In September, representatives from Euratom, the European Commission and EUROfusion paid a visit to Ukraine to start negotiations for an associate partnership on fusion research. The delegation visited Kyiv where a fusion fission information day was organised as well as the Kharkov Institute of Physics and Technology (KIPT) and the V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University. Unnoticed, Ukrainian researchers have been contributing towards European fusion research for years.
“The visit from members of EUROfusion and the European Commission along with the prospect of Ukraine joining the Euratom programme will open up many more opportunities”, says Ludmila Krupnik. The fusion scientist, who has been working at KIPT for more than 60 years, was extremely delighted to guide the representatives on a tour of the laboratory in Kharkov. Alejandro Zurita, Head of Sector of International Agreements (European Commission), along with Frederick Mariën, the coordinator for Euratom research and innovation Horizontal Activities and Tony Donné, EUROfusion Programme Manager, travelled to the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine to exchange information about the European fusion and fission programme and to find out about the current research in the country.
Key areas were defined in 2013
Under the umbrella of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, several laboratories, such as KIPT, the Institute for Nuclear Research, the Institute for Applied Physics and the Bogolyubov Institute for Theoretical Physics have been discussing potential associations with Euratom for more than a decade. In 2013, the coordination committee defined key areas with regard to the European fusion roadmap: “We hope to contribute to the plasma regimes of steady state operations. Our objectives also include heat exhaust and the optimisation of stellarators”, explains Anatoly Zagorodny, Vice-president of the National Academy of Sciences.
Serving European fusion research for decades
“EUROfusion has already benefited from Ukrainian investigations – but only on a bilateral level with individual researchers and their teams”, says Tony Donné. These researchers include Ludmila Krupnik who focuses on diagnostics. In 1990, her work on heavy ion beams contributed to the Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT) in Madrid. “The history of this particular method started at the end of the 1960s, just here at KIPT. Our group has finally supplied equipment to several fusion devices in Russia, Spain and Germany with active participation in experimental programmes”, said Ludmila Krupnik.
Highly experienced researchers
Even brand new devices in the EUROfusion programme have taken advantage of Ukrainian fusion research. Yaroslav Kolesnichenko, Head of the Fusion Theory Division at the Kiev Institute for Nuclear Research Prospect, has been involved in fusion for more than 35 years. He and his group currently collaborate on the physics of energetic ions at the stellarator Wendelstein 7-X. “Becoming an associate partner in the EUROfusion programme would strengthen fusion research in our institute and in Ukraine, in general”, stated Yaroslav Kolesnichenko.
Equal partner in European fusion research
EUROfusion’s Tony Donné adds that if the negotiations are successful, then the Ukrainian impact on European fusion research should also increase: “This creates opportunities for young fusion scientists to study abroad and then return to their home labs.” He was informed that today it is the Ukrainian industry that attracts young scientists after they complete their studies.
One of the fusion experts of the future is Olena Turianska. She is a graduate student from the School of Physics and Technology at the V. N. Karazin Kharkiv National University and specialises in plasma physics. She has already taken advantage of the good relationships with Europe and attended this year’s Summer School held at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Garching: “Ukraine provides a great potential in the field of plasma physics. I think that the partnership with EUROfusion will help to fully reveal and realise this potential. This cooperation will be useful for both partners”, says Turianska.
After all, a closer collaboration between Ukrainian and European fusion research is also expected by academy representative Anatoly Zagorodny: “For me this partnership signifies that our European colleagues recognise our high standards. And this will establish the status of Ukraine as an equal partner on the scientific map of Europe”.