China Expands Nuclear Fusion Research Efforts

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"tokamak" Confinement device.

China has expanded its efforts to position itself as a world leader in sustainable energy innovation.

According to the state-run “China Daily”, China has passed a new plan to train 2000 more experts to conduct research into magnetic confinement fusion power.   Magnetic confinement fusion power is an approach to nuclear fusion that uses large magnetic fields to confine the hot fusion reaction in a form of a plasma.  MCF has now become one of the most promising methods of controlling a nuclear fusion reaction,  beating out the less developed but still potentially viable, “inertial confinement” method. MCF technology, though still highly experimental, has existed since the 1950s when it was discovered by Soviet physicists Igor Tamm and Andrei Sakharov.

The Chinese scientists being trained will be joining the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor experiment in France.   The construction of the ITER complex began in 2007 in Cadarache, France. The project is an international collaborative effort, with financing and execution being supported by China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia, US, and the EU. Canada was initially a full member but dropped out in 2003 due to federal budget cuts.

The technology being developed has been likened to the creation of a containment device for an “artificial Sun”, which, like all stars, powers itself through nuclear Fusion.  Unlike conventional Nuclear Fission, which generates energy through the splitting of atoms, Nuclear fusion does so through the fusion of two or more atomic nuclei to form a single heavier nucleus.

The Fusion reactor at the ITER complex has been designed to produce 500MW of output power for 50MW of input power.  If successful, the reactor will be the first demonstration of nuclear fusion producing more power than it consumes, creating the potential for the commercialization of Nuclear Fusion power.

The project is dated to be complete by 2038.

ITER Project Timeline:

Screen shot 2011 06 07 at 3.20.21 PM1 China Expands Nuclear Fusion Research Efforts

From Wikipedia

 China Expands Nuclear Fusion Research Efforts
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