China to Start Large Scale R&D on Fusion Demo Test Facilities
count: [2018-12-14]

Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Site Construction of the Comprehensive Research Facilities in Support of CFETR (China Fusion Engineering Test Reactor) was held in Hefei on Dec.14, 2018. About 500 participants, including leaders and officials from different government levels and international collaborators were witnessing this milestone event.  

As one of the mega-science projects in China’s 13th five-year science and technology development plan, the Comprehensive Research Facilities in Support of CFETR (the Facilities) is officially approved by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and is jointly funded by the central, Anhui provincial and Hefei city governments, including a 0.4 km2 plot of land and the infrastructure on it. The project will be completed within five years, according to the project plan.  

The Facilities are the first project in the Hefei National Comprehensive Science Center, which earmarks more than four square kilometers for other large future S&T facilities.  

The Facilities encompasses two synergistic research systems, the reactor-scalable superconducting magnet technology research system and the key tokamak systems, including heating systems, remote handling system and divertor research system. The goal of this project is to build reactor scale comprehensive research facilities, providing reactor relevant conditions for the research of key components of fusion reactors. 

The reactor-scalable superconducting magnet technology research system comprises testing facilities for superconducting material, conductor, and large scale magnets for CFETR. This system will provide a very good testing facility for reactor relevant magnets and technology which could also be widely used on non-fusion applications. The tokamak and divertor research system will provide reactor relevant heating systems, remote handling and diagnostics  for a divertor capable of a maximum plasma particle flux of 1024/m2s and 20MW/m2 heat load.  

When completed, the Facilities will be a comprehensive research platform with reactor relevant parameters and multiple functions supporting the world’s magnetic fusion research. These facilities will support the activities for CFETR R&D together with CFETR engineering design and pre-experiments on the EAST tokamak. They can also provide strong support for cutting-edge cross-disciplinary fields such as energy, information, health, environment, and so on. 

Beginning construction of the Facilities is an important milestone, a critical step on the road to CFETR, a machine bridging the gap between ITER and a fusion power plant. 

The project is led by the Institute of Plasma Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ASIPP), and joined by about 10 Chinese fusion institutes and universities. 

When talking about the essential significance of the project, the project general manager, Academician LI Jiangang said that this facility will lay a solid foundation and make the important preparation for CFETR construction in the future. There will be tremendous technical difficulties in the CFETR construction and operation, explained Li, therefore it is critical to build the test platform and large scale R&D for CFETR’s magnets, heating systems, divertor, and other important materials before CFETR construction.  

To realize unlimited and clean fusion energy for mankind, a large collaborative project, The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) is presently under construction, and design concepts and technology R&D for fusion DEMO, the next step after ITER, are being pursued in many countries. 

Chinese scientists began CFETR integrated engineering design in December 2017 after they finished its conceptual design in August 2015. Since its very beginning, CFETR project has obtained support from the worldwide fusion community. 

ASIPP has always attached great importance to international cooperation. Its world’s first non-circular fully superconducting tokamak, EAST, which achieved a stable 101.2 second steady-state high confinement plasma in 2017, is fully open to all members of the world’s fusion community.  

The Comprehensive Research Facilities in Support of CFETR will likewise become a user platform open to the world’s fusion community.  With the participation and contribution of international partners, after its construction, this platform will also benefit the development of fusion technologies, Demo projects, and, eventually, fusion power plants of other countries of the world. 

Last November, the Beijing Declaration was signed by over 40 world fusion leaders who expressed their support for CFETR and their willingness to participate in CFETR design and construction.  

As a concrete follow-up action, and to better facilitate cooperation and exchanges on fusion research, the International Fusion Energy Cooperation Center (IFEC) was established based on the spirit of “open to share, develop to win”. IFEC will be inaugurated at the same time as the ground-breaking ceremony.