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COMPASS tokamak

Tokamak COMPASS[1][2] (COMPact ASSembly)[1] is the main experimental facility of Tokamak department of Institute of Plasma Physics[2] AS CR since 2006. It was designed in the 1980s in the British Culham Science Centre as a flexible research facility dedicated mostly to plasma physics studies in circular and D shaped plasmas.

The first plasma in COMPASS "broke down" in 1989 in a C-shaped vacuum vessel, i.e., in a simpler vessel with a circular cross-section. Pioneering experiments followed, including for example the ITER-relevant tests of magnetic field correction with saddle coils for RMPs experiment (Resonant magnetic perturbations) or experiments with non-inductive current drive in plasma.

The operation of tokamak restarted with a D-shaped vacuum vessel in 1992. The operation mode with high plasma confinement (H-mode) was achieved, which represents a reference operation ("standard scenario") for the ITER tokamak. The COMPASS tokamak with its size (major radius 0.6 m and height of the vessel approx. 0.7 m) ranks to smaller tokamaks capable of the H-mode operation. Importantly, due to its size and shape the COMPASS plasmas correspond to one tenth (in the linear scale) of the ITER plasmas. At present, besides COMPASS there are only two operational tokamaks in Europe with ITER-like configuration capable of regime with the high plasma confinement. It is the Joint European Torus (JET) and the German tokamak ASDEX Upgrade (Institut für Plasmaphysik, Garching, Germany). JET is the biggest experimental device of this type in the world.

In 2002, British scientists started alternative research on larger, spherical tokamak MAST. Operation of COMPASS was discontinued due to insufficient resources for operation of both tokamaks, however, the research program foreseen for the latter tokamak was not concluded. Due to its important and not completely realised opportunities - and, in particular, due to its direct relevance to the ITER project - the facility was offered for free by the European Commission and UKAEA to the Institute of Plasma Physics AS CR in Prague in autumn 2004. Our Institute has been coordinating research in thermonuclear fusion in the Czech Republic in the framework of EURATOM since 1999. Team of physicists from our institute has a long-time experience in this field of research including operation of a small tokamak CASTOR. The European Commission has also declared that our institute is fully competent to operate the tokamak COMPASS.

Parameters of the tokamak COMPASS

File:COMPASStokamak chamber.jpg
Internal view of the COMPASS vacuum vessel
Parameters Values
Major radius R 0.56 m
Minor radius a 0.23 m
Plasma current Ip (max) 360 kA
Magnetic field BT 1.3 T - 2.1 T
Vacuum pressure 1x10−8 Pa
Elongation 1.8
Plasma shape D, SND, elliptical, circular
Pulse length(max) ~ 0.5 s
Beam heating PNBI 40 keV 2 x 0.3 MW


  1. Pánek, R.; O. Bilyková,V. Fuchs,M. Hron,P. Chráska,P. Pavlo,J. Stöckel,J. Urban,V. Weinzettl,J. Zajac,F. Žáček (2006). "Reinstallation of the COMPASS-D tokamak in IPP ASCR". Czechoslovak Journal of Physics 56 (2): 125–137. ISSN 1572-9486. doi:10.1007/s10582-006-0188-1. 
  2. Weinzettl, V.; R.Panek, M.Hron, J.Stockel, F.Zacek, J.Havlicek, P.Bilkova, D.I.Naydenkova, P.Hacek, J.Zajac, R.Dejarnac, J.Horacek, J.Adamek, J.Mlynar, F.Janky, M.Aftanas, P.Bohm, J.Brotankova, D.Sestak, I.Duran, R.Melich, D.Jares, J.Ghosh, G.Anda, G.Veres, A.Szappanos, S.Zoletnik, M.Berta, V.F.Shevchenko, R.Scannell, M.Walsh, H.W.Müller, V.Igochine, A.Silva, M.Manso, R.Gomes, Tsv.Popov, D.Sarychev, V.K.Kiselov, S.Nanobashvili (2011). "Overview of the COMPASS diagnostics". Fusion Engineering and Design 86 (6-8): 1224–1231. doi:10.1016/j.fusengdes.2010.12.024. 

External links

Magnetic fusion in the Czech Republic [3]

See also

Diagnostic system on COMPASS [4], Langmuir probe, Ball-pen probe, Thomson scattering, Resonant magnetic perturbations