Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory reactor fails
Date: Monday, October 03, 2016 @ 14:09:22 EDT
From Physics Today: Director forced to step down after Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory reactor fails
The world’s most powerful spherical tokamak will be off-line for a year while new magnets are built.
The director of the flagship US fusion research laboratory was forced to resign in the wake of a mishap that has caused an extended shutdown of one of the world’s top fusion experiments. The failure two months ago of a magnet at the National Spherical Torus Experiment Upgrade (NSTX-U) is expected to take the machine out of commission for a year...
Full text here: Director forced to step down after Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory reactor fails
[Vlad] I found Donald Jasby's comment very appropriate:
The Prager matter is the latest of forced resignations of directors of
fusion labs. The previous Director of PPPL (Goldston) was also forced to
resign after his pet project, the NCSX stellarator, could not be built
after expending more than $100M, and in fact the machine was never fully
Two years ago NIF (Livermore) director Moses (2014)
was force to resign because of his ongoing false claims of “guaranteed
ignition” for NIF and the viability of laser-fusion power plants by the
Meanwhile in Europe, the JET project at Culham Lab.
has not produced a significant fusion result in the last 10 years or
more. Every JET 5-year program since 2000 has planned to perform
experiments with 50-50 D-T fuel, but they have always been postponed.
JET cannot even replicate the fusion results that it reported 20 years
ago, which form much of the basis of projected ITER performance. This
refusal to use fusion fuel has not stopped Culham director Cowley from
proclaiming in one speech after another that fusion power plants are
about to take over the world’s energy supply. Fed up with
non-performance and endless delay, European funding sources have forced
Cowley to announce his imminent retirement.
this train of machine debacles and director “retirements”, there is a
message to fusioneers. This lesson is that to sustain the fusion
enterprise, expensive Public Relations depts. and grandiose promises are
not quite enough. The lavishly funded fusion show cannot continue
indefinitely on the basis of P.R. propaganda about continued great
achievements when there have been none, and promises to deliver a
working fusion power reactor in 10 years when it’s probably impossible
on any time scale.
No, there actually has to be a significant real
result once in a while, such as once a decade. (My gosh, who
wodhavthunkit?) Otherwise, even the bureaucrats get antsy that the
normally sedated taxpayer will bestir himself, and the guillotine is
dusted off and rolled out for the lab. director.