Energy: China Commits to Fusion Power

Amid all the depressing talk of energy scarcity and soaring prices, it is refreshing to hear in China, at least, serious efforts are being made to develop a new, unlimited source for the not-so-distant future. China’s Science and Technology Daily reported Nov. 28 on the status of the Comprehensive Research Facility for Fusion Technology (CRAFT) now being built at the Hefei University of Science and Technology.

Overall, China’s goal is to generate continuous fusion energy by 2028, for use in a hybrid fission-fusion power plant, and then to generate fusion energy directly for the electric grid by 2035. Materials and technologies needed to control fusion reactions are already being tested at CRAFT, a giant complex which will be fully completed by 2024, as part of the broader fusion project based out of the university, which is home to the superconducting EAST, or Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak, as well as the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute for Plasma Physics. CRAFT is not a fusion reactor itself, but is designed to develop all the technologies for the next stage of research beyond the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project based in France, namely the Chinese Fusion Engineering Testing Reactor.

The phenomenal leap in humanity’s power on Earth and in the Solar System that will flow out of mastering controlled thermonuclear fusion reactions has been known for decades. Lyndon LaRouche founded the Fusion Energy Foundation in 1974 to promote its advance, and by the time the U.S. government shut it down in 1987, the foundation’s monthly magazine, Fusion, was one of the most popular science magazines in the United States. If we still have no fusion-powered economy today, it’s fundamentally for political, and not scientific or technological, reasons. If the West does not join the “new paradigm” quickly, it looks like China will take the lead in this field as well.

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