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Fast Track not fast enough

-Jennifer Hay, Culham Centre for Fusion Energy

Professor Jiangang Li with Steve Cowley, Director of the Culham Science Centre. (Click to view larger version...)
Professor Jiangang Li with Steve Cowley, Director of the Culham Science Centre.
Professor Jiangang Li revisited old haunts this week at Culham Science Centre. The Deputy Head of the Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Plasma Physics in Hefei, who had worked at Culham some twenty years ago, was happy to 'come home again' and meet up with former colleagues when he visited JET and CCFE.

During his visit he gave a talk on "the present state and future plans of EAST", the flagship of the Chinese fusion program and had this clear message for his large audience — China needs fusion more urgently than any other country.

Following construction in just 5 ½ years at a cost of USD 20 million, EAST went into operation in 2006 with 20 diagnostics. By the end of this year that number will have doubled, covering all the key profiles. ITER-relevant work includes plasma control, ramp-up and - down optimization and in particular, steady-state issues.

Professor Li described the so-called Fast Track to fusion power as "not fast enough". It was important to achieve a demonstration fusion plant, even with a reduced scope, as early as possible and China currently had some 50 to 60 staff working on future fusion power plants as part of its dynamic fusion program.


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