A contribution from Prof. Huo Yuping, ZhengZhou University (People’s Republic of China)

China is the largest developing country with a projected population of 1.6 – 2 billion people and with an energy consumption growing from the current 1.3 Billion Tons Coal Equivalent (TCE) to more than 4 Billion TCE by 2050.

This large demand can only be accommodated in a sustainable way which would also allow energy generation in an environmentally-friendly way. Fusion is one of the most promising candidates to solve this important issue.

The history of fusion in China goes back to the 1950’s, when Magnetic Confinement Fusion research was first started at the Institute of Atomic Energy in Beijing.

Confinement studies of high-temperature plasmas were carried out in several small-size machines. In the mid 1960’s the South- Western Institute of Physics (SWIP) was founded by the Ministry of Nuclear Industry. With a manpower of up to 400 persons, including both scientists and technicians, over 20 experimental devices were built and operated, mainly following the tokamak concept. Among them, the HL-2A, derived from the German device ASDEX.

At the end of the 1960’s, the Chinese Academy of Science founded the Plasma Physics Department (ASIPP) within the Institute of Physics in Beijing. A small tokamak, the CT-6 was built, followed by two air-core tokamaks, the HT-6B and the HT-6M. The ASIPP began its superconducting tokamak programme in 1990. The first success was the HT-7 machine, an improved version of the Russian T-7, which started operations in 1994. The next step was the design of the HT-7U, a divertor machine to study non-circular plasmas.

Plasma laboratories opened in the 1970’s at the University of Science and Technology of China, at the Dalian University of Science and Technology and at the Tsinghua University with the aim of training graduate students in fusion science. SWIP and ASIPP have almost 100 graduate students in fusion science.

In the 1980’s international relationships with other fusion institutions around the world gave the opportunity to a large number of Chinese physicists and engineers to spend some time abroad and gain experience in different fields.

Participation in the ITER project would now be an obvious path following from the steady, but growing, importance that fusion has gained in the country. After having completed a domestic evaluation of the project, China is now considering joining ITER as a full member.

Main topics of study in earlier tokamaks:
• Plasma confinement
• Plasma edge and wallconditioning (successful use of new techniques such as RF boronisation, RF siliconisation and RF Li + Si).

Superconducting Tokamaks:
Main focus on reactorrelevant issues: steadystate (or quasi-steadystate) operation, noninductive plasma discharges, Heating & Current Drive operations.

HT-7U parameters:
Plasma current = 1.1 – 1.5 MA
Toroidal field on axis =3.5 T
Major Radius = 1.95 m a=0.45m, b=0.9m, tdis=1000s