The project has been going on for 10 years, and it has something to do with tungsten

The People's Republic of China Ministry of science and Technology (Ministry of science and Technology), November 27th, on 15-16 November 2017, the twenty-first session of the ITER organization was held at the headquarters of the ITER organization, Saint Boris Du long, France. Council members and experts from seven sides of China, EU, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States and senior officials of the ITER organization attended the meeting. Chen Linhao, deputy director of the international cooperation division of the Ministry of science and technology, led a delegation to attend the meeting.

ITER image

This meeting fully affirmed the efforts and achievements of the ITER organization to ensure the goal of achieving the first plasma in 2025 and in the face of various challenges. The 26 milestones approved by the Council have been completed in accordance with the established progress, which is the result of the concerted and joint efforts of the ITER organization and the domestic executive agencies.

The ITER device is a superconducting tokamak that can generate large scale fusion reactions, commonly known as "artificial sun". In January 2003, the State Council approved our country to participate in the ITER plan negotiations. In May 2006, with the approval of the State Council, the China ITER negotiation joint team signed the ITER plan agreement with the EU, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States on behalf of the Chinese government, which includes the major nuclear and major Asian countries in the world. The ITER project is named EAST Dongfang super ring, and the ITER plan is based on the long-term demand of energy. Fusion energy is the most potential means to solve the energy problem of mankind.

Tungsten is one of the important materials of ITER, and is the main raw material for the first wall and divertor of artificial sun. After the ITER starts running, the deuterium tritium plasma will burn in the reactor with a temperature of up to 100 million degrees Celsius. To ensure that this "artificial sun" is not extinguished, it requires about 3 kilograms of tritium to circulate in a complex pipeline. The fusion device is extremely high temperature and high radiation, the original properties of the material are easy to fail, and the tritium is very easy to permeate, which also puts forward very strict requirements for the tritium and equipment. Tungsten is the melting point of 3410°C, is one of the melting points of the highest metal, is also one of the most dense metal. In the case of normal and stable operation of ITER, only tungsten alloy materials can produce the least side effects at high temperature. This is the main reason that tungsten alloy materials can be the main material of the first wall of ITER.

Divertor is also a very important part of ITER. Some scholars think that the material of divertor should have three basic skills. First is that the heat which can be deposited on the surface is carried out smoothly and the structure is safe and reliable, and the stress is reduced. Second is the water cooling structure with the given force can quickly take the heat away. Third is the electromagnetic load that can bear on the component of the filter, and provides protection for the vacuum chamber wall and the inner coil. In response to these three requirements, tungsten can meet the requirements, and it will not produce potential radioactive hazards or poison like carbon and beryllium materials. So in 2013, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that ITER divertor applied tungsten materials instead of the original carbon coating.

A one million kilowatt power station needs 500 thousand tons of coal, and nuclear power plants need 30 tons of nuclear fuel. The same level of thermonuclear fusion power station only needs 100 kilograms of heavy water and lithium. Thermonuclear fusion is very safe compared with the current nuclear power plant, because the product of fusion is helium only. Resources are infinite and clean at the same time, so artificial sun is the ultimate source of human energy in the future. Gratifying is that our country's ITER research has been in the forefront of the world. In July 2017, EAST realized the 50 million degree plasma for the first time in the world, and continued to discharge a high constraint of 101.2 seconds, realizing a cross domain from 60 to 100 seconds.

100 seconds is only a "small step" in the ultimate energy project. In the future, we will continue to upgrade and optimize the EAST. It is believed that the application of tungsten materials is also unearthed. On the basis of EAST, the next generation nuclear fusion device of China's autonomous concept, the Chinese Fusion Engineering test reactor (CFETR), has also been designed to fly. In the future, China will use the CFETR reactor to generate electricity, which will be the man-made sun created by the Chinese themselves. 

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