Kazakhstan Tokamak approaches new phase

WNN 25 July 2017

The Kazakhstan Tokamak for Material testing, or KTM, will undergo “real-mode” testing from November, according to the draft of an updated research program approved last week by the Commission of CIS Member States on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy. Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom announced the approval yesterday.

Kazakhstan’s KTM tokamak (Image: NNC)

The world’s biggest tokamak is Iter – a magnetic fusion device that 35 nations are collaborating to build in order to prove the feasibility of the fusion of hydrogen nuclei as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy. Iter is expected to produce first plasma in 2025.

The Iter organisation describes the KTM as a rather small, spherical machine with a vacuum vessel volume of 12.3 cubic metres. That compares with Iter’s 840 cu m.

Magnetic fields are provided by a central solenoid and an array of 20 toroidal field coils and 18 poloidal field coils. Poloidal and toroidal field coils are copper; the central solenoid is wound with copper and silver alloy conductors. The divertor consists of mounted plates on a rotary table. Plates can be replaced without venting the vacuum vessel by way of the rotating and vertical movements of the table.

Iter says this capability, along with other assembly-disassembly systems, is essential for a machine which is intended to test plasma-facing materials under powerful particle and heat flux. It enables operators to install components and take them out in a relatively short time, it says.

KTM experienced its trial start-up – in the city of Kurchatov, in eastern Kazakhstan – on 5 September 2010. It underwent pilot testing last month, Rosatom said.

The Commission agreed the updated schedule for KTM during a meeting held on 20 June during Expo 2017 in Astana, and chaired by Rosatom deputy director-general Nikolay Spassky. The event was attended by members of the Commission from Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Russian.