tour of tokamaks: GOLEM aka CASTOR

This is a new post of our tour of tokamaks. Today a Czech one.  It is located at the Faculty of Nuclear Sciences and Physical Engineering of the Czech Technical University in Prague and is called GOLEM. It is dedicated to educational purposes; you can imagine the chance of the Czech students to have their own tokamak! It is by the way a strange fact: the nations with the biggest tokamaks do not have such small-scale machine dedicated to training and education. For instance, in France where ITER will be built and where TORE-SUPRA is still in activity, we can notice the tokamak ToriX of LPP, but it is dedicated to research and available only for some few PhD students and post docs. As a result, in the future it can be expected that the major engineering jobs will be occupied by people from countries without big tokamaks (Czech Republic, Portugal, …)

To go back to Golem, this tokamak has already a long history behind it. It was built in the early sixties in Moscow under codename TM-1 (tokamak malyj,  a small tokamak). In 1975 it was offered to the Institute of Plasma Physics in Prague where it underwent a major refurbishment and renamed CASTOR (Czech Academy of Sciences TORus); it was operational until 2006 and was replaced by COMPASS, a middle-sized tokamak, transferred from Culham, UK.

The tokamak Golem

GOLEM - Credits Czech Technical University

It has a major radius of 40cm and works with a magnetic field of 1.5T. The maximal plasma current is 25kA. It has a feedback for plasma position control and auxiliary power heating by Lower-Hybrid waves.

To finish, I’d like to emphasize the quote chosen to illustrate the name GOLEM, a very beautiful and inspiring one:

… somewhere, in the ancient cellars of Prague, there is hidden indeed „infernal“ power. Yet it is the very power of celestial stars themselves. Calmly dormant, awaiting mankind to discover the magic key, to use this power for their benefit…


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