EAST Tokamak in China Sets another Record

April 17, 2023

On April 12, 2023 scientists at the Hefei Institute of Plasma Physics in China set another world record on their EAST tokamak, sustaining a high performance plasma for almost 7 minutes (403 seconds), surpassing the previous record, also set on EAST, of almost 2 minutes (107 seconds) set in 2017. They repeated the demonstration again on the next day, demonstrating the reliability of the device.

The head of Division of EAST Physics and Experimental Operations, Dr GONG Xianzu said "This major breakthrough made in the EAST physics experiment further verifies the feasibility of steady-state H-mode operation in a future fusion reactor."

GONG stated that there are several distinctive features in this scenario development:

  1. A full non-inductive plasma with high density (ne/nGW~0.7) and high bootstrap current (fBS>50%) by RF heating with zero torque injection;
  2. H-factor (H98,y2) around 1.35 with internal transport barrier by electron dominant heating;
  3. Key issues on particle and heat balance with actively cooling tungsten divertor (recycling coefficient R~0.92 and TSurf@Div<600°C);
  4. Small ELMs throughout the discharge, with high core performance (βP~2.5/ βN~1.5).
The Institute's Director General, SONG Yuntao, said "EAST's success is a joint effort, a statement of most extensive cooperation in scientific fields. The EAST team has worked together closely with their collaborators at home and abroad over the past decades solving a series of frontier physics & technical issues with a long time scale, such as plasma configuration control, high efficiency of RF heating and current drive, plasma-wall interactions, real-time diagnostics for key plasma parameters, etc,. In the past years, with the support from the government authorities, Chinese Academy of Sciences and our domestic and international collaborators, EAST device in ASIPP has been continuously upgraded to enhance fusion performance in support of ITER operation and the construction of a Chinese fusion reactor."

The first experimental campaign on EAST in 2023 will be going on for about two or three months and a second one has been scheduled in the winter of this year.