A nuclear fusion device will be built in the China by the end of
the year, which will help scientists try to come to grips with the
new source of power before the rest of the world.
The device will allow Chinese scientists involved in an
international project to build a giant experimental fusion reactor
in France to begin work before the latter is ready, Minister of
Science and Technology Xu Guanhua said recently.
The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak, or EAST, will
be the first of its kind in the world and is quite similar to but
much smaller than the International Thermonuclear Experimental
Reactor (ITER), which is not expected to be fully operational for a
EAST is based in Hefei, capital of East China's Anhui
"Over the next 10 years, while ITER is being built, we can
conduct preliminary research on EAST to facilitate the operation
and exploitation of ITER in the future," Xu told China Daily in an
EAST will be one of the two major Tokamak devices in China the
other traditional one is based in Sichuan Province.
Both facilities will contribute to ITER, the largest
multinational scientific co-operation project China has ever taken
part in, said the minister.
Last month, the government reached an agreement with the
European Union, the United States, Russia, Japan, India and South
Korea, to build the multi-billion-dollar reactor to address the
world's energy crisis and global warming.
The reactor will emulate the fusion power of the Sun, harnessing
the tremendous amounts of energy that are released when atoms
Inside the reactor, deuterium and tritium atoms will be forced
together at a temperature of 100 million C, fuse and emit blasts of
It will have fusion power of about 500 megawatts.
Chinese experts are involved in 12 of ITER's programmes
including manufacturing superconductors, creating insulation to
contain super-heated plasma, and providing high-powered pulse
"Our scientific and industrial prowess in these fields will
improve by participating in these programmes, especially as they
are totally new to the world," said Xu.
"We will also take advantage of the project to foster a number
of experts in nuclear fusion for more self-reliant
As an equal member with the other six parties, several managers
and researchers will be deputed to ITER; and the country will have
access to all intellectual property rights of generated
Fusion power holds the key to solving projected energy
shortages, with just 1 kilogram of fusion fuel capable of creating
as much power as 10 million kilograms of fossil fuel.
(China Daily June 2, 2006)