A New UK Fusion Plasma Physics Programme at Warwick University

Lead Research Organisation: University of Warwick
Department Name: Physics

Abstract

The UK has recently become a net importer of energy. It is recognized that commercial fusion power development will provide an important strategic option for energy supply by mid century. Fusion is uniquely attractive because it does not rely on the conversion of fossil fuels to greenhouse gases, nor give rise to issues associated with the long term storage of nuclear waste. The physical principles underlying thermonuclear fusion in plasmas are also central to the UK's strategic defence science capabilities. The UK is a key stakeholder in the new generation of international fusion plasma research facilities. These include the magnetic confinement facility ITER, supported by six treaty partners: the EU, the USA, Russian Federation, Japan, the People's Republic of China, and the Republic of Korea. The Culham Science Center hosts the world's flagship magnetic fusion facility, JET, together with the pioneering MAST experiment. The UK's defence science needs in this field are met in part by the US National Ignition Facility (NIF, at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory) and by the new laser facility ORION being initiated at Aldermaston. The UK Government endorses the Fast Track strategy for magnetic confinement fusion power development and is funding the new defence-related facilities.Fusion plasma research is central to the energy, environmental, and defence needs of UK PLC. In addition, contemporary fusion plasma research offers the attractions of a scientific grand challenge, combined with a new generation of advanced large scale international facilities. This proposal seeks to create a new centre of excellence in fusion plasma physics at Warwick, with strong links to the UK magnetic fusion programme at Culham. This will be a step change enhancement that builds on the successful interdisciplinary track record of the Warwick-Culham collaboration, whose work is supported both by EPSRC (primarily through Culham) and by PPARC (primarily through a rolling grant to Warwick). The project will be jointly directed by Prof Sandra Chapman (Warwick) and Prof Richard Dendy (Culham) who have an extensive record of joint scientific and managerial collaboration. To create a new group in fusion plasmas, Warwick would appoint a permanent academic in each of three fields of fusion plasma research: experimental plasma data interpretation and prediction; analytical theory; and computational plasma physics using high performance supercomputing (HPC), linked to the Warwick Centre for Scientific Computing (CSC). The initial scientific focus will be on collisionless, kinetic effects; these are a distinctive feature of fusion plasmas approaching the ignition regime. These appointments are designed to increase UK capacity in this field, and therefore must be attractive internationally as well as nationally. Warwick will therefore in addition undertake to advertise, and subsequently support, these permanent academic posts up to the level of Reader where merited by the quality of the candidate. Each academic will be assisted by two postdocs and a PhD project student. The appointment of up to six postdocs will provide a UK-based career development channel which does not at present exist: this is particularly timely given the recent surge in numbers of high quality UK PhDs in fusion plasma physics. Close engagement with the experimental programme at Culham (MAST and JET) will be developed, and it is expected that some appointees will, for example, participate actively in JET Task Forces.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description See our International Advisory Panel reports to EPSRC

please see the relevant research papers- we continue to actively publish in this area
Exploitation Route please see the relevant research papers
Sectors Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy

 
Description We created a new centre for interdisciplinary plasma physics research. The Centre for Fusion, Space and Astrophysics has continued to grow and to facilitate research across laboratory and astrophysical plasmas. Young researchers trained at the Centre have found permanent positions across academia and at the leading facilities for fusion research worldwide, as well as in the mathematical modelling, finance and data analytics sectors.
First Year Of Impact 2008
Sector Energy,Environment,Financial Services, and Management Consultancy
Impact Types Economic

 
Description A radiation-hydrodynamic ALE code for laser fusion energy
Amount £255,109 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/I029117/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2011 
End 09/2013
 
Description Centre for Computational Plasma Physics
Amount £264,129 (GBP)
Organisation Atomic Weapons Establishment 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2022
 
Description Centre for Computational Plasma Physics
Amount £326,643 (GBP)
Funding ID Contract V30286915 
Organisation Atomic Weapons Establishment 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2014 
End 06/2017
 
Description Enabling Research
Amount £11,728 (GBP)
Organisation EUROfusion 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2017 
End 01/2018
 
Description Enabling Research
Amount € 30,000 (EUR)
Funding ID TNT 
Organisation European Atomic Energy Commission (EURATOM) 
Sector Public
Country Belgium
Start 01/2017 
End 12/2020
 
Description Eurofusion MST1
Amount £11,570 (GBP)
Organisation EUROfusion 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2017 
End 01/2018
 
