Physicist Jan Mlynár, in front of the Compass reactor at its new homebase in Prague.
It was not an April joke: On 1 April researchers at the Czech Academy of Sciences (CAV) in Prague officially unveiled the Compass Tokamak which formerly belonged to the UKEA. Compass is the only tokamak in the Eastern EU countries. Compass was transported to the Czech Republic last October. Until now, Czech researchers worked with a small tokamak Castor, developed by Russians in the 1970s. UKEA gave Compass, worth some half a billion crowns, to the Czech since it was replaced by Mast. Sir Cris Llewellyn Smith, Chairman of the Consultative Committee for Euratom and Chair of the ITER Council, said he believed Compass will become the centre of nuclear fusion research in Central Europe. Compass, weighing 21 tonnes, was rebuilt by the CAV in cooperation with CKD Group after its transport to Prague.
The refurbishment for the new phase of operations included the installation of new power supplies, new diagnostics and a new control and data acquisition system. With the first plasma scheduled for the end of this year, the tokamak becomes operational and will enable the Czech Association to expand its activities in fusion energy R&D. The new experimental program in IPP involves extensive collaboration with several of the other European Fusion Associations. COMPASS will be used to conduct a program of plasma physics studies of direct relevance to ITER.
The recently-created associations in the new EU Member States have a strong scientific background which has enriched and strengthened the fusion research community and — under the EURATOM banner —will make an important contribution to the ITER project as well as to further develop the know-how needed to build future power plants. return to Newsline #28