Fusion is the process that powers the sun and stars. It has the potential to deliver effectively limitless, clean, base-load power for future generations.
Fusion research is conducted in two departments at the ANU's Research School of Physics and Engineering: the Centre for Plasmas and Fluids and the Plasma and Positron Research Laboratory.
The Centre for Plasmas and Fluids hosts the Plasma Theory and Modelling Group, a vibrant activity that develops theory and models to describe high performance toroidally confined burning plasmas such as ITER, as well as the mathematical foundations of fully three-dimensional plasmas – stellarators. The Plasma Theory and Modelling Group has significant international engagement, with active collaborations with major international laboratories including the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (UK), the Max-Planck Institute for Plasma Physics (Germany) and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (USA). Through the Australian ITER Forum, group leader, A/Prof. Hole, has been a major advocate for Australian participation in the next step $20+ billion international ITER tokamak under construction in France.
The H-1 facility is a medium-sized, fusion-relevant, high-temperature plasma physics apparatus,with $20 million establishment budget, recent upgrade funds of $7M under the Super Science scheme (from 2011) and 1 million per annum turnover.
The laboratory research portfolio includes the study of magnetic plasma confinement configurations, advanced diagnostics development, plasma-surface interactions
The commencement of the $20+ billion international ITER tokamak represents a major step towards the practical realisation of fusion. Through the provision of locally developed technologies and Australian knowhow, researchers at ANU are strongly linked into the international fusion program ahead of ITER.
The Institute supports these activities, and the domestic program, to ensure that Australia remains well positioned in the international quest to harness the power of the stars.