• Senior Research Scientist Martin Greenwald (right) discusses the importance of fusion research with Florida Sen. Bill Nelson in front of a port in the Alcator C-Mod tokamak.

    Photo: Paul Rivenberg

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  • Massachusetts State Senator Benjamin Downing (foreground) peers into a port of the Alcator C-Mod tokamak to see the vacuum chamber where fusion reactions take place, guided by Alcator Project Head Earl Marmar.

    Photo: Paul Rivenberg

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Lawmakers tour MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center


MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) hosted two senators earlier this week, both of whose independent visits were directed at learning more about fusion as a source of clean energy.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) toured the PSFC on Monday, May 16. Led by PSFC Senior Research Scientist Martin Greenwald, Nelson viewed the Alcator C-Mod tokamak — a device that uses a magnetic field to confine plasma into a determined shape, allowing for the production of controlled fusion power. A member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Nelson was familiar with the basics of plasma research and open to learning about fusion's potential as a future source of clean energy.

Then, Tuesday, the PSFC welcomed Sen. Benjamin Downing of the Massachusetts Senate, who also visited Alcator C-Mod. As chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, Downing was interested in learning about the steps necessary to progress toward the goal of fusion-powered energy. The tour, led by Greenwald and Alcator Project Head Earl Marmar, allowed a close-up look at the tokamak, which is currently undergoing maintenance.

Both senators were accompanied by members of their staff and MIT alumnus Reinier Beeuwkes ’67, who facilitated the tours.


Topics: Fusion, Plasma Science and Fusion Center, Policy, Special events and guest speakers, Alumni/ae

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