EUROfusion integrates the French fusion facility, WEST, into its ITER Physics Programme. The decision follows the recommendations made by the international panel in charge of the evaluation of WEST as a EUROfusion facility.

WEST stands for Tungsten (W) Environment in Steady-state Tokamak. The device is currently being built by CEA via an upgrade of the Tore Supra tokamak. EUROfusion will use WEST as a facility to test so-called plasma facing components (PFCs), which line the inside of a fusion reactor wall. Understanding the interaction between the plasma and the reactor wall surface is not only important for the design of the wall components, but also for defining suitable plasma operating scenarios. EUROfusion laboratories operate high heat flux machines to investigate the plasma facing components for ITER and DEMO. With its unique ability to test actively cooled PFCs in a tokamak plasma environment of long duration, WEST complements these existing facilities bringing together ITER divertor high heat flux technology and tokamak operation.

WEST is planned to start operating in the first half of 2016. Up until 2017, WEST will operate with at least one actively cooled ITER-like tungsten divertor sector. Then it will shut down to implement a full actively cooled divertor and restart in 2018. The 2016/2017 EUROfusion campaign at WEST will focus on testing the power handling capabilities of the ITER divertor. This includes, for instance, investigating sputtering and power handling of damaged PFCs. Another task is the qualification of diagnostic systems used to investigate plasma surface interactions.