China has completed construction of a thermonuclear fusion reactor, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) announced yesterday.
"The Experimental Advanced Super-conducting Tokamak (EAST) fusion reactor has obtained state ratification for test results, use of funds, operational management, and data authenticity," said a 34-member joint ratification committee at the CAS news conference.
The committee mainly consists of officials and experts with CAS, the National Development and Reform Commission, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.
The EAST fusion reactor was tested earlier this month by CAS Institute of Plasma Physics in central China's Anhui Province, and succeeded in generating an electrical current of 250 kilo amperes in five seconds.
Because it replicates the energy generating process of the sun, the EAST reactor has been dubbed "the artificial sun."
The EAST is an upgrade of China's first-generation Tokamak device and the first of its kind in operation in the world, said Chinese scientists.
The Institute of Plasma Physics spent eight years and 200 million yuan (US$25.8 million) building the experimental reactor.
Compared with similar devices in other countries, EAST was the cheapest and fastest to build.
In 2003, China joined the 4.6-billion-euro ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), the largest international program dedicated to experiments in thermonuclear fusion.
China is one of seven participants in the international cooperation program, which also includes the US, the EU, South Korea, Russia, Japan, and India.
About 2,000 Chinese researchers are currently engaged in studying thermonuclear fusion.
(Xinhua News Agency March 2, 2007)