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China Hosts International Fusion Symposium, and Accelerates Its Fusion Education Program

Printable version / Version imprimable


EIRNS—For the first time in its 52-year history, the international Symposium on Fusion Engineering was held outside the United States, in Shanghai. The June 12 ITER Newsline reports that the conference has close to 500 participants, 17 exhibitors, and 500 technical papers submitted from the top fusion researchers from around the world. Explaining the choice for the change of venue, Hutch Neilson, from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, who is the chair of the conference, said that the "general excitement and the dynamism of the fusion community in Shanghai were an asset for the organization of the conference." He could have added, that it could hardly be expected that the meeting would be held in the U.S., where the fusion program is fast disappearing.

Chinese presentations to the conference included a new design for their next-step advanced fusion engineering test reactor, and a report on the technical progress on their superconducting EAST fusion reactor.

"Well aware of the energy challenges the country is facing," reports ITER Newsline,

"the Chinese government has decided to accelerate the effort toward fusion electricity by developing an educational program dedicated to fusion science. ASIPP (Academy of Sciences Institute of Plasma Physics) and the University of Science and Technology of China have developed a nuclear school, aiming at training future engineers."

Yungtao Song from ASIPP explained: "We have very talented students who will be trained to operate the industrial tokamaks in the coming years."

China’s fusion program was also featured at the 2017 World’s Fair, which opened June 10 in Astana, Kazakhstan, in an exhibit on ITER, housed in the French pavilion. The project is explained through a series of multimedia models, displays, and virtual reality. Attending the inaugural ceremony were the heads of the European, Russian, Korean, and Chinese domestic fusion agencies, which are in charge of their nations’ work on ITER.

Opening the ITER exhibit, Director-General Bernard Bigot said that

"the EXPO theme is ’Future Energy.’ I cannot imagine any science and engineering project with a greater potential impact on the future than harnessing the power of the Sun and the stars: nuclear fusion..."

He also urged fair attendees to

"visit the Chinese exhibit, where they also showcase ITER and fusion, and have created a 4D cinema and an ITER model that is both educational and visually spectacular."