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China’s EAST Tokamak Achieves Longest Steady-State High-Confinement Operation

Nov. 16, 2016 (EIRNS)—China’s National Academy of Sciences has announced that its EAST (Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak) fusion experiment has achieved a fusion plasma pulse lasting over 60 seconds, which "marks the first minute-scale steady-state H-mode operation obtained on past and existing tokamaks around the world," the Academy states. The "H-mode" refers to a high-confinement state of the plasma. The previous record was a 32-second-long pulse, in 2012. The new results were achieved following a series of up-grades to the facility, including its auxiliary heading system, diagnostics, and a tungsten diverter. The diverter is key, as it prevents the "waste" products inside the fusion reactor from interfering with the fusion process, creating turbulence.

The Academy states that this achievement was based on both domestic research and international collaboration. China’s EAST scientists have an on-going colaberation with the fusion team at General Atomics in California. Scientists work on machines in both laboratories, and visit each other’s facilities.