Prestigious fellowship to solve burning issues in fusion energy.

Thursday 18 May 2017 10am

An Australian physicist has been enlisted into an international network of scientists working to build a sustainable future with fusion energy.

Associate Professor Matthew Hole of RSPE has been made a Science Fellow at ITER, the world’s largest fusion experiment, which is under construction in the South of France.

It is the only such appointment to a scientist outside the ITER member nations, EU, Japan, United States, Russia, South Korea, China and India.

“It’s great recognition for Australian expertise,” said Associate Professor Hole.

“It’s a promising pathway for Australia to engage and participate in research into a long-term solution to anthropogenic climate change.”

Fusion is the holy grail of energy production, and if realised on Earth, could supply base load power with no intrinsic greenhouse gas emissions, manageable and low-level radioactive waste. The technology is intrinsically safe, has no weapon potential, and the fuel source is ubiquitous.

Since 2005 Associate Professor Hole has been working with the Australian ITER Forum, the ANU and ANSTO to enable Australian scientists to contribute to ITER without the billion-dollar contribution required for full ITER membership. Their hard work culminated in Australia signing a cooperation agreement with ITER in September 2016 through ANSTO – the first agreement with a non-member nation.

The Director of RSPE, Professor Tim Senden said the accolade consolidated the reputation of ANU as Australia's leader in fusion science.

“Our research is a significant part of a global network,” he said.

Associate Professor Hole is one of only 17 ITER Science Fellows from across the globe, who will work on key research issues for ITER, collaborating not only with international scientists, but drawing in the Australian science community to tackle these challenges.

ITER will be ten times larger than any previous fusion experiment and will for the first time create a self-sustaining – burning – reaction, which is Associate Professor Hole’s area of research and modelling.

“When the plasma becomes self-heating it enters a very non-linear regime. It’s a fascinating area of physics,” he said.

ITER Director-General Bernard Bigot said he looked forward to a productive collaboration with the ANU.

“I would like to express my thanks for your support for this initiative and for the ITER project’s research and development activities”.


Assoc. Prof. Matthew Hole
T: (02)61257606

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