Prof. Hartmut Zohm Every two years, the international fusion community comes together to discuss its latest scientifi c and technical results. This year, from 16-22 October, the IAEA Fusion Energy Conference was held in Chengdu, China. The timing was fortunate, as the new chinese superconducting tokamak EAST had just produced its fi rst plasmas a few days prior to the conference. All together, 68 contributions on ITER design and technologies were presented, another 67 on fusion technology in general. The general impression was that the design and R&D activities in preparation to the ITER construction as well as reactor technology R&D in the fi eld of Test Blanket Modules have been steadily progressing, providing good confi dence for their realization in ITER.

In Fusion Technology, there were papers related to the overall status of new machines (11), reactor design (11), materials (10), blanket and neutronics (14) and plasma facing components (7). The new machines in construction or commissioning phase are four superconducting tokamaks in Asia: EAST in China, SST-1 in India (construction and assembly completed), KSTAR in Korea (commissioning will start in the middle of 2007) and JT-60SA in Japan (construction will start in 2007); and two stellarators Wendelstein 7-X in Germany and NCSX in the USA which are both in the construction phase.

In the physics area, several highlights were discussed. Understanding of turbulent transport has gained considerably from joint progress in theory and experiment, with clear evidence for zonal fl ows and Geodesic Acoustic Modes being a highlight of results presented at the conference. The retention of hydrogenic fuel is now a focal point of plasma wall interaction studies and the assessment of alternative wall materials and detriation techniques is ongoing. Bursty scrape-off layer transport is another important area, being observed in L-mode, H-mode and during edge localized modes (ELMs). In the area of fast particle physics, many new diagnostic techniques were shown and a focus is now the study of the redistribution of fast particles by magneto-hydrodynamic (MHD) modes and turbulence, since this may not only affect alpha-heating, but also current drive by neutral beam injection. A very interesting result on MHD stability was the observation that resistive wall modes can be rotationally stabilised at much lower rotation than found previously if the ambient error fi eld is minimised carefully. Last but not least, increasingly sophisticated control systems are profi ting from the advances made in the different fi elds by integrating them into operational scenarii that promise higher performance than the standard ELMy H-mode.

Also during the conference, TC Luce et al. were awarded the inaugural ‘Nuclear Fusion’ award for their paper Stationary high-performance discharges in the DIII-D tokamak (Nuclear Fusion 43 (5), pp. 321- 329).