UKAEA engineer working on the Compass-D tokamak.

On 20 July 2006, the Euratom Consultative Committee on Fusion (CCE-FU) unanimously endorsed the awarding of Priority Status Phase II to the “COMPASS to Prague” project. This gives a strong message of encouragement for Czech fusion scientists, who already obtained the necessary national support for the transfer and installation of the tokamak COMPASS-D (currently at UKAEA Culham Science Centre) to the Institute of Plasma Physics AS CR, Prague by decision of the Czech government on 2nd  November 2005.

“Among others, this facility will increase motivation of new students and will improve R&D environment for Czech companies that operate in the sector,” said the then Deputy Prime Minister Martin Jahn.

A building extension, new power supply systems, a neutral beam heating system, control and data acquisition system and a large part of the plasma diagnostics will have to be purchased in the framework of the project, with first plasma expected in 2009. Based on the current expertise of the Association EURATOMIPP. CR — mainly acquired during the operation of the tokamak CASTOR — the proposed scientific programme for Compass-D expands the original UKAEA research into current ITER-related topics, thus directly exploiting the ITER-like plasma configuration and the H-mode capability of the facility. The programme will consist of edge plasma physics (H-mode studies and plasma- wall interaction, including material studies) and wave-plasma interaction studies (parasitic lower hybrid wave absorption and lower hybrid wave coupling in detached plasmas).

The project enjoys a practical support of the UKAEA Fusion staff, while several other Associations have already indicated their strong interest in future co-operation. Fusion scientists and engineers in the Association EURATOM-IPP.CR expect that the new facility will substantially enhance their capability for participating in the overall European fusion research activities. In order to attract “fresh blood” to fusion research the Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering of Technical University in Prague (member of the Czech Association) launched a new MSc course on “Physics and technology of fusion”.