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China claims successful thermonuclear test

AFP | September 28 2006

China on Thursday successfully tested an experimental thermonuclear fusion reactor based on technology designed to create cheaper and safer nuclear energy, Xinhua news agency said.

It said scientists at the Institute of Plasma Physics in Hefei, the capital of the eastern province of Anhui, conducted the test on a new fusion device called the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST).

No details of the nature or the results of the test were released in the report. But Xinhua said EAST was an upgrade of China's first-generation Tokamak device and the first of its kind in operation in the world.

Nuclear fusion has long been touted as the cheap, safe, clean and almost limitless energy source of the future.

In fusion, atomic nuclei are fused together to release energy, as opposed to fission -- the technique used for nuclear power and atomic bombs -- where nuclei are split.

But nuclear fusion is still at an experimental stage and scientists say they may be a generation or more away from producing a reliable supply of energy.


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