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An Assessment of the Department of Energy's Office of Fusion Energy Sciences Program




Fusion Science Assessment Committee

Plasma Science Committee

Board on Physics and Astronomy

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

National Research Council




NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
Washington, D.C.



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Page i An Assessment of the Department of Energy's Office of Fusion Energy Sciences Program Fusion Science Assessment Committee Plasma Science Committee Board on Physics and Astronomy Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences National Research Council NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS Washington, D.C.

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Page ii National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This project was supported by the Department of Energy under Grant No. DE-FG02-98ER54508. International Standard Book Number 0-309-07345-6 Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, DC 20055; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area); Internet <http://www.nap.edu>; and Board on Physics and Astronomy, National Research Council, HA 562, 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20418; Internet <http://www.national-academies.org/bpa>. Cover images: The three images on the cover illustrate the commonality of fundamental processes, such as for magnetic reconnection in astrophysical and laboratory plasmas. The top image, soft x-ray data from the TRACE (Transition Region and Coronal Explorer) satellite, shows loops of million-degree plasma in the solar corona. The heating of plasma in these loops is believed to result from the release of magnetic energy during magnetic reconnection. The four plots in the center of the cover are a sequence of electron temperature measurements from the core of the Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor during an “internal disruption.” The topological change in the magnetic field resulting from magnetic reconnection facilitates the expulsion of the 50-million-degree plasma core. In the bottom image, the Magnetic Reconnection Experiment explores the basic physics of magnetic reconnection. Superimposed is a snapshot of the measured magnetic field. Courtesy of NASA and the Stanford-Lockheed Institute for Space Research (top) and M. Yamada, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (middle and bottom). Copyright 2001 by the National Academy of Sciences . All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America

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Page iii THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES National Academy of Sciences National Academy of Engineering Institute of Medicine National Research Council The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. William A. Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Kenneth I. Shine is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M. Alberts and Dr. William A. Wulf are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council.

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Page iv

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Page v FUSION SCIENCE ASSESSMENT COMMITTEE CHARLES F. KENNEL, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Chair * LINDA CAPUANO, Honeywell, Inc. PATRICK L. COLESTOCK, Los Alamos National Laboratory FRANCE CORDOVA, University of California at Santa Barbara * JAMES F. DRAKE, University of Maryland * NATHANIEL J. FISCH, Princeton University LENNARD FISK, University of Michigan RAYMOND FONCK, University of Wisconsin ROBERT A. FROSCH, Harvard University * GEORGE GLOECKLER, University of Maryland ZORAN MIKIC, Science Applications International Corporation ALBERT NARATH, Lockheed Martin Corporation (retired) * CLAUDIO PELLEGRINI, University of California at Los Angeles * STEWART C. PRAGER, University of Wisconsin at Madison * ROBERT ROSNER, University of Chicago * ANDREW M. SESSLER, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory ROBERT H. SOCOLOW, Princeton University * JAMES W. VAN DAM, University of Texas at Austin JONATHAN WURTELE, University of California at Berkeley *Steering group member DONALD C. SHAPERO, Board on Physics and Astronomy, Director KEVIN D. AYLESWORTH, Program Officer (until October 15, 1999) JOEL R. PARRIOTT, Program Officer ACHILLES SPELIOTOPOULOS, Program Officer (after October 20, 2000)

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Page vi PLASMA SCIENCE COMMITTEE STEVEN C. COWLEY, University of California at Los Angeles, Chair JILL P. DAHLBURG, Naval Research Laboratory JAMES F. DRAKE, University of Maryland MARK J. KUSHNER, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign JOHN D. LINDL, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory DAVID MEYERHOFER, University of Rochester THOMAS M. O'NEIL, University of California at San Diego STEWART C. PRAGER, University of Wisconsin at Madison ROBERT ROSNER, University of Chicago JONATHAN WURTELE, University of California at Berkeley DONALD C. SHAPERO, Board on Physics and Astronomy, Director KEVIN D. AYLESWORTH, Program Officer (until October 15, 1999) JOEL R. PARRIOTT, Program Officer (from October 16, 1999, to July 15, 2000) ACHILLES SPELIOTOPOULOS, Program Officer (after July 15, 2000)

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Page vii BOARD ON PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY JOHN P. HUCHRA, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Chair ROBERT C. RICHARDSON, Cornell University, Vice Chair GORDON A. BAYM, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign WILLIAM BIALEK, NEC Research Institute VAL FITCH, Princeton University WENDY FREEDMAN, Carnegie Observatories RICHARD D. HAZELTINE, University of Texas at Austin KATHRYN LEVIN, University of Chicago CHUAN LIU, University of Maryland JOHN C. MATHER, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center CHERRY ANN MURRAY, Lucent Technologies JULIA PHILLIPS, Sandia National Laboratories ANNEILA I. SARGENT, California Institute of Technology JOSEPH H. TAYLOR, Jr., Princeton University KATHLEEN TAYLOR, General Motors Research and Development Center CARL E. WEIMAN, JILA/University of Colorado at Boulder PETER G. WOLYNES, University of California at San Diego DONALD C. SHAPERO, Director ROBERT L. RIEMER, Program Officer JOEL R. PARRIOTT, Program Officer ACHILLES SPELIOTOPOULOS, Program Officer SARAH CHOUDHURY, Senior Project Associate NELSON QUIÑONES, Project Assistant

