China and France Inaugurate Joint Fusion Research Centre
14 January 2018
EIRNS—On the heels of President Macron’s visit to China last week, the Sino-French joint fusion research center was inaugurated on Jan. 11 in Hefei, which is the site of the Institute of Plasma Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the home of the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST). The French side is led by the Ministry of Science and Technology and the French Atomic Energy Commission. Science and Technology Daily, published by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, reports that the framework agreement to establish a joint research center was signed last November. Its main purpose is to carry out research in support of the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) international fusion project, under construction in France.
The center will start its joint research on Europe’s Tungsten Environment in Steady State Tokamak (WEST) machine as its first project. Chinese and French scientists will work on technical challenges that ITER will face in operation, including developing and verifying key components. After joint laboratories have been set up by both parties, they will conduct research on both countries’ fusion machines.
The umbrella agreement includes joint bidding on contracts for fusion projects, fusion science and experimental physics research, safety and technical standards on "projects of mutual interest," and joint work on the next generaion of fusion reactors.
China and France, the newsletter reports, have a long history of cooperation in fusion, going back to the 1980s. It started with cooperation between France’s Tore Supra tokamak and China’s HT-7 device, which has "gradually transformed" into the currently operating machines.
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