May 23, 2017
A team of technicians from the Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) has been honored with a 2017 Infinite Mile Award. Recognized at a May 16th luncheon for their contributions to the success of the PSFC’s fusion research project, Alcator C-Mod, the team comprises 12 RDTEU technicians: Susan Agabian, David Arsenault, David Bellofatto, Charles Cauley, James Chicarello, Timothy Davis, Mark Iverson, Richard Lations, George MacKay, Ronald Rosati, Maria Silveira and David Tracey.
Sue Agabian (left) and Ron Rosati (right) at work in the West Cell.
A testimonial read at the luncheon made clear how this group had gone the extra mile since March of 2012, when it was announced that the Alcator C-Mod project would be shut down.
“Since that time the technical staff has been reduced from 20 to 12 – meaning many on the team have had to assume more responsibility and learn new tasks. As researchers raced to complete as much work as possible before completely shutting down, the technicians rose to the challenges. In some ways, the final year of research, which concluded on September 30, 2016, was the Experiment’s most productive.
“That the facility performed nearly flawlessly throughout that final year is an incredibly strong testament to the skill and devotion of the technical team, who were responsible for operation and maintenance of all of the complex tokamak facility systems, including power supplies, energy storage facilities, magnets, vacuum systems, liquid nitrogen and liquid helium cryogenics, safety systems, gas handling and boronization facilities, electrical utilities, cooling systems, and the complex measurement tools used to control and understand the dynamic fusion plasma which can reach temperatures of 100 million degrees kelvin.
“This team stepped up their game enormously, never straining under the increased pressures, exhibiting a universally positive attitude during great uncertainty. C-Mod set many world-wide tokamak performance records, and broke new ground in nearly all the important topical areas that are on the path to developing fusion as a practical energy source. None of this could have been achieved without the remarkable dedication, loyalty, ingenuity, and perseverance of this superb team of technicians.”
Dave Tracey (left) and Maria Silveira (right)
The Infinite Mile Award recognized those individuals, or teams, who have made extraordinary contributions within their own organizations to help ensure that the Institute carries out its mission, i.e, to advance knowledge and educate students in science, technology and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century.