The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced $17 million in funding for research at the National Spherical Tokamak Experiment Upgrade (NSTX-U), an Office of Science user facility at DOE’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey.
The initiative will support experiments, data analysis, and computer modeling and simulation of plasma behavior. A major focus will be on beginning to lay the scientific groundwork for a next-generation facility through better understanding of the behavior of plasmas in spherical tokamaks, or apple-shaped fusion energy reactors.
NSTX-U is one of the Nation’s two largest fusion energy facilities, along with the DIII-D National Fusion Facility at General Atomics in San Diego, California. While repairs continue, early research will focus on analysis of data from NSTX-U’s initial run in 2016 as well as computer modeling and simulation, including modeling of low collisionality plasmas, as well as detailed analysis of previously observed energetic particle instabilities.
Total planned funding is $17 million for awards of five years in duration, with up to $6 million in Fiscal Year 2020 dollars and outyear funding contingent on congressional appropriations and satisfactory progress.