WEST Phase II is well in progress despite the Covid-19 pandemic    

The first batch of divertor components has been delivered to Cadarache despite the COVID-19 pandemic.


The WEST tokamak - operated at Cadarache by CEA and its worldwide partners (China, Europe, India, Japan, Korea and USA) - is now getting ready to enter into the operation Phase II, extending the plasma duration up to 1000s. It consists in upgrading the initial divertor of WEST phase I to a full actively cooled ITER grade tungsten divertor. The divertor is one of the essential elements of fusion machines ensuring the extraction of heat flux and impurity particles. WEST actively cooled divertor is composed of 456 ITER-like Plasma Facing Units (PFU), able to sustain high heat flux up to 20 MW/m2 for long duration.

Within the SIFFER framework, a "Tungsten (W) Divertor Project" was launched, which aims at accompanying the industry in manufacturing and qualifying WEST PFU, as well as at installing the divertor and participating in the scientific and technical exploitation in WEST. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the SIFFER team has overcome technical difficulties to ensure the components series production as well as to meet ITER-level quality standard.

The first 85 PFUs arrived at CEA respectively in the end of January and April 2020. Guangnan Luo, co-leader of the "SIFFER Tungsten Divertor Project" said:  "These 85 elements are the first batch of the 456 components and the rest is planned to arrive by the end of July".

Best effort will be made to install the new divertor as quickly as possible. The exploitation of long pulses in phase II of WEST is an important task foreseen in the SIFFER framework to solve physics and technological issues for next step fusion devices, including the plasma-material interactions, the ageing of the PFU under ITER conditions, i.e., high incident fluence of particles as well as high thermal loads in steady or transient conditions.

SG165549, 2020-04-29