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Of Interest

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Jin-pei Cheng: "The interest in the project has increased"

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In June this year, the Chinese Domestic Agency was officially established and the opening ceremony was performed on 10 October. The Director of the new Domestic Agency to ITER is Jin-Pei Cheng, who was Vice Minister in the Ministry of Science and Technology in China until April this year.

Jin-Pei Cheng studied Organic Chemistry in China and the United States, he holds a PhD from the Northwestern University in Illinois, and he is a Professor at the Department of Chemistry at Nankai University in Tianjin, China. Jin-Pei Cheng is a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. His main research achievements lie in the area of energy-based analysis of complicated chemical and biological problems related to bond-braking and bond-making processes and new rules of substituent effect of thermodynamic stability of free radicals.

In the course of his academic career Jin-Pei Cheng has published 160 papers.

Newsline: Mr. Cheng, could you please introduce the new Domestic Agency to us and explain how it is structured?

Jin-Pei Cheng: The formal name is China International Nuclear Fusion Energy Program Execution Center, but we call it the ITER China Office. With respect to its organizational structure, it is now composed of five different departments, namely: Administration, Research & Development, Project Management, Engineering Technologies, and International Cooperation & Communication. The structures and functions will be modified, improved and developed as the project proceeds.

What is the staffing situation?

Currently, we have nine directly employed staff and more than ten support staff. We are expecting to recruit more direct staff adding up to around 30. And it is likely that there will be an increase of support staff.

Where is the DA located?

The Chinese Domestic Agency is currently sharing an office building with the National Remote Sensing Center of China, but we will soon move into a new office building located on Chang'an Avenue, near to both the Ministry of Science & Technology and the Chinese Academy of Science.

How do you see the role of the Domestic Agency within the ITER Project?

The roles and responsibilities of the ITER Organization and the Domestic Agencies are defined in the ITER Agreement as a result of the ITER negotiations. China will carry out its commitments in accordance with the related documents.

What does ITER mean to you personally, what is your perception of the project?

Aiming at the provision of new and safe energy and the maintenance of sustainable development of the whole of mankind, ITER is the second largest project that involves transnational cooperation and support and contributions from the all seven Parties. As a responsible Party of the ITER Project, China has made its solemn commitment. Even before the official establishment of the Chinese Domestic Agency, we made arduous and persistent efforts to implement and execute the ITER Project. With determination and resolution, we actively participate in the activities as well as in the management of ITER Project.

Talking about these arduous and persistent efforts, the China has started to build facilities—with the help of the ASIPP Institute—long before the official establishment of the Agency (jacketing lines, winding facility, test facility for the feeders, etc...)

With full participation in the ITER Project, China has prepared some R&D resources for ITER procurement packages allocated to China. As you may know, there are two main institutes for magnetic confinement fusion energy research, the Institute of Plasma Physics (IPP), affiliated to the China Academy of Science, and the South-Western Institute of Physics (SWIP), affiliated to China National Nuclear Corporation. Both have built their own facilities for fusion research with the National 973, 863 and National Nature Science Fund, etc, With the scientific and technological development in the past 30 to 50 years in fusion energy research, EAST is the first full superconducting tokamak in the world, the successful commission and operation of which will surely help our ITER commitment in the construction phase.

As required by the Procurement Arrangements for the toroidal field and poloidal field coils and feeders, China will test feeders and other magnet components as scheduled and we will inform you of the milestones in due time. Moreover, SWIP with its HL-2A Tokamak will also contribute to ITER as necessary.

How keen is the Chinese industry to work for/together with ITER?

Chinese industry is eager to participate in the ITER Project, particularly in the implementation of procurement packages. We will collaborate with each other to carry out our commitments as defined in ITER Agreement and related documents.

What about young scientists? Do you see an increase in interest in working in fusion triggered by EAST and ITER?

After the launch of the ITER Project and EAST and HL-2A, we have witnessed an increasing enthusiasm and interest in the field of fusion research. Staff currently engaged in fusion scientific and technological areas have gained more confidence, and the number of people who are willing to become a part of the project has increased to a greater extent. We are hoping that with the continuing expansion of the project and with more public information to popularize ITER, more and more attention will be attracted both from the seven parties and from the rest of the world.

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