At IPP’s 50th anniversary, political representatives emphasised support for fusion research

IPP director Günther Hasinger receives a bust of Minerva, the Max Planck Society’s emblem, from the Society’s president Peter Gruss (Photo: IPP, Ulrich Schwenn)

On 26th July, Max Planck Institut für Plasmaphysik (IPP) celebrated its 50th anniversary in Garching. IPP Director Prof. Dr. Günther Hasinger welcomed several high standing representatives of German and European politics and fusion research and from German research among the 800 invited guests and staff. He was also pleased to greet the Friends of Fusion, a circle of fusion researchers and high-level industry representatives that supports and promotes fusion research in Germany.

“When Heisenberg and the Max Planck Society founded IPP in 1960, scientists were talking about milliwatts of fusion power over a period of just a few milliseconds. With ITER, we are now aiming for half a gigawatt for up to 5 minutes”. In his welcome address, Hasinger summarised the long path to fusion power and the significant role that IPP has played in it. “Fusion research does not need to hide behind other technology developments. It will play a significant role towards the end of the century,” he said.

“Bavaria is proud to be the home to IPP”: Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer stressed the great importance of research and technology to the state, and emphasised his support for fusion research: “Fusion is one of the great opportunities afforded to the energy mix of the future”. Dr. Helge Braun, Parliamentary State Secretary for the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), repeatedly encouraged the scientists to pursue their research and to convey to the public how necessary and enormous an undertaking the quest for fusion energy is. He stressed that fusion power will surely be needed in 2050 due to the limitations and challenges associated with all currently available or feasible energy technologies. Braun also noted that a third of German public spending on energy research goes to fusion energy (120 million euros a year; note by the editor): “We are sure that this money is well-invested in you”. Prof. Dr. Peter Gruss, President of Max Planck Society, congratulated the oldest and largest institute of the society and presented Hasinger with a bust of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and the emblem of the society. Norbert Holtkamp and Eugen Velikhov communicated their congratulations as well as the latest ITER news. Yvan Capouet, Head of Fusion Association Agreement, Euratom, was also included amongst the guests. The reception concluded with a lecture by Prof. Dr. Jochem Marotzke, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, regarding the two-degree global warming limit which the EU is aiming for. Marotzke is one of the coordinating lead authors of the IPCC report 2012.

More information about 50 years of fusion research at IPP can be found on the Internet (in German):

Selected milestones at IPP One of the significant milestones of fusion research was the discovery of a high-confinement tokamak regime at IPP in 1982. The confinement was further improved in the ASDEX Upgrade in 1998. Today, IPP investigates Advanced Scenarios, which enable long-pulse or even continuous operation. In 2010, the ASDEX UPGRADE achieved well insulated high-power plasmas with an all tungsten wall, which is a highly promising result for ITER. In 1992, IPP was also able to reach high confinement mode in the Wendelstein 7-AS stellarator. The development of Advanced Stellarators could offer a way to continuously operating fusion reactors and has led to the construction of Wendelstein 7-X in Greifswald.