Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It’s a gas….PPPL in the news

Is there really a helium shortage or is it all a lot of hot air? The Trenton Times examined the issue, interviewing one of our experts, Mike Williams, associate director of engineering and infrastructure at PPPL. Cornell University physicist Robert Richardson got the story going, predicting that the world’s helium supply will dwindle to zero within a quarter of a century. Williams pointed out that the “shortage” was created by a 1996 federal action opening up reserves stockpiled since the Cold War. “The law let (the United States) sell off its reserves willy-nilly, and now our reserves are actually dwindling,” Williams told the Trenton Times. Williams is not worried. The Lab uses the liquid form of the element for vacuum pumping and recycles a lot of the material.
For the full story, go here: Link

Coming soon…A Roadmap to Fusion

Hutch Nielson, director of advanced projects for PPPL, reported in the ITER Newsline ( that 65 fusion researchers from 10 countries came to Princeton University’s McDonnell Hall last month to map out the path to commercial fusion energy. The International Workshop, “MFE (Magnetic Fusion Energy) Roadmapping in the ITER Era,” was organized by Nielson and other members of an international committee of fusion leaders and hosted by PPPL. “With the ITER project now launched on its mission to answer outstanding questions regarding the control of burning plasma, the countries engaged in fusion research are planning, with renewed intensity, the research and major facilities needed to develop the science and technology for harnessing the fusion energy from a burning plasma for commercial use,” Nielson writes. A summary of the workshop is being prepared for publication and a list of participants and all of the presentation material is available here: Link

-- Kitta MacPherson

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