Research & Development

Nuclear Fusion / China Commissions HL-2M Reactor

By David Dalton
7 December 2020

Facility will contribute towards development of Iter
China Commissions HL-2M Reactor
The HL-2M fusion reactor In Chengdu, China. Courtesy CNNC.
The HL-2M tokamak fusion reactor in central China has been commissioned and has achieved its first plasma discharge, according to China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).

The reactor is China’s largest and most advanced nuclear fusion experimental research device. Scientists hope the device can potentially help unlock a powerful clean energy source.

HL-2M, located at CNNC’s Southwestern Institute of Physics Chengdu, Sichuan province, uses a powerful magnetic field to fuse hot plasma and can reach temperatures of over 150 million degrees Celsius, approximately 10 times hotter than the core of the sun.

Officials have said the HL-2M will put them one step closer to harnessing the power of nuclear fusion, the same process the real Sun uses to generate energy.

HL-2M will also provide key technical support for China’s participation in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) fusion project in southern France. China is a member of Iter with the European Union, the US, India, Japan, South Korea and Russia.

Iter is the world’s largest nuclear fusion project. It began its five-year assembly phase in March, with the first ultra-hot plasma expected to be generated in late 2025.

The €20bn project will replicate the reactions that power the sun and is intended to demonstrate fusion power can be generated on a commercial scale.

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