China broke ground on a key facility to support fusion research with a special ceremony on Dec. 14 in Hefei, Anhui Province.
The new R&D facility will support the China Fusion Engineering Test Reactor (or CFETR) by providing extreme test conditions that allow for research on the key components of fusion reactors. This information will be relevant both to the construction and operation of CFETR.
CFETR is a key bridge between the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (or ITER) and a fusion power plant. However, CFETR will involve tremendous technical difficulties.
The "mega-science" support facility – officially called the Comprehensive Research Facilities in Support of CFETR – is the first project in the Hefei Comprehensive National Science Center and is part of the country’s 13th Five-year S&T Development Plan. It will encompass two main research systems: the magnet and tokamak/divertor systems.
The reactor-scalable superconducting magnet technology research system will comprise test facilities for superconducting materials, conductors and large-scale, reactor-related magnets for use in CFETR as well as for technology that could be applied in non-fusion areas.
The tokamak and divertor research system will provide reactor-related heating systems, remote handling and diagnostics for a divertor capable of a maximum plasma particle flux of 1024/m2s and 20MW/m2 heat load.
With the conceptual design and engineering design for CFETR having been completed and started in 2015 and 2017, respectively, groundbreaking for the support facility marks a key step in CFETR development. The support facility is led by Institute of Plasma Physics, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science and is scheduled for completion in five years.
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