how would you summarize this article?
China claims success in test of fusion reactor
Posted 9/28/2006 7:50 AM
By Alexa Olesen, The Associated Press
BEIJING — Scientists on Thursday carried out China's first successful test of an experimental fusion reactor, powered by the process that fuels the sun, a research institute spokeswoman said.
China, the United States and other governments are pursuing fusion research in hopes that it could become a clean, potentially limitless energy source. Fusion produces little radioactive waste, unlike fission, which powers conventional nuclear reactors.
Beijing is eager for advances, both for national prestige and to reduce its soaring consumption of imported oil and dirty coal.
The test by the government's Institute of Plasma Physics was carried out on a Tokamak fusion device in the eastern city of Hefei, said Cheng Yan, a spokeswoman at the institute.
Cheng said the test was considered a success because the reactor produced plasma, a hot cloud of supercharged particles. She wouldn't give other details.
"This represents a step for humankind in the study of nuclear reaction," she said.
U.S. and other scientists have been experimenting with fusion for decades but it has yet to be developed into a viable energy alternative.
"I think it is a considerable step ahead for China," said Karl Heinz Finken, a senior scientist at the Institute for Plasma Physics in Juelich, Germany, who had no role in the Chinese research.
"China is speeding up with the development of nuclear fusion and I think at the moment they are making considerable progress," he said.
The Chinese facility is similar to the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, or ITER, being built by a seven-nation consortium in Cadarache in southern France, according to state media. That reactor is due to be completed in 2015.
China is a partner in the ITER reactor, along with the European Union, the United States, Japan, Russia, India and South Korea.
A Tokamak reactor uses a doughnut-shaped magnetic field to contain the hot gas.
Several countries have produced plasma using a Tokamak or similar device, said Gabriel Marbach, deputy head of fusion research at the ITER facility. He said producing plasma was only one step toward the fusion that ITER aims to perform, and that the project could be helped by the Chinese experiments.
"It was important for China to show that it is part of the club, and that adds value to its participation in ITER," Marbach said.
"That is not to say that it is at the level of the Europeans or Americans," he said. However, he added, "We are rather admiring of the Chinese for conducting this test. It was conducted well, and they constructed (the machine) rather quickly."
China is the world's No. 2 oil consumer and its No. 3 importer, consuming at least 3.5 million barrels of foreign oil per day last year.
China plans to build dozens of nuclear power plants and is trying to promote use of cleaner alternative energy sources such as natural gas, wind power and methanol made from corn.
AP correspondent Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
In the long race to develop stable commercial fusion reactors, the Chinese, using a Russian made Tokamak, set another record by increasing the time of the contained reaction to 3 seconds. The Chinese are now justly proud of joining the technological powers capable of advancing nuclear power, among whom are the French, Russians, Indians, Americans, and British.
The task of making fusion commerially useful for electric power was started in 1950 with the Russian Tokamak, and then the American Stellerator. It will probably take another 20 or 30 years before a successful power plant is developed with this technology.
- 1 decade ago
Fusion is safe if you use the right choice of fuel. The worst that could happen to people outside the plant is they breathe a little more helium and get higher voices. Trust me I do plasma physics for a living. The chinese merely copied something that has been built many times. They also never met fusion temperatures.
- ravin_lunaticLv 61 decade ago
Well, being a 'get to the point' person, I still don't think I could summarize all the important words in this article. But, not one to quit easily, how about:
'China tested fusion on a level lower than Americans, but they plan to build dozens (REALLY? Dozens? They can't even feed their people!) of nuclear power plants to annoy the rest of the world trying to develop fusion.
- 1 decade ago
Anything to do with nuclear fusion is way too scary to me. The thought of someone experimenting with this method in the US with all our greedy politicians and corporations could end up being the end of us.
I am all for cleaner energy sources which the article appears to imply. We have enough trouble keeping nuclear power plants stable without adding another aspect which is could prove deadly.
I believe our nation should start to take care of what we have and try to improve the quality of our planet.