Posted on: 2nd May 2017

One crucial theme of the EUROfusion Roadmap is improving divertor designs in preparation for the demonstration fusion reactor. Divertors, often referred to as the ashtrays of a fusion device, are the components that handle the fusion exhaust products. To meet the need for improved divertors, the EUROfusion Roadmap has prioritised research on heat-exhaust systems.

Late 2015, EUROfusion called for proposals on plasma exhaust projects, which an independent panel of experts evaluated. The call, termed Plasma Exhaust (PEX) Assessment, received ten proposals that covered conventional and alternative divertors, as well as conventional materials and plasma facing units as well as advanced materials.

“There is never a dull moment for EUROfusion, and every year has its special feature,” says EUROfusion Programme Manager Tony Donné. “In 2016 it was the PEX assessment that took up a lot of our attention,” he adds.

EUROfusion selected six projects for receiving support. These include: ASDEX Upgrade at the Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics, Garching (Germany), Forschungszentrum Jülich (Germany), Jozef Stefan Institute (Slovenia), MAST-Upgrade, (United Kingdom), TCV at the Swiss Plasma Centre (Switzerland) and WEST at CEA (France).
“This is one of the most important decisions EUROfusion has taken because it sets the basis for experiments in the future,” says Xavier Litaudon, Head EUROfusion’s ITER Physics Department.
Support for three projects is currently on hold namely COMPASS-U (Czech Republic), Divertor Test Tokamak, DTT, (Italy), and OLMAT-TJII (Spain).

Especially the approval for DTT requires further assessment because unlike the other proposals, DTT will be a completely new facility, built from scratch. Moreover, the assessment team will need more information on how DTT will fit into the EUROfusion roadmap and if its cost will be within the budget allocated for the PEX projects. A workshop in summer will partly help to answer these questions.