The Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST, internal designation HT-7U) is an experimental superconductingtokamakmagnetic fusion energy reactor in Hefei, the capital city of Anhui Province, in eastern China. The experiment is being conducted by the Hefei-based Institute of Plasma Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The project was proposed in 1996 and approved in 1998. According to a 2003 schedule, buildings and site facilities were to be constructed by 2003, and tokamak assembly to take place from 2003 through 2005.
Construction was completed in March 2006 and on September 28, 2006, "first plasma" was achieved. In February 2007 the reactor sustained an electrical current of 250 kA for five seconds.
The reactor is an improvement over China's first superconducting tokamak device, dubbed HT-7, also built by the Institute of Plasma Physics in partnership with Russia in the early 1990s.
According to official reports, the project's budget is a relatively small CNY ¥300 million (approx. USD $37 million), some 1/15 to 1/20 the cost of a comparable reactor built in other countries.