With so much emphasis on the final construction of MAST Upgrade, it is easy to overlook the extensive planning of the first physics experiments on Culham’s new fusion device towards the end of 2017.
The EUROfusion consortium of European fusion laboratories is already preparing proposals for the first MAST-U experiments and these plans were discussed and finalised at a EUROfusion planning meeting in mid-November. The internal physics campaign will be discussed in detail next April at the first MAST Research Forum, where MAST-U scientists and university collaborators will be pitching for experimental time. To emphasise the breadth of these collaborations, a record number of PhD students are just starting at Culham – 24 in total. Sixteen of these will be working directly on MAST-U, linking CCFE with eleven different universities; nine in the UK plus Uppsala University in Sweden and the University of Sevilla in Spain. In addition, American students funded by the US Department of Energy will be working on MAST-U, specifically with the X point bolometry system.
Andrew Kirk (Head of Tokamak Science and MAST Upgrade Operations) said: “It is very encouraging to see the amount of interest that the EUROfusion call has generated in the MAST-U programme. We look forward to welcoming both new and existing collaborators to what surely will be an exciting few years exploring the capabilities of the new machine.”