Advancing the energy of the future

Part of Today in the Lab – Tomorrow in Energy?

Today in the Lab – Tomorrow in Energy? shines a spotlight on research projects under development in the Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs). Learn more about the initiative, read the launch commentary, or explore the TCPs.

Advanced nuclear systems come with many challenges

What is the aim of this project?

Advanced nuclear systems come with many challenges. The High Intensity D-T Fusion Neutron Generator (HINEG) is an experimental platform designed to promote the continuous development of advanced fusion/fission energy systems and extended nuclear technology applications. The HINEG project, which is advancing in three phases, is conducting research in nuclear technology and safety, validation of methods and software, radiation protection, materials, and other nuclear technology applications.

How could this technology be explained to a high school student?

The two main fuels used in nuclear fusion are deuterium and tritium, and neutronics is the study of the behaviour of the neutrons created in the deuterium-tritium (D-T) fusion process. HINEG-I, which focuses on basic neutronics research, has achieved the highest neutron yield among D-T neutron generators under operation, and is a milestone in fusion technology. HINEG-II will focus on materials irradiation and neutronics performance testing. HINEG-III will conduct full lifetime testing of fusion materials, components, and reliability of collection data.

What is the value of this project for society?

  • improves the reliability and safety of nuclear fusion energy
  • enables nuclear technology applications e.g. radiography, radiotherapy, and isotope production
  • facilitates experiments with other international organisations and laboratories
  • advances development of a clean, safe and virtually unlimited source of energy

At what stage of development is this project?

The project began in 2000 and HINEG-I was completed in 2015. The design optimization and research and development for key technologies beyond HINEG-I are under way. HINEG-II and HINEG-III will be developed with deep domestic and international collaboration. HINEG-II is expected to be finished around 2025 and HINEG-III will be developed in 2030s.

What government policies could bring this from the lab to the market?

  • providing special funding for fusion neutron sources
  • including fusion/fission hybrid reactor energy use in national clean energy plans
  • exempting fusion reactor equipment from tariffs
The HINEG-I facility in Hefei, China. Source: INEST

The HINEG-I facility in Hefei, China. Source: INEST

Partners and funders


  • Institute of Nuclear Energy Safety Technology (INEST)
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences


  • National Magnetic Confinement Fusion Science Program of China
  • Major Research Program of Natural Science Foundation of China
  • R&D Program of Important Scientific Equipment of Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • IAEA Collaboration Research Program

Learn more

About the Technology Collaboration Programme on Nuclear Technology of Fusion Reactors (NTFR TCP)

Established in 1994, the NTFR TCP provides a unique framework for co-ordinating international research, development and collaboration in technologies that will be essential for the successful realisation of nuclear fusion as an energy source. The TCP focuses on technologies of components located close to the fusion plasma and subjected to high-energy neutron irradiation.

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