Exploratory Plasma Research


1999 summary overview of the Innovative Confinement Concepts Workshop purpose from Anne Davies (U.S. Department of Energy Office of Fusion Energy Sciences)

One of the major Fusion Energy Advisory Committee (FEAC) recommendations made in its report “A Restructured Fusion Energy Program” was “the restructured program will focus on continued development of fusion science with increasing attention to concept innovation and alternate approaches to fusion”. Another important FEAC recommendation was that Office of Fusion Energy Sciences (OFES) must “rely significantly on peer review as the primary input for funding allocations.” The OFES plan to implement these recommendations in the area of concept innovation and alternate approaches are outlined here. The area referred to as Innovative Confinement Concepts (ICC) includes the possibility of innovation within the tokamak concept as well.

In March 1996, the Department of Energy requested the FEAC carry out a programmatic review of alternate concepts. This review was to include the present status of alternate concept development, and produce an overall strategy for a U.S. alternative concepts development program. FEAC delivered their report (DOE/ER-0690) to DOE in July 1996. In this report, the various stages of concept development were discussed in detail. The development path discussed below follows in general recommendations contained in this report.

At a meeting in the fall of 1996 in Leesburg, VA, a group of fusion program participants recommended, as a first concrete step in restarting ICC research, that a meeting be organized by PPPL where U.S. scientists interested in ICC could gather together and exchange ideas. This ICC Workshop, which was organized by Rob Goldston of PPPL along with the help of a broadly based program committee, was held in Los Angeles in March 1997, with the assistance of UCLA. The workshop brought together a majority of the scientists in the U.S. interested in ICC development and was judged by the participants to be a great success.

Subsequently, the OFES published Notice 97-08 seeking experimental and study proposals on “Innovations in Fusion Energy Confinement Systems” offering $3,000,000 of new FY 1998 funding in this area (annually renewed for up to three years). Forty proposals were received, many of which were greatly strengthened by the proposers participation in the ICC Workshop.


A.  Meetings that preceded the name Innovative Confinements Concepts:

1.  November 30, 1993, Pleasanton, CA. “LLNL/UC Alternate Fusion Workshop” Chair: Paul Drake, Director of the Plasma Physics Research Institute at LLNL

2.  July 19-21, 1994, Oak Ridge, TN. “Workshop on Establishing the Physics Basis Needed to Access the Potential of Compact Toroidal Reactors” Organizers: R.A. Blanken and S.A. Eckstrand, Chair: Martin Peng

3.  September 11-14, 1995, Monterey, CA. “U.S./Japan Physics of Fusion Concepts Suited for D-3He Burning and Advance Approaches for Economical Fusion Power Workshop” Sponsor: Cornell University, National Institute for Fusion Science (Japan), and LLNL, Chair: John Perkins

4.  October 20-23, 1997, Pleasanton, CA. “Innovative Approaches to Fusion Energy” International Atomic Energy Agency Technical Committee Meeting, Organizer: LLNL, Chair: John Perkins.

B.  Meetings with the name ICC:

1.  March 3-6, 1997, Marina del Rey, CA. “Innovative Confinement Concepts Workshop” Organizer: Bob Taylor, Chair: Rob Goldston

2.  April 6-9, 1998, Princeton, PA. “Innovative Confinement Concepts Workshop – 1998” A hard copy of the abstracts was distributed. Chair: Rob Goldston

3.  February 22-25, 2000, Berkeley, CA. “Innovative Confinement Concepts Workshop – 2000” A hard copy of the program was distributed. A formal book of abstracts was not distributed. Chair: Rob Goldston

4.  Beginning in 2002 an ICC Workshops website was established. URL: www.iccworkshops.org