ITER site under construction. Picture source: ITER official website
In 2001, Pan Chuanhong, then president of the Southwest Institute of Physics of the nuclear industry and a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, wrote to the leaders of the country and proposed that China should join the ITER program and formulate a plan for the development of national fusion energy. At that time, 24-year-old Wang Xiaoyu just became a graduate student at the Southwest Institute of Physics, he heard the news, the heart is full of passion to want to make a big deal.
"In view of the rare opportunities, China should participate in the ITER program." In January 2003, the State Council initially agreed that China should join the ITER program negotiations. After years of difficult negotiations, it was finally in 2007 that my country officially joined the plan.
The program has attracted the participation of seven parties including China, the European Union, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and the United States. It is one of the largest scientific projects in the world today and the first major international scientific and technological cooperation project to participate as a full and equal partner.
Solar energy brings light and heat because it undergoes thermonuclear fusion reactions all the time. If human beings can control this reaction, it means that generations will have unlimited and clean energy. The ITER program is devoted to creating " Artificial sun. "
In China, a batch of young people like Wang Xiaoyu successively devoted themselves to this project. Their entire youth have evolved into a fierce "fusion reaction": releasing steady flow of energy in a time of transformation and growth, and pushing China and the The development of nuclear fusion in the world.
The multinational cooperation in science and technology projects involving energy, economy, politics and military and other fields, the game of all parties are inevitable, the negotiations entered the "stalemate" around 2004.
Wang Min, who just graduated from a graduate school, was sent to Beijing ITER Negotiation Office from Wuhan at this time to do preliminary work such as data collection and preparation. Soon after, Wang Xiaoyu, a graduate student, left for Sichuan and went to work on technology development at ITER's German joint workstation. They became the "young veteran" of the ITER family in China.
In the negotiation phase before the official launch of the ITER program, both "young and old" moments were inspired and spurred by the arduous efforts of older generations of nuclear fusion people.
At that time, Academician Huo Yueping was nearly seventy years old, but he was still "flying around." In 2005, Academician Huo Huo went to Germany to participate in the negotiation of the site selection of the thermonuclear fusion experimental reactor, where Wang Xiaoyu squeezed into the audience.
Dozens of square meters of semi-basement room squeezed thirty or forty people, "dim light, the air is cloudy, like the old movie that kind of scene." Wang Xiaoyu and young workers across the country with their stools sitting behind the negotiating table, looking at the front of the "big guys" flail.
"Location" is one of the key game of all parties. The location of the ITER will have the natural advantages of human and economic resources, etc., and different addresses need to choose different technical routes. This involves the specific tasks to be shared among participating members and what are the benefits for each Representatives at the negotiating table "rattling."
"Academician Huo took a special shot at the table and told him with a very straightforward statement:" Although I can not fully understand what you said, our point of view is ... "" Wang Xiaoyu mimics what Huo Yueping was like at the time. Taking into consideration the disadvantaged status of China's science and technology at that time and the unfavorable environment of English negotiations, he could hardly imagine the old academician "capable of acting so energetically." This brought great encouragement to Wang Xiaoyu, who was working abroad at that time alone.
"Sitting at the negotiating table, a strong sense of patriotism naturally in my heart." Wang Min has also been inspired many times.
Another difficult point to overcome in the negotiation phase is the "intellectual property" dispute. Technologically advanced members insist on sharing as little technical secrets as possible, while countries with relatively backward technologies want more. At the last ITER Intergovernmental Negotiation Conference held in South Korea in December 2006, Lin Xin, director of the Regulations and Rules Division of the Policy and Regulation Department of the Ministry of Science and Technology, held the final negotiation on this topic as the main negotiator of the Chinese negotiations on the topic of intellectual property. Wang Min then follow the other negotiation group together to go.
"At 9 o'clock in the morning, Mr. Lin has not yet finished talking to that group until 8pm!" Negotiations in other groups are over. Wang Min and several young people went to the door of the "intellectual property" conference room and waited anxiously The outcome of the negotiations. At half past eight, the door finally opened.
"When the door opened, I saw Secretary Lin and the Department of Treaty and Law of the Foreign Affairs Department full of peace. The two beauties smiled happily and walked out." There were few female debates on the negotiating table, and Wang Min was as excited as a little fan Said: "Did you know that expression, and at a glance, that's ... it!" Finally, IP negotiations ended with the intellectual property that all members share all ITER programs.
Although at that time, flimsy Wang Min and Wang Xiaoyu are more auxiliary and observant, the patriotic feelings and Chinese wisdom demonstrated by their predecessors always surround them, so that these young people are "proud of being Chinese ", I think" ITER contribute even a little bit of power is worth it. "
Until then, they grew to become capable of being one-sided in the field of thermonuclear fusion, which had never changed.
From "run with" to "and run"
In 2007, ITER International was formally established. At the upper level, the equipment and components required for the construction of the thermal reactor reactor project were decomposed into different "procurement packages". Each of the seven member countries undertook the corresponding "procurement package" production tasks . In 2008, the Ministry of Science and Technology set up the ITER Center as China's domestic agency under the ITER program. More than a dozen "veterans" have "transitioned" to become implementers from the planners. Due to limited manpower, Wang Min was placed on the job of managing the project's contact with the Chinese side.
"I'm not a nuclear fusion professional, not an English major, not a project management major, nor a negotiator." Wang Min, with a baby's face, is particularly vulnerable to blushing.
Every month, representatives of ITER international organizations convene a meeting of seven project managers to discuss the progress interface for determining progress, management methods and rules, and negotiating the tasks of all parties, and put forward the task requirements and goals for the next phase of the parties. The contents of the conference are not only professional And implied game. Wang Min, 29, attended the meeting for the first time and sat gingerly behind the "China" table sign.
