Guests from all over the world celebrated the 30th anniversary of Forschungszentrum Jülich’s TEXTOR tokamak on March 28. The experiment, which was shut down in December 2013, contributed significantly to the advancement of fusion research.

„TEXTOR left plenty of marks, for instance in ITER and Wendelstein 7-X,“ says Ulrich Samm, Director of the plasma physics group at FZ Jülich’s Institute of Energy and Climate Research. The main objective of the experiment was to investigate first-wall materials for fusion reactors. This innermost layer of the vessel wall experiences extreme stress due to the high heat and particle fluxes emitted by the plasma. TEXTOR could resemble these loads in intensities that are close to the conditions in ITER and in future fusion power plants. “Science at TEXTOR was deeply concerned with wall materials” explains Samm, “our results have been incorporated into the ITER-Like Wall at JET, for instance.” TEXTOR contributed significantly to ITER’s decision to start operation with a tungsten divertor – a measure which helps reduce investment cost substantially. TEXTOR was the first experiment to use boron for the conditioning of the vessel wall – a technique that has long become a standard. The experiment was also the first to reduce the heat at the plasma edge by injecting noble gases. This method, too, is widely used in today’s fusion experiments. With its Dynamic Ergodic Divertor – a technology to produce a dedicated dynamic distortion of the magnetic field – TEXTOR helped to better understand the physics of these distortions and their use to mitigate plasma edge instabilities (ELMs).

Science at TEXTOR was deeply concerned with wall materials. Our results have been incorporated into the ITER-Like Wall at JET, for instance.

Ulrich Samm

The anniversary was marked with talks given by researchers that have gone along with TEXTOR from its very beginning: Prof. Samm and his colleagues at the Trilateral Eurogio Cluster (TEC) – Prof. Roger Weynants from the Belgian Royal Military Academy and Prof. Tony Donné from DIFFER – as well as Prof. Jörg Winter from Ruhr Universität Bochum, Germany. Prof. Fritz Wagner from IPP provided a more general look at fusion energy in light of the growing development of renewable energy sources. In his talk he concluded that fusion research continues to be important to secure our future energy supplies.