China aims at leading the world’s research and development on fusion science, as major facilities for the China Fusion Engineering Test Reactor (CFETR) broke ground for construction in Hefei city, capital of East China’s Anhui province, on Friday morning.
The project, called the Comprehensive Research Facilities in Support of CFETR, will assist CFETR by providing extreme test conditions that allow research on the key components of fusion reactors, according to a press release by the Hefei Institute of Physical Science under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which leads the project.
The project, scheduled to finish in five years, is one of the country’s major megascience facilities and has been listed in the country’s 13th Five-year Plan for science and technology development.
It will provide strong support for cutting-edge, cross-disciplinary fields including energy, information, health and environment, and will become a user platform open to the world’s fusion community, said Kuang Guangli, president of the Hefei institute, at the groundbreaking ceremony on Friday.
“This project is a critical step in the Chinese vision of that future, providing the technological basis for the construction of CFETR, which will bridge the gap between the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) and a fusion power plant,” said Tony Taylor, director of General Atomics, a nuclear physics institute based in San Diego, California, in the United States.
“I’m very excited about what is going to happen on this 0.4-square-kilometer plot of land in the upcoming five years. These facilities to be built here will provide the development of new technologies for CFETR and will enable a pathway for fusion energy worldwide,” said Taylor.
In November 2017, more than 40 of the world’s top scientists for fusion research gathered in Beijing and signed the Beijing Declaration to further promote international collaboration in the field.
On Thursday, more than 30 of the scientists gathered again in Hefei and founded the International Fusion Energy Cooperation Center, with Taylor being named the director.