Remote participation to fusion experiments will be used in the next years by scientists all over the world. On November 28th, for the first time, the Remote Experimentation Center (REC) in Rokkasho (Japan) took control of the WEST IRFM tokamak in Cadarache, located 9486 km away.
Major research instruments are today exploited by international collaborations. If the on-site presence of participants is now the rule for JET or WEST tokamaks, the situation could change for JT-60SA (Japan) and ITER, thanks to remote experimentation.
A structure dedicated to this function and funded by Europe, REC, was built in Japan, in Rokkasho. Japanese scientists will have the opportunity to participate in Iter's experiments from their island. Previously, tests are needed to validate the technical choices and the remote working methods that will be implemented.
The first test took place on November 28th as part of a planned experiment in WEST's 2018 campaign. It consisted in exposing tungsten components to strong heat fluxes from the plasma. Some of them were provided by Japan and are studied during this campaign of experiments. Two IRFM members were present at Rokkasho to help their Japanese colleagues familiarizing themselves with the visualization of West's data, setting up plasma discharges and, more generally, organizing experiments.
Among the attendees in Rokkasho: local political figures, representatives of Fusion for Energy, who funded the tests, journalists and school children.
In Cadarache, a representative of EUROfusion and a Japanese delegation from National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Sciences and Technology (QST) also attended the experiments.
At the end of these tests, Japanese partners will be able to participate remotely in WEST experiments.
Report on Japanese TV : https://www3.nhk.or.jp/lnews/aomori/20181129/6080003159.html
Article in Iter Newsline : https://www.iter.org/newsline/-/3167