Eastern European fusion advances

1 April 2008

The only tokamak in Eastern Europe – Compass – has been set up for operations at the Czech Institute for Plasma Physics (IPP) in Prague.

The experimental fusion device is a central element in Europe’s fusion research programme and was transferred from the UKAEA research centre at Culham, in England, through cooperation with the IPP.

The device produces a toroidal magnetic field for confining plasma and is said to be the most researched candidate for producing fusion energy.

The Compass research and development programme will contribute to ITER, the world's biggest fusion energy project hosted by the European Union (EU) at Cadarache, in France.

The cost for the re-installation of the tokamak in Prague is about €7 million, of which the EU contributed €1.75 million.

In total the Czech Republic will benefit from EU investment worth €29.6 billion: €26.7 billion from cohesion policy and €2.9 billion from the agricultural guidance and guarantee fund, and the rural development fund, between 2007 and 2013.

The refurbishment for the first phase of operations included 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 Czechs to expand their activities in fusion energy research and development.

The new experimental programme in the IPP involves extensive collaboration with several of the other European fusion associations.

The Czech Republic has been involved in Euratom fusion research and the European Fusion Development Agreement since 1999.

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