Kazakhstan’s National Nuclear Centre (NNC) has launched the first stage of the physical start-up of the Tokamak KTM fusion reactor. The project is being developed in close cooperation with Russia in support of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) organisation, which is coordinating the project to build a demonstration fusion reactor at Cadarache, France.

NNC Director General Erlan Batyrbekov noted that one of the main issues in the construction of future fusion reactors  is a question of creating and testing construction materials. The Tokamak KTM is intended to help to solve this problem and will test materials under thermal load on them of up to 20MW per square metre.

Construction, installation and commissioning work will be completed by the end of the year.

NNC on 11 June signed  a cooperation agreement with Iter, whose seven are the EU, China, India, Japan, Russia, the USA and South Korea. Kazakhstan is the second non-Iter country to sign a technical cooperation agreement to work on the project. Australia signed a similar agreement in October 2016.