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For the Dream of Fusion Energy

May 12, 2021

Anhui municipal government presented Alain Becoulet from Hefei Institute of Physical Science (HFIPS) with Yellow Mountain Friendship Award recently, for his outstanding contribution in the nuclear fusion energy field between China and France.

"I am very happy to have this award,” said Alain Becoulet, former director of Institute for Magnetic Fusion Research (IRFM), former President of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).

Alain Becoulet's friendship with HFIPS can be traced back to the 1990s. (Image by HFIPS)

An earnest writer and inventor

Becoulet was born in 1963 and received his doctor‘s degree from University of Paris-Saclay. He used to be teacher at the Culham European Summer School (UK) for eight years. As a physician, Becoulet is proud of 180 invited publications and review contributions in International Conferences on fusion theory, modeling and tokamak experiment. He even developed a code of Ion Cyclotron Resonance Heating & Current Drive worldwide used for scenarios development in the present day tokamaks, International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) and China Fusion Engineering Experimental Reactor (CFETR).

An old friend of Science Island, Hefei, China

Becoulet’s first visit to HFIPS can be traced back to 1990 when he came to ASIPP to do research. At that time, he was an energetic PhD student.

"I was impressed by the profession and enthusiasm of scientists on the Science Island,” he recalled.

Since then, he came to HFIPS almost every year and participated in the installation, commissioning and operation of the first Chinese heating system Ion Cyclotron Resonance Heating in HT-7 at ASIPP.

In 2013, he co-founded Associated Laboratories CAS-ASIPP/CEA-IRFM and CEA-IRFM with scientists in ASIPP. He also coordinated the joint fusion Science &Technology activities, including the joint-experiments and the education program of ASIPP and CEA, with much passion.

During this period, Becoulet witnessed the operation of an articulated inspection arm (AIA) in EAST, which is the first robot for fusion at ASIPP, and construction of new Lower Hybrid Current Drive (LHCD) system, construction and commissioning of the WEST international test platform at CEA (China is a main partner), to validate the technology of actively-cooled tungsten divertors for long pulse plasmas in EAST, WEST and next step fusion devices ITER, CFETR…

Witness of the collaboration in fusion between France and China

Becoulet has witnessed the deepening friendship in fusion energy field between French and China over the years.

Two highlights about his work must be mentioned here. One is the joint foundation the “Sino French Fusion Energy Center” (SIFFER), the other is the participation of the fusion R&D activities of CEA, CAS/ASIPP etc to support national Fusion programs of China and France.

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