EIF Upgrade Annual Report 2011-2012
The Australian Plasma Fusion Research Facility (the Facility) is being upgraded under the Super Science Initiative Scheme, announced in the 2009-10 Federal Budget.
All upgrade project milestones in the Annual Business Plan for this year were met. Some were brought forward, some delayed, and the upgrade is on schedule overall. These include:
• The Materials Diagnostic Facility has been relocated to an upgraded laboratory adjacent to the H-1 power systems, to allow dual use of Facility RF and magnet power, and to provide adequate space for future instruments and diagnostics.
• ‘MAGPIE’, the prototype materials device in the Facility, is already well used, and has achieved high plasma densities in argon and hydrogen. First experiments have been very successful, including studies of plasma and wave profiles, material interactions, and Doppler coherence imaging of temperature and plasma flow.
• The upgrade to the H-1 radiofrequency plasma heating system, and the new cooled antenna have been commissioned and successfully operated in H-1 over a wide range of power, element phasing and frequency. In early tests, almost half the maximum power has been coupled into H-1.
• Completion of the database of magnetic configurations to include finite pressure effects, and a demonstration of remote operation from Sydney (ANSTO).
• A third magnetic field control parameter has been implemented and integrated into the control system increasing the range of configurations available to H-1.
• A new multichannel plasma density interferometer, initially seven channels, and ultimately 18 channels, has replaced the previous 3 channel and the swept interferometers, providing continuous data streams across the plasma profile.
An issue of significant concern is the anticipated funding hiatus extending at least until 2015. Efforts are underway to obtain bridging operational funding minimise loss of expertise and Facility access.