First Helical Plasma Research in the People’s Republic of China


National Institute for Fusion Science (Japan) Establishes International Academic Cooperation Agreement with Southwest Jiaotong University in the People’s Republic of China – Towards the First Helical Plasma Research in the People’s Republic of China

National Institutes of Natural Sciences National Institute for Fusion Science (NIFS) and Southwest Jiaotong University, in Chengdu City, Sichuan Province, the People’s Republic of China, have entered into an agreement for international academic cooperation to promote cooperative research in helical fusion plasma research.

NIFS and Southwest Jiaotong University, together with implementing a joint project to design and construct a helical device based upon a new concept, will develop active academic interaction among researchers and students at both institutes. Further cooperation is anticipated.

The ceremony for signing the agreement was held on July 3, 2017, at Southwest Jiaotong University as is shown in the photograph. From NIFS, Director-general Yasuhiko Takeiri and four scientists attended. From Southwest Jiaotong University Vice President Wengui Zhang, dean of School of Physical Science and Technology QingXiang Liu and director of Institute of Fusion Science Yuhong Xu attended.

At this signing ceremony, representatives from two other institutes in the People’s Republic of China that engage in fusion research attended. These representatives were Baonian Wan, the President of the Chinese Science Institute Plasma Physics Research Institute, and Xuru Duan, the Vice-President of the Southwest Physics Research Institute.

Circumstances of the Conclusion of the Agreement

NIFS, using its Large Helical Device (LHD), leads the world in helical fusion research. In achieving the generation of fusion energy, it is necessary to maintain a plasma for an extended period of time at a temperature that exceeds one million degrees. The LHD, together with maintaining a plasma at one million degrees, also is succeeding at the extended operation of nearly one hour.

Southwest Jiaotong University, which was established in 1896, is a large university that employs approximately 2,500 researchers, instructors, and staff, and has an enrollment of more than 45,000 students. This university, responding to the recent demands for energy sources, has turned its attention to fusion research, and is beginning to engage in helical research for the first time in the People’s Republic of China. Thus, Southwest Jiaotong University sought the cooperation of NIFS, which is leading in helical fusion research. Thus, this agreement was achieved.

Goals of the Cooperative Agreement

NIFS and Southwest Jiaotong University, while receiving powerful support from the People’s Republic of China’s fusion research community, will implement design and construction, plasma heating and diagnostics technical development, and plasma experiments, and will introduce the helical device to be called CFQS (Chinese First Quasi-axisymmetric Stellarator). These two institutes also will initiate collaborative projects and rigorously cooperate in those projects.

Further, based upon the agreement, there will be development of active academic interaction among researchers and students at NIFS and Southwest Jiaotong University, and further cooperative activities will be planned.

The Significance of the Joint Agreement

Based upon this agreement, NIFS and Southwest Jiaotong University anticipate the following results.

1) We anticipate further development of fusion research in the People’s Republic of China. By initiating the first helical plasma experiments in the People’s Republic of China, we can anticipate development of the academic research necessary for the important stable operation in future fusion research.

2) By implementing plasma experimental research based upon a device designed using new concepts in new collaborative design and construction, we can complement experimental research performed on the Large Helical Device, the main device at NIFS.

3) Through this collaborative project, NIFS can plan the development in Asia of helical fusion research. From now, by constructing an international network of helical fusion research that includes Europe and the United States, we can demonstrate Japan’s powerful leadership in this field.


1)Large Helical Device (LHD)

This is the world’s largest superconducting helical plasma experimental device. It is designed with a powerful magnetic field utilizing helical configuration coils. Inside the device, a high temperature plasma is confined at a temperature exceeding one hundred million degrees. Stable operation performance is an important feature of the LHD, which is an experimental device that receives special attention in fusion research around the world.


The CFQS experimental device, which is expected to be constructed in the People’s Republic of China, will be based upon new magnetic field structure concepts in helical devices. The device, which will confine the plasma in a magnetic field, will be designed based upon high-level mathematical methods. Shown in the photograph to the right is the shape of the complicated magnetic field coil, which is one of the special characteristics of the device. The CHS-qa device designed at NIFS is similar to the CFQS. Numerous research results from the CHS-qa will be incorporated in the planning of the future CFQS device design.


National Institute for Fusion Science
Dr. Keisuke Matsuoka