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Page viii

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Page ix Preface The Fusion Science Assessment Committee was convened under the auspices of the National Research Council's Board on Physics and Astronomy in 1998 in response to a request to the National Research Council by the Department of Energy's Office of Science for an assessment of the scientific quality of its Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (OFES) program. The original charge to the committee was expanded in early 1999, after consultation with the associate director for OFES, to include a programmatic assessment in addition to the scientific assessment. The expanded charge to the committee is as follows: “The committee will assess the scientific quality of the fusion program of the DOE's Office of Science. Criteria will include excellence, impact, role in education, and contribution to strengthening the scientific foundation for fusion. A science strategy for the program will provide a context for judgement and a direction for future development.” The committee was asked to look at OFES specifically, but in the course of its deliberations determined that it could not look at the OFES program in a meaningful way unless it considered the U.S. plasma science effort as a whole. Nonindustrial plasma science funding in this country is dominated by OFES, which now has a mandate to act as a steward for plasma science. Given this domination, the assessment refers to the OFES program and the overall U.S. plasma science research effort interchangeably. For the same reason, the committee uses the terms plasma science, plasma physics, and fusion science interchangeably in this report. It is important to note topics that the committee did not directly address and that are therefore not included here. The report focuses on the science of magnetically confined plasmas and the programmatic strategy for long-term progress in this area, but it does not directly address inertially confined plasmas (with the exception of a brief mention in Chapter 3 ). The Department of Energy's Office of Defense Programs sponsors major inertial-confinement fusion research for stockpile stewardship purposes. OFES also sponsors a relatively small, and complementary, program in inertial fusion driver and target research relevant to the energy goal. Although some plasma science issues are common to both magnetic and inertial confinement, the programs are structured quite differently. Also, this assessment does not directly address issues surrounding specific technology development and engineering research sponsored by the program (with the exception of a brief mention in Chapter 3 ), because the committee chose to focus on elements of the program related to basic plasma physics research.

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Page x Although the committee explicitly mentions the International Toroidal Experimental Reactor (ITER) only in connection with the 1996 redirection of OFES, the existence of this international partnership was implicit during its deliberations, and international efforts are mentioned in connection with the potential for a future burning experiment. The committee divided into four groups to facilitate the writing of this report, although the full committee participated in the discussions, data gathering, and internal review of the full report. The four groups were a steering group and three working groups, which wrote the three main chapters of the report. The steering group consisted of the chair, four senior science and technology policy experts, and the leaders of the three working groups. The working groups were led by James Drake, Stewart Prager, and Robert Rosner, and each was made up of members from both inside and outside fusion science. The insiders provided the expertise and had detailed knowledge of the history of the fusion program, and the outsiders acted as objective reviewers. Short summaries of the five committee meetings are found in Appendix A . In September 1999, the committee produced an interim report1 on the quality of the science in the OFES. OFES requested this interim report so it could meet its obligations under the Government Performance Review Act. The interim report was necessarily brief, lacked detailed findings, and was without any recommendations or discussion of programmatic issues. Despite such shortcomings, its findings serve as the core of the discussion in Chapter 4 of this final report. To learn the views of the stakeholders in the federal government, the chair held discussions with representatives of the Department of Energy, the Congress, the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Congressional Research Service. For an excellent indepth analysis of the history of the U.S. fusion program, the committee strongly recommends Congress and the Fusion Energy Sciences Program: A Historical Analysis. 2 The committee would like to acknowledge the technical input of Martin Greenwald, Alan Turnbull, Ted Strait, Tony Taylor, Frank Waelbroeck, Michael Zarnstorff, Cary Forest, Keith Burrell, Edward Synakowski, and William Dorland. It would also like to thank Kenneth Gentle for providing the results of his independent demographic study of plasma physics faculty members at universities. The committee would also like to acknowledge two speakers at the La Jolla meeting whose talks helped to lay the foundation for the science assessment found in this report: Predhiman Kaw, Institute for Plasma Research, India, on the international standing of the U.S. fusion science program, and Steven Cowley, University of California at Los Angeles, on contributions of fusion theory to nonfusion science. The committee acknowledges the excellent assistance of the NRC staff, including Don Shapero, Joel Parriott, and Kevin Aylesworth. It has been a privilege and a pleasure for this committee, a blend of practicing fusion scientists, active scientists in related fields, and scientists with considerable managerial experience, to get to know fusion research at a critical turning point in its evolution. The committee hopes that the different perspectives of the members will stimulate the fusion research community to reach out to the broader science community and thereby to assume its rightful place in the sun. Charles F. Kennel, Chair Fusion Science Assessment Committee 1 National Research Council, Fusion Science Assessment Committee. 1999. Interim Report. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. 2 Richard E. Rowberg. 2000. Congress and the Fusion Energy Sciences Program: A Historical Analysis. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service.

