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.