The first meeting, representatives of all countries sat in a circle, Wang Min thought the preparations have been very full. The convenor, on behalf of the ITER organization, first proposed a large number of proposals. First, he asked whether China had any opinions on the proposal.
But at that time, Wang Min did not completely understand the long list of proposals convened by the convener.
"Can you repeat it?"
The convener spoke again.
Wang Min still did not understand: "Can you repeat it?"
Convener said the third time.
Very quiet around, representatives of all parties should be waiting for the Chinese answer, but Wang Min still do not understand. She feels "shameful," but she keeps telling himself "that even if you lose face, you can not just stand it." Wang Min face scalded hot, had only said that China will feedback by mail.
This incident gave her great stimulation, but also brought a huge impetus. Wang Min began to "make up for bad", learning reserve a variety of professional knowledge and policy knowledge, discuss project management knowledge everywhere, and actively participate in various discussions.
Shortly after she embarked on the "Upheaval" journey, Wang Xiaoyu in Germany also ushered in a new challenge. He was transferred to ITER headquarters - France to participate in the design and development of the core components of a thermonuclear fusion reactor.
The principle of hydrogen bomb explosion is "fusion of deuterium and tritium". However, despite the fact that more than half a century has passed since the successful explosion of the first hydrogen bomb in the world, this complex nuclear fusion reaction still can not be controlled by human beings. People need to fuse the fusion deuterium and tritium into a plasma that heats to hundreds of millions of degrees of temperature, and at the same time, provide the plasma with suitable reactors for large-scale collisions of deuterium and tritium nuclei to produce energy.
And Wang Xiaoyu ITER France headquarters involved in the design and development of the core components, it is the plasma reaction chamber - an important part of the vacuum chamber.
Arrived in France in 2008, Wang Xiaoyu more often based on the attitude of learning at work. He came earlier than his foreign counterparts, went late and accumulated his experience until one day, the solution he submitted silently gave the team leader an unexpected surprise. All of us finally began to recognize the strength of Chinese employees.
At this time, the construction of China International Nuclear Fusion Plan Implementation Center of Ministry of Science and Technology has also been on the right track. In order to actively explore a scientific, standardized and efficient management mechanism in line with international management requirements of major scientific projects, ITER Center has established and implemented the ISO9001 quality management system.
In 2009, Zhao Wen, who had been in charge of finance and auditing at the Ministry of Science and Technology Intelligence, applied for ITER work. In the first year, he took over 12 billion yuan of funds. The old leader joked: "The kid now manages more money than I did More! "And then, personnel and asset management was handed over to Zhao Wen, at the age of 30, and Rodrrrien, director of the fusion center, dubbed him the" chief general manager. "
However, Zhao Wen this young "Explorer" was on the trail, "even taking a shower with a cell phone," By 2012, with the strong implementation of his colleagues and colleagues, ITER Center has finally completed the ISO9001 quality management system certification; soon Wang Xiaoyu ended his career in foreign countries and returned to China to serve as a nuclear fusion business with the technology and concepts he learned. Wang Min is no longer the blushing girl who has grown into a confident, professional and competent project manager .
During the subsequent project implementation, representatives of all parties are increasingly feeling the influence of the Chinese side. Young Chinese managers represented by Wang Min not only quickly caught up with the pace but also started to make some powerful insights and constructive suggestions . Wang Min's suggestion has been repeatedly supported by other parties. During the conference, there are always representatives who come to ask the details of the proposal. The sequence of her speech is adjusted from the first one in the first meeting to the second in the penultimate one. All are the United States and the European Union.
With the transformation and growth of these young "Kuafu", China's nuclear fusion business has gradually entered the "run and run" track from the world's scientific and technological power "running with the world."
Rushed to "lead"
Now, as time goes on for the 10th year when China formally joined the ITER program, Wang Min's hair is white, and Wang Xiaoyu also joked that he is "already old". These "young elders" have become the mainstay of China's nuclear fusion cause.
Through the joint efforts of them and the nuclear fusion people of the older generation, all the tasks for the manufacturing of the ITER "Procurement Package" undertaken by China in fulfilling its commitments and obligations have been implemented. The manufacturing equipment and components are delivered with high quality in strict accordance with the time schedule and standards .
Rodron said: "The 10 years of participating in the ITER project are 10 years ahead of the technological capability and management level of nuclear fusion in China."
With China's rapidly increasing level of science and technology in the field of controlled nuclear fusion, China is also planning to build its own CFETR nuclear fusion laboratory while participating in the ITER program.
Not long ago, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of ITER International, the "ITER Decade-Review and Outlook" conference was held in Beijing. At the meeting, international nuclear fusion experts jointly published the "Beijing Fusion Declaration - Supporting the Development of China's Fusion Energy" and supported the construction of China Fusion Engineering Experimental Reactor CFETR.
"Hopefully this will happen in the lifetime." The conceptual design of the CFETR core components was undertaken by Wang Xiaoyu.
Rodolon introduced that the ITER project is basically completed in 2025 and the overall construction will be completed in 2035 to enter the full-load experiment stage and strive to put into commercial operation in 2050. China's CFETR aims to build a bridge between ITER and future fusion plants.
Not long ago, the Ministry of Science and Technology China's International Center for Nuclear Fusion Energy Planning published a collection entitled "China officially joins the 10th anniversary of the ITER Program." Each of the senior, middle-aged and young fusion people participating in the program wrote an essay.
Rodrron wrote: "As mankind pursues the 'artificial sun,' China is now growing from being a 'chaser,' and a runner, to becoming a 'top runner' with strong international output capabilities and will be playing an active role in boosting China's international influence , Charisma and creativity, scientists have been struggling for decades, day by day, and the first light of nuclear fusion energy will be ignited in China. "