''The stellarator line ultimately needs the experience of ITER to operate a plasma in a nuclear environment,'' says Thomas Klinger, the scientific director of the Wendelstein 7-X project.
Finally, Wendelstein 7-X will have way more plasma heating power available, especially with the full availability of neutral beams and radiofrequency heating for fast-particle studies. More heating power will give access to a much broader operation space, in particular to higher temperatures at high plasma density. For the next operation phases, Wendelstein 7-X will have more and improved plasma diagnostic systems and completely revised control and data acquisition systems. This is now an excellent starting point for a comprehensive research program over the coming years. We are establishing task forces, and the call for experiment proposals will be sent out in spring next year.
Stellarators rely on a complex and baroque arrangement of twisted coils to confine the plasma inside the machine's vacuum chamber. Thanks to spectacular progress in computer-aided design, automation and engineering techniques—they are now given a second chance.