How will the actively cooled tungsten components of the ITER divertor behave after hours of plasma discharge? Can performant plasmas be produced if plasma facing components are damaged ? How can the monitoring system be optimized for these components? These are some of the questions that will be given priority by the teams of the WEST Project for securing and facilitating the use of ITER’s future divertor.
In addition to the questions linked to the divertor components, WEST will enable its teams to explore the issues involved in plasma physics over long periods of time in a tungsten environment thanks to its unique capacities concerning its pulse durations.
The main mission of WEST is therefore twofold:
- Paving the way towards the ITER actively cooled tungsten divertor procurement and operation,
- Mastering integrated plasma scenario over relevant plasma wall equilibrium time scale in a metallic environment.
The main driver of the WEST planning is to provide timely answers for ITER. WEST operation is planned to be phased, to make the best use of the WEST ITER like divertor elements as they become available. In phase 1, it is planned to operate with a mix of actively cooled ITER like tungsten divertor elements and inertial tungsten coated divertor start up elements. In this phase, full power will be available, but plasma operation will be limited in time by the inertial divertor elements (typically ~10 s at high power). In phase 2, the full actively cooled ITER like tungsten divertor will be available, allowing long pulse operation, up to 1000s. The contributions of WEST are foreseen in 3 steps:
WEST divertor production : optimization of the industrial large scale production
WEST operation phase 1 : power handling capabilities of the ITER like divertor
WEST operation phase 2 : high fluence plasma divertor exposure / demonstration of integrated long pulse H mode / investigation of advanced regimes
The WEST project and its research plan are open to the international fusion community. The WEST platform will be run as a user facility, open to all ITER partners.
The WEST Research Plan is meant to ensure an efficient operation and a timely implementation of the experimental programme over the period foreseen for WEST exploitation. This is a living document, which will evolve with the project and will be discussed with the WEST partners on a regular basis, through scientific workshop as well as through presentation at the WEST Governing Board. The next update is proposed at the end of the first phase of WEST exploitation.
The Research Plan is structured around 2 topical headlines:
WEST Research Plan, version 1.0 February 2015, approved by the 2nd WEST governing Board
For updated information, see the WEST users' Website
Last update : 06/01 2016 (37)