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Page xi Acknowledgment of Reviewers This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Abraham Bers, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Steven C. Cowley, University of California at Los Angeles, Marvin L. Goldberger, University of California at San Diego, William Happer, Jr., Princeton University, Chuan Sheng Liu, University of Maryland, Roy F. Schwitters, University of Texas at Austin, Clifford M. Surko, University of California at San Diego, Lilian Shiao-Yen Wu, IBM Corporation, and Ellen G. Zweibel, University of Colorado. Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by John F. Ahearne, of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, and Duke University, appointed by the NRC's Report Review Committee, who was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Page xiii Contents Executive Summary 1 1     OVERVIEW: ASSESSMENT AND HISTORICAL CONTEXT 9     Assessment of Quality: Scientific Progress and the Development of Predictive Capability, 9     Program Development: Plasma Confinement Configurations, 11     Institutional Considerations: Interactions of the Fusion Program With Allied Areas of Science and Technology, 12 2     SCIENTIFIC PROGRESS AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF PREDICTIVE CAPABILITY 14     Summary, 15         Equilibrium and Heating, 15         Stability, 16         Transport, 16     Equilibrium and Heating: Designing, Controlling, and Diagnosing a Confined Plasma, 17         Tools for Calculating Equilibria, 18         Tools for Measuring Equilibrium Pressure and Magnetic and Electric Fields, 19         Tools for Controlling Plasma Properties, 20     Stability: Predicting Operational Behavior, 23         Ideal Stability of Confined Plasmas, 24         Nonideal Instabilities and Magnetic Reconnection, 26         Density Limits, 29         Influence of Fast Particles, 30

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Page xiv     Transport: Ensuring Sufficient Confinement, 32         Empirical Scaling Law Approach, 33         Development of Tools for Calculating Stability and Simulating Nonlinear Microturbulence, 34         Development of Tools for Remote Measurement of Fluctuations and Transient Phenomena, 36         Transport Barriers and Confinement Control, 37         Evaluation of the Present Understanding of Turbulent Transport, 39     Findings and Recommendations, 42         Findings, 42         Recommendations, 43 3     PLASMA CONFINEMENT CONFIGURATIONS 45     Introduction, 45     Important Physics Questions Motivating Research With Various Configurations, 46         Understand the Stability Limits to Plasma Pressure, 46         Understand and Control Magnetic Chaos in Self-Organized Systems, 48         Understand Classical Plasma Behavior and Magnetic Field Symmetry, 49         Understand Plasmas Self-Sustained by Fusion (“Burning” Plasmas), 51     Reactor Design Features Motivating Fusion Concept Development, 53     Inertial Fusion Energy Concept Development, 55     Linkages With International Programs, 56     Enabling Technologies for Plasma Configuration Development, 56     Current Metrics for Fusion Concept Development, 57     Findings and Recommendations, 60         Findings, 60         Recommendations, 60 4     INTERACTIONS OF THE FUSION PROGRAM WITH ALLIED AREAS OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 62     Introduction, 62     What Are the Deep Scientific Contributions That Have Impacted Other Physics Fields?, 63         Stability Theory, 63         Stochasticity, Chaos, and Nonlinear Dynamics, 63         Dissipation of Magnetic Fields, 63         Origins of Magnetic Fields, 64         Wave Dynamics, 64         Turbulent Transport, 65     What Have Been the Fusion-specific Contributions of the United States to the World Program?, 65     What Are the Future Forefront Areas of Interdisciplinary Research?, 66     Does the Field Maintain Leadership in Key Supporting Research Areas?, 71         Computational Physics, 72         Applied Mathematics, 74         Experimental Techniques, 75

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Page xv     Has the Field Been Recognized for Asking and Answering Deep Physics Questions?, 76     Are Plasma Scientists Well Represented and Trained at the Nation's Major Research Universities?, 76     Creation of Centers of Excellence in Plasma and Fusion Science, 77     Findings and Recommendations, 79         Findings, 79         Recommendations, 79 APPENDIXES 83     A     Summary of Committee Meetings, 85     B     Funding Data, 87         Total Budget of the Office of Fusion Energy Sciences, 87         National Science Foundation/Department of Energy Plasma Physics Partnership Funding, 89         Office of Fusion Energy Sciences Funding to Universities, 89     C     The Family of Magnetic Confinement Configurations, 91         The Stellarator, 91         The Tokamak, 92         The Spherical Torus, 92         The Reversed-Field Pinch, 92         The Spheromak and the Field-Reversed Configuration, 92         Other Concepts, 93     D     Glossary, 94     E     Acronyms and Abbreviations, 96