EFDA Newsletter (E.N.): In 1250 the Venetian Marco Polo travelled to China and thus opened the trade between China and the West. Do you think that, in the same way, ITER could be the way to start a high-tech collaboration between China and the West?

Huo Yuping (H.Y.): Yes, I think this is the start of close collaborations, because until now we have not really joined such a big scientific programme as ITER. We have already contributed to the High Energy Physics programme, but this simply involved sending scientists who took part in the experiments and were trained. So at present ITER is the first big project which China really wants to join. I hope this will also promote further collaboration in high tech and other areas.

Prof. Huo Yuping, Academcian from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Professor at ZhengZhuo University, visited the EFDA and ITER sites at Garching (Germany) and presented the Chinese fusion programme and its plans to join ITER.

E.N.: China started its studies on nuclear fusion in the mid-1980s. What has now made ITER so attractive for your country that your government is showing interest in joining shortly before the site selection?

H.Y.: The Chinese fusion community has already been interested in the ITER programme for a long time, but we knew that we would have to invest some money. The Chinese Government, especially the Minister of Science and Technology has supported the efforts to join the ITER project, but we also needed to convince the other members of China’s scientific community. For example, some believed that if we paid 10% of the ITER cost, those funds could be lost for the other projects. But more and more people recognize that fusion research should have comparatively high priority in China because we urgently need clean sustainable energy sources for the next half of this century. We have established many projects mainly for cheap solar energy, and we also have kept a steady fusion energy programme over the last two decades.

E.N.: In which way will your country contribute to the ITER project as a major partner?

H.Y.: According to our evaluation group, we could deliver some conventional products, such as part of the power supply systems, mechanical structure manufacturing, blanket modules, superconducting conductors etc., but this depends on the negotiations.

E.N.: As you know, the US are going to rejoin the ITER project. Have you already made contact with them with regard to future cooperation in this field?

H.Y.: I believe within the ITER project we could develop a much stronger relationship with the US. During the last decade the US fusion programme has mainly emphasized studies of basic plasma physics. The Chinese fusion programme has mainly concentrated on reactor relevant problems. So there are some discrepancies between our goals of research, but in the end we work for the same project.

E.N.: With which one of the ITER partners do you have the closest relationship?

H.Y.: We have a very close relationship with the European fusion community. Our two main institutions, the Chengdu Southwestern Institute of Plasma Physics and the Bejing Chinese Academy of Sciences received a lot of support from the European Fusion Community. Many of our researchers were sent to European fusion laboratories. We also collaborate very well with the Japanese fusion community, especially JAERI and Nagoya. But according to Chinese philosophy we would like to expand our collaboration and relationships with old friends and also new friends.

For more information on the Chinese Academy of Sciences, please see:


The ZhengZhou University is represented on:


Chinese Guests at EFDA / ITER / IPPGarching (Germany):

From left to right:

Prof. A. Bradshaw (Director of Association Euratom-IPP, Garching, Germany),

Prof. Weng Peide (Institute of Plasmaphysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Deputy
Director of HT-7U Project),

Dr. R. Aymar (ITER director),

Prof. Huo Yuping,

Prof. K. Lackner (former EFDA leader).