Description Extension and optimisation of the EPOCH code
Amount £236,478 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P02212X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2017 
End 05/2019
 
Description Fulbright-Lloyd's of London Scholarship 2017/18
Amount $60,000 (USD)
Organisation US-UK Fulbright Commission 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 09/2018
 
Description H2020-PROTEC-2014
Amount € 386,531 (EUR)
Funding ID 637302 - PROGRESS 
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2015 
End 12/2017
 
Description JET campaign 2016
Amount £22,999 (GBP)
Organisation EUROfusion 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2016 
End 01/2017
 
Description JET campaign 2017
Amount £23,000 (GBP)
Organisation EUROfusion 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2017 
End 01/2018
 
Description JET campaign 2018
Amount £22,999 (GBP)
Organisation EUROfusion 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 01/2018 
End 01/2019
 
Description Multi-scale simulations of intense laser-plasma interactions
Amount £439,082 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/G054940/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2010 
End 03/2014
 
Description Newton-CONICYT
Amount Ch$1,438,000 (CLP)
Organisation Newton Fund 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2015 
End 10/2016
 
Description ODIN
Amount £255,110 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/I029117/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2011 
End 09/2013
 
Description Standard Grant
Amount £422,595 (GBP)
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 07/2012 
End 06/2015
 
Title Field-line map based mesh-free method 
Description A type of mesh-free element method for representing continuous functions has been found. This can be used in computational simulations of movement and transport in systems with elongated structures. It is particularly appropriate for describing turbulence in tokamaks, especially when the field topology is complicated beyond the X-point. 
Type Of Technology New/Improved Technique/Technology 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact A user-friendly software implementation of this newly developed software technique is under design: this has not yet been found end-user application. 
 
Title Odin 
Description Odin is a 2D r-z geometry multi-material MHD ALE code. This is maintained on a private gitlab server along with detailed documentation. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact This is the first full release of the Odin code but is currently restricted to the development team only. This includes researchers at Exeter, Warwick, Imperial College and York. This release is the first full Odin release which is able to complete simulations of pellet implosion for inertial confinement fusion (ICF). It includes MHD, conduction and a generalised Ohm's law. The ability to begin ICF simulations, albeit with an early release version of the Odin code, is essential for keeping the UK academic community actively involved in international ICF programmes. 
URL https://cfsa-pmw.warwick.ac.uk/Odin/Odin
 
Title Release of EPOCH code 
Description Release of the EPOCH particle-in-cell code as a publicly available software package. EPOCH has been developed primarily at the University of Warwick as a multi-purpose plasma simulation code. QED algorithms and code to model gamma-ray and electron-positron pair production were developed at Oxford. Warwick implemented the QED package in the publicly released version of EPOCH. The fully documented code is available at https://cfsa-pmw.warwick.ac.uk/EPOCH/epoch. It is being used by experimentalists and theorists from many countries. This initial release of EPOCH was in 2011 but this is continually updated. 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2016 
Open Source License? Yes  
Impact The UK is now recognised as a world leading centre for kinetic plasma simulations for laser-plasmas 
URL https://cfsa-pmw.warwick.ac.uk/EPOCH/epoch
 
Description Electrical wire explosion in water 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Invited Talk at Warm Dense Matter School, Berkeley, California, USA (2008).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description Invited Talk: Int. Conference on Frontiers of Plasma Physics and Technology 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact talk initiated discussions and further collaborations
group of presenter is seen as active with influencial results

group of presenter is seen as active with influencial results
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Invited main talk: Annual meeting of the German physical Society 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact talk initiated discussions and further collaborations


group of presenter is seen as active with influencial results
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Invited main talk: European Conference on Laser Interaction with Matter 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact talk initiated discussions and further collaborations

group of presenter is seen as active with influencial results
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description Invited talk: EPS Conference on Plasma Physics 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact talk initiated discussions and further collaborations

group of presenter is seen as active with influencial results
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description Invited talk: Expert Meeting on Heavy Ion Fusion 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact talk initiated discussions and further collaborations

group of presenter is seen as active with influencial results
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007
 
Description Invited talk: Int. Conference on Inertial Fusion Science and Applications 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact talk initiated discussions and further collaborations

group of presenter is seen as active with influencial results
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2007
 
Description Momentum conservation law for the Gyrokinetic Vlasov-Poisson equations 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Primary Audience
Results and Impact Round table intervention at Festival de Théorie, Aix-en Provence,France, (2011).
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011