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China made the First Synthetic Sun

Saturday, October 07, 2006

China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST, internal designation HT-7U) has conducted its first successful test on September 28, 2006. The test reportedly used deuterium and tritium atoms and reached a temperature of 100 million degrees Celsius for nearly three seconds, obtaining 200 kA of electric current. The EAST is an experimental superconducting tokamak magnetic fusion energy reactor in Hefei, having similar means of releasing energy as the Sun. It will test several technologies proposed in the ITER, including:
* Superconducting NbTi poloidal field magnets, making it the first tokamak with superconducting toroidal and poloidal magnets
* Non-inductive current drive
* Pulses of up to 1000 seconds with 0.5 MA plasma current
* Schemes for controlling plasma instabilities through real-time diagnostics
* Materials for divertors and Plasma Facing Components
* Operation with βN = 2 and H89 > 2

According to Dr. Gary Jackson from General Atomic, EAST is the first such facility to be built and tested in the World, and China is going to lead in the next 10 years in such technologies.

Farther reading: ITER


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