has much more experience, and has much better tools to work, with industry, while EUROfusion is better geared up to working with the European fusion institutes. In making joint work plans for the different topics, it is important to take these specific strengths into account such that proper synergies are reached.
How would you define EUROfusion’s future role in realising fusion projects?
EUROfusion is a research organisation. Our role is not so much realising new and big projects, but to indicate the need for these projects and to do the necessary research and underlying design. To aid this process we have drafted the European Fusion Roadmap. The main line described in the roadmap leads us via the present devices via ITER to DEMO. Additionally we describe the need for a dedicated neutron source: IFMIF/DONES and a stellarator facility: W7-X as a long-term fall-back solution. As EUROfusion we are exploiting present devices, we are preparing for the exploitation of ITER and we are doing the engineering designs of DEMO and IFMIF/DONES. Once ITER is completed by F4E and the other domestic agencies, EUROfusion will take a role in the exploitation of ITER. Around this time F4E is expected to take over the detailed engineering design of DEMO.
The UK government has committed GBP220 million (USD270 million) over four years for the conceptual design of the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP). The STEP programme aims to construct a fusion power plant based on the design by 2040.
Andrea Leadsom, the UK's Business and Energy Secretary, announced the investment during a visit to the UK Atomic Energy Agency's (UKAEA's) Culham Science Centre in Oxfordshire, England. The UKAEA is the UK government research organisation responsible for the development of nuclear fusion.
The STEP programme will develop and identify solutions to the challenges of delivering fusion energy, benefitting from UKAEA's expertise and research facilities to deliver an integrated concept design. The technical objectives of STEP are: to deliver predictable net electricity greater than 100 MW; to innovate to exploit fusion energy beyond electricity production; to ensure tritium self-sufficiency; to qualify materials and components under appropriate fusion conditions; and to develop a viable path to affordable lifecycle costs.
In August, the UK government announced GBP20 million for the first year, launching STEP as a collaborative programme that combines the strengths of UKAEA, universities and other organisations.
UKAEA said the latest investment will allow engineers and scientists to produce a conceptual design for the tokamak reactor that will generate fusion energy and convert it to electricity. The design should be completed by 2024, it said.
The STEP programme will create 300 direct jobs, UKAEA noted, with even more in the UK fusion supply chain. "In addition, the spin-offs from the design work are expected to be enormous - both in terms of synergies with other fusion power plant design activities (such as Europe's DEMO prototype power station) and other hi-tech industries."
STEP builds on UKAEA's expertise in developing 'spherical tokamaks' - compact and efficient fusion devices. The new Mage Amp Spherical Tokamak Upgrade (MAST-U) spherical tokamak experiment is due to start operation at Culham in early-2020. Its work will play a key role in the STEP design.
Announcing the latest funding, Leadsom said: "This is a bold and ambitious investment in the energy technology of the future. Nuclear fusion has the potential to be an unlimited clean, safe and carbon-free energy source and we want the first commercially viable machine to be in the UK."
Researched and written by World Nuclear News
Photo: How a plant based on the STEP fusion reactor could look (Image: UKAEA)
This annual meeting was held at the headquarters of the Helmholtz Society in Berlin March 12–14, 2019. Roughly forty on-site and ten remote participants provided reports on collaborations, grouped into seven topics that reviewed progress during the past year, and planned for the future. The coordinated working group actions (CWGA) serve as a basis to follow up joint actions and were agreed to be followed up in the forthcoming meetings.
Worldwide stellarator research has gained substantial momentum: On Wendelstein 7-X (W7-X, Greifswald, Germany), first campaigns with an uncooled divertor have demonstrated the highest-ever fusion performance normalized to the plasma volume and at the same time, the longest pulse lengths. Deuterium experiments in the Large Helical Device (LHD, Toki, Japan) showed confinement at higher performance than gyro-Bohm scaling—differences in terms of engineering parameters are less clear. Smaller devices are enabling experimental insights for physical understanding, such as turbulence studies in TJ-II (Madrid, Spain), fueling studies in Heliotron-J (Kyoto, Japan), and the examination of flows in HSX (Wisconsin, USA). Progress in the refurbishment of Uragan 2-M (Kharkiv, Ukraine) and new concept devices (CFQS, Chengdu, China) complement the larger experiments, creating new opportunities to assess aspects relevant to reactor-like operation and stellarator optimization.
Equally important, stellarators benefit from the latest cutting-edge developments in diagnostics, heating, and plasma fueling. Coordinated programs in the EU, the US, and Japan link innovative developments [e.g., integrated systems for overload detection (EU consortium), x-ray detectors (Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory), super-fast surveillance cameras (EU around WIGNER Research Centre for Physics, Hungary) and phase-contrast imaging (MIT)] to the stellarator programs with obvious mutual synergies: the pace of experiments is accelerated by employing these unprecedented measuring capabilities.
More and more benefits for tokamaks are materializing: experience gained in long-pulse stellarator experiments contributes to large-scale devices such as JT-60SA and ITER. A select example is the steady-state fueling pellet injector from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) that is being brought to W7-X with additional support from EUROfusion and NIFS, Japan, and which implements technology planned for use on ITER.
The scientific community is excited by early theoretical ideas to explain the latest results from stellarator experiments. Worldwide groups, concentrated in research centers as well as in universities, are increasingly applying their expertise in the understanding of ground-breaking physics questions, such as turbulence in three-dimensional (3D) fields, impurity transport, fast-ion confinement, and plasma flows and currents.
The above-mentioned aspects were the essence of a three-day meeting held at the headquarters of the Helmholtz Society, the funding agency of the German fusion programme (see Fig. 1). The meeting was organized and sponsored by the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics. Roughly forty on-site and ten remote participants provided reports on collaborations, grouped into seven topics. In an informal workshop format, the participants discussed proposals for joint action and experiments, taking advantage of comparative studies in different devices. The CWGM is not a scientific conference, but rather a interactive workshop wherein agreements on joint publications under the auspices of the IEA Technology Collaboration Program on Stellarators/Heliotrons are promoted to become the measurable outcome of the CWGM. A session on the program plans of the main contributors served to enable the exchange of information, and the community was invited to provide feedback to programmatic considerations. China’s quickly developing stellarator program, with a sound balance of sustainable build-up of know-how and scientifically interesting new concepts, namely the outline of a quasiaxially symmetric device, attracted great interest.
The sessions were led by colleagues serving as coordinators. The remainder of this report gives brief summaries of each session.
James A. Rome
The evaluation of the EU proposal 871124 - LASERLAB-EUROPE for a new EU contract for Laserlab-Europe, "Laserlab-5" is completed and the EC has just announced the result. The proposal reached the stage of the Grant Agreement preparation. It included also the Laserlab-Europe AISBL Association (www.laserlab-europe.eu) as a new beneficiary. The latter means that all of the organizations that joined this Association will also be involved in the new contract and can take advantage of the EU money.
Laserlab-Europe was a beneficiary also in the CREMLINplus (Connecting Russian and European Measures for Large-scale Research Infrastructures) proposal. That proposal has just been approved as well, and is ready for the Grant preparation stage.
The Joint JRA Meeting and Laserlab Conference on 9-11 October 2019 in Florence (Italy) will include visions and plans for the next four years regarding the upcoming new JRA activities.
Source: Information from Laserlab-Europe